Predator (1987)

Directed by John McTiernan

Hollywood goes in its phases an back in the late 80s, early 90s it was fascinated with monstrous aliens, South American guerillas and soldiers. So why not whip them altogether into an action-filled teenage boy’s movie?

And why not get the biggest action star of the day, Arnold Schwarzenegger?

And just to make sure all bases are covered, why not get a killer action director, the guy who did Die Hard, John McTiernan?

Well, they did and they called it Predator. The story is idiotic and the dialogue moronic (what there is of it). Yet it works because between McTiernan’s direction and the editing, the movie moves like it has a serious case of the runs.

Of course, the movie isn’t intended to be anything more than silly. It has all the depth and imagination of the lamest of video guys – muscular military gut fighting ugly and gooey alien. Blam blam!!! Boom boom!!! “Arrggghhhh!!!!!”

So why would a director like McTiernan make such a movie? Well, as he puts it in the DVD features (Predator – the Collector’s Edition), he wanted to make a Hollywood popcorn movie.

So he did and it works. It’s mindless but that’s okay because the fun of it is the end result – and adrenaline pumping experience that you really don’t want to think about too much.

In the Schwarzenegger canon of films, it’s not up there with movies like The Terminator. But it still is one of his better movies.

He doesn’t say a lot. He largely grunts and groans and does what he’s expected to – be big and strong and fight fiercely. In this case, while chomping on a cigar.

It seems silly to summarize a lot here. Let’s just say Arnold leads a group of military guys on a rescue mission which turns out to have been a deception – it’s really a sneaky way to get them to take out some rebels.

While returning from the fiasco, they come across … well, thery’re not sure what but it’s darned nasty.

Turns out, it’s an ugly alien who gets his rocks off hunting humans.

And there you go – an Arnold film.

Despite sounding dismissive of Predator, I did like it and do enjoy these action movies every now and again. In this case, the story is just a little too lame for my taste and a little too testosterone-over-the-top as well.

Still, with its direction and editing it holds your attention though afterwards you do kind of scratch your head and wonder why.

© 2004 Piddleville Inc.

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