For my reviews of the other Predator films, click the following links:
In commemoration of the upcoming release of THE PREDATOR (2018), I will be reviewing all of the Predator films, not counting the Alien Vs. Predator films because they’re not solo Predator films, director Paul W.S. Anderson even exclaimed that the movies aren’t supposed to be interconnected (despite the in-movie claims that they are), and I simply don’t want to. Before anyone freaks out, yes, I’ve seen all the Predator movies. But, it’s admittedly been a long time since I’ve revisited them and what a fantastic excuse with a new movie on the horizon, eh? So let’s have some fun!
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Arnold Schwarzenegger (TERMINATOR GENISYS , and upcoming films VIY 2: JOURNEY TO CHINA  and THE TERMINATOR ), Elpidia Carrillo (SEVEN POUNDS , and the upcoming THE TAX COLLECTOR ), and Carl Weathers (HAPPY GILMORE , ROCKY , and the upcoming EASTER ). In support, we have Bill Duke (X-MEN: THE LAST STAND  and 1 episode of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA [2004 – 2009]), Jesse Ventura (BATMAN & ROBIN ), Shane Black (THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER ), the late Sonny Landham (POLTERGEIST  – rest in peace, sir), and Richard Chaves (1 episode of STAR TREK: VOYAGER [1995 – 2001]).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have John McTiernan, known for BASIC (2003) and DIE HARD (1988). Co-writing the screenplay is duo Jim and John Thomas, both known for PREDATOR 2. Composing the score is Alan Silvestri, known for AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018), THE WALK (2015), and upcoming films WELCOME TO MARWEN (2018) and Avengers 4 (2019). The cinematographer is Donald McAlpine, known for THE DRESSMAKER (2016), and the upcoming BROADWAY 4D (2018). Finally, co-editing are Mark Helfrich (JUMANJI 2 ) and John F. Link (THE BIG GREEN  and THE MIGHTY DUCKS ).
This is my honest opinion of: PREDATOR
Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is leader of a rescue team of mercenaries who have been called in by his old army general for a mission. Turns out, a Cabinet Minister’s helicopter was shot down and CIA operative Dillon (Carl Weathers), a former associate of Dutch’s, is going in with the team to find the guerrilla insurgents that possibly killed the men and take them out, rescuing any hostages. Though the elimination of the insurgents was a success, the hostages have all been killed in gruesome ways that don’t seem like the insurgents’ doing. As Dutch, Dillon, and the team head for extraction, they discover that something is hunting them. Something not of this world with high-tech cloaking technology and weapons that surpass the team’s and begins killing them one by one.
Aww yeah, this movie still holds up. But… maybe not in the “legitimately good” way that I remember.
Before everyone starts castrating me, let’s really break this movie down as to why it’s such a beloved action, sci-fi, 80’s classic. We love the guns, we love the muscles, we love the “Get to the choppa!” and “I ain’t got time to bleed,” and the “Dillon! You son of bitch!” There is nothing about this movie that’s “artistic.” One could say that the special effects and creature make-up and animatronics are excellent for the time, and it’d be hard-pressed to argue that point. But this is no GODFATHER, or CITIZEN KANE. There’s no underlying, deep-seeded message that would change a man’s way of thinking, doesn’t tackle hard or mature themes, and certainly doesn’t take the world of sci-fi special effects by storm. This movie is exactly what it is: an awesome action flick.
The only time I think this movie forgets what it is, is right after Blaine (Jesse Ventura) gets axed off and Mac (Bill Duke) has this heartfelt moment where he’s saying goodbye to his friend, played to the incredibly awesome track, “Goodbye” by Alan Silvestri. Don’t get me wrong, Duke’s a great actor and he acted the shit out of that scene, but it’s hard to feel for the emotional weight he’s bringing as we don’t exactly know these characters on an intimate level. They’re just burly, gun-toting meatheads. These aren’t the type of guys that we would assume have “emotional depth.” To have this in there to show that they’re vulnerable would have been more impacting if we had a stronger sense of their relationships with one another. Great score, great actor, but not entirely well-earned.
Beyond that, this movie is unadulterated fun. The explosions, the one-liners, even a fair amount of suspense thrown in. One of my favorite elements to the movie is after the team firing willy-nilly into the jungle to kill the Predator, and Poncho comes back saying that after all that, they didn’t hit anything. Well, they did, but they apparently didn’t know that. And it’s pretty chilling to see just how the Predator starts mimicking the sounds the characters’ speeches. You don’t even really know for what purpose, at first, but then when it uses their own voices against them, it’s pretty freaky.
Although, the only legit silly thing that I was never able to get past was the Predator’s final laugh as it detonated its bomb. I don’t care if it was Peter Cullen, famed voice actor of Optimus Prime from the Transformers movies and original 80’s show, it was too human-sounding and too… Loony Tunes.
This movie isn’t high brow, and don’t you deny it. This movie’s sexiest. REALLY don’t deny it. But that’s not really why this movie has a special place in 80’s action movie lore. It does have impressive creature effects, and there is quality to the practical effects in general. Also, it’s such a bro movie that it’s fun just to kick back and make fun of what’s outdated, cheer when something awesome happens, and just enjoy one’s self and not take it too seriously. Plus, it’s really fun to see one of Shane Black’s very first acting gigs before he became a semi-big director, and lets not forget, he’s directing and co-writing the upcoming THE PREDATOR, so I think this guy knows what he’s doing. It may have picked the wrong man to hunt, but this is the right 80’s action movie to watch.
My honest rating for PREDATOR: a strong 4/5