PREDATOR MOVIE REVIEW: First up in this marathon is “Predator,” which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Jingle All the Way), Carl Weathers (Rocky, Colony [TV series]), Elpidia Carrillo (Seven Pounds, Nine Lives ), Bill Duke (Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit), Jesse Ventura (The Running Man, Conspiracy Theory [TV series]), Sonny Landham (Lock Up, 48 Hrs.), Richard Chaves (Witness, War of the Worlds [TV series]), R.G. Armstrong (Children of the Corn, My Name is Nobody), Shane Black (As Good as it Gets, The Hunt for Red October), and Kevin Peter Hall (Harry and the Hendersons, Big Top Pee-Wee). It is directed by John McTiernan (Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October) and is written by Jim and John Thomas (Mission to Mars, Wild Wild West). When a team of commandos are sent on a rescue mission in a Central American jungle, they find themselves being hunted by a skilled hunter, not from this planet.
You can’t have a franchise without a well-received first outing, and that is where “Predator” comes in. There was no doubt in my mind that this wouldn’t be fun. Heck, its Arnold Schwarzenegger in a jungle fighting a foe stronger than him; what’s not to take joy in? And that’s what I got. I had fun watching “Predator,” as its awesome action, beefy actors, and over-powered antagonist made for a tense ride filled with thrills and cheesy lines (such as “get to the choppa” and “stick around,” after pinning someone against a wall with a knife in their chest). Of course, many people who adore this release have said the same thing, but it’s worth repeating. Schwarzenegger was the guy to go to for in terms of action in the eighties and early nineties. Though he couldn’t act that well, he carried a movie on his shoulders, making many great popcorn films in his heyday (“Terminator 2” and “Jingle All the Way” anyone?). That’s exactly what he presented in this movie, and he was a beast. I don’t know how he does it, but he is immensely entertaining, and in this story’s finest hour he showed his skill, which I will get to later in the review. As for the rest of he cast, they are your typical ragtag crew with rugged personalities. One thing that surprised me was how Carl Weathers starred in this. Seeing him in a film outside the “Rocky” franchise was interesting, and he held up his end of the script well. Although I can’t pick out many names off the top of my head for the rest of the crew, I was entertained by each one of them. The story pretty much had a character for any scenario. There was a big mouth who talked big game, his friend who is bent on revenge later into the plot, a skillful tracker who fears nothing but the Predator, and some young guy who keeps making foul jokes (which I really didn’t understand the drive in). They all made the experience enjoyable. In talking about the action, John McTiernan is a pro. Some of his works include the first three “Die Hard” films, so he knows his way around the genre. In watching the making of this feature, McTiernan went on to say that they sought a nice popcorn flick filled with action and fun. They weren’t in it for the Oscar, but for something entertaining, and boy did they provide. The amount of chaos displayed in this movie is unbelievable. When the soldiers storm a base in the beginning of the movie, everything goes crazy. Explosions are everywhere and gunshots are heard at their loudest; it’s insane. Then, when the Predator begins to hunt them, that’s where things become suspenseful and gruel. I gotta hand it to McTiernan; although this release doesn’t hold tension or greatness in dialogue, it sure does hold it in the silence and camera work. As the film reaches its conclusion, I was on the edge of my seat. At this point, not once in this story were the good guys winning; death was ever-present and rampant, and that is the best thing this story has to offer. None of the characters are safe in this, and when we see Schwarzenegger with actual fear on his face of what’s about to come towards the end, it gave me chills. The fact that these men are expendable and what they are fighting is winning all the time makes for a riveting adventure, and I will say that it got better as time went on. Each succeeding act got better and better, and by the time the finale came, I was heavily engaged. Sure, the visual effects could’ve been better, but once the monster revealed himself, I was in awe. The costume department outdid themselves, and it was a surely ugly beast (as Schwarzenegger would put it, “you are one ugly mother******”). The final fight gave immense bonus points to this movie overall, and was the best part of the experience. There are a bunch more aspects that contribute to this film’s goodness, but it does have its cons. As I have mentioned before, the visual effects were outdated. It’s what you’d expect from a movie made in 1987, and I mainly dock points because of how some of the camera work will make the scenes hard to comprehend. The Predator’s camera perspective was difficult to watch at times. I understand how he can only see heat, but whenever he is following the soldiers or interacting with something, it’s hard to get a bigger picture of what he is doing. Other than that, the first act is a bit slow. I like how it sinks into the conflict, but it does take a while for our heroes to kick things off and come in contact with the Predator. Anything else would be in nitpicks or the fact that there is a lot of cheese in this movie. Hey, it was meant to be a popcorn flick, so who am I to judge? I just won’t give it as much as the greats, like “Shawshank” or “No Country for Old Men.” If you haven’t seen this classic, and are of age, I implore you to check it out; you’ll have fun! FINAL SCORE: 91%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: