Predator is a 1987 scifi action thriller drama film directed by John McTiernan and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film spawned a direct sequel – Predator 2 (1990) – a couple of spin-offs with Alien vs Predator (2004), Alien vs Predator (2007) and Predators (2010) – as well as a reboot with The Predator (2018).
But none of the ensuing franchise entries can compare to the original which remains a taut action thriller over thirty years later. Some might argue that Predator was a scifi version of a 80s slasher movie, with Arnold playing the ‘final girl’ role! But seriously, in that respect, Predator shares DNA with Ridley Scott’s Alien – monster hunting humans in an unfriendly environment.
Characterisation was non-existent as all the characters including Dutch (Arnold) were essentially cyphers with no backgrounds, reduced to mere functionaries. All you needed to know was that Dutch and his crew were elite soldiers, the best mercenaries money could buy, basically. Which is fine cuz Predator is all about the action and the thrills, nothing more and nothing less!
The opening sequence finds Arnold and company deep into a South American jungle tracking down rebels to free hostages. Their prowess and abilities are demonstrated in the manner in which they take down the rebels but then find out that things are not as they seem. Worse still, these elite mercenaries discover that they are now prey to an alien being, beyond their comprehension. It is an excellent twist which turns the tables on our merry band of soldiers very quickly.
Predictably, our alien monster picks off the soldiers one at a time, each time in gory fashion, always ensuring that each action sequence is unique in its own way. Finally, only Arnold – our hero – is left and he eschews technology and returns to the primal in order to plot a way to destroy the alien. Triumph of the human spirit of course!
Subsequent movies in the franchise would attempt to flesh out the alien species background but none can match Predator for its visceral impact and narrative purity. Highly recommended!
Now streaming on Disney+.
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