Monday, January 30, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #52: "Predator" (1987)

Movie Stats:
Released 1987 (USA)
American, in English (some Spanish, mostly translated)
Director - John McTiernan
Stars - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers

Plot Summary:
When a team of mercenaries is hired to rescue the survivors of a downed helicopter from rebels in an unnamed jungle country, they run afoul of a dangerous alien creature. Schwarzenegger stars as the leader of the mercenaries, Dutch, and Weathers as his buddy, CIA agent Dillon.

Extreme violence; extreme gore; heavy blue language.

Bad Stuff:
There’s no real point to it (unless you consider showing off Arnie’s muscles a “point”). It’s pure action, no message.

It suffers a little bit from “action movie magic.” For example, I’m fairly certain that, in real life, with approximately 100,000 bullets flying around, at least one of them would hit a human target that the shooter didn’t intended for it to hit.

The alien’s camouflage special effect has not aged particularly well.

Good Stuff:
One of my least favorite tropes is the overpowered villain that’s brought down by luck, so I really appreciated that Dutch used his wits and his skills to defeat the predator.

A lot of times, sci fi action movies create rules for themselves only to then repeatedly break them. I think this film does a good job of avoiding that. For example, the predator has a fairly strict honor code (for one, it doesn’t attack non-combatants) that he doesn’t break, even when he encounters greater danger than he expected. Also, the film does a great job of communicating that via action rather than exposition.

I liked the soundtrack.

The Verdict:
If testosterone could be harnessed as a source of energy, this film alone could light up a major city for at least a week, I think. That’s not to say I didn’t like it. If you don’t mind violence and gore, it’s immensely enjoyable. You don’t go into it thinking, “This is going to make me question reality/give me food for thought.” You go into it thinking, “I’m going to see lots of explosions, hear lots of pithy one-liners, and it’s going to look freaking cool.” It’s all about your expectations. This is a great entry to the action genre with a sci fi twist. I’m a little bit surprised by its high placement on the list, but my husband argues that it was innovative for the time, which I think is a fair assessment.

I give it 3.75 stars.


Patricia said...

Maybe we should look into using testostorone in that way?

Unsurprisingly, I have not seen this film. I suspect I may pass from this mortal coil before fitting it into my schedule. But you never know. :-)

balyien said...

Definitely not a Patricia movie!