"If it bleeds, we can kill it." --Dutch
There is something about "Predator" that makes it one of the pure highlights of any films from the 80s. Perhaps its the fact that Arnold is in it. Perhaps its the ridiculous amounts of action in it. Perhaps its the fact that this film creates one of the greatest villains in history with only bad ass special effects and a man in a suit with NO CGI. In fact, this film has so many solid things going for it that despite many things that could have (and probably should have) made it a grade B film it overcomes all of it and gives us one of the best Science Fiction and Action films of modern cinema. "Predator" is as deadly as it is entertaining.
Dutch (Arnold) and his team of mercenaries are hired to help deal with some missing people in the jungles of Central America and get them away from the guerrilla group that is holding them. What the Dutch company doesn't realize is that they aren't the only badass killers in this jungle. They have stumbled on a foreign creature's hunting ritual and this new 'predator' has seemingly found a group worthy of the hunt. Now Dutch has to save his men from the ultimate hunter whom they have every disadvantage against.
Now Arnold films in the 80s were a niche to themselves. Most were so over the top and ridiculous that despite their flaws its hard not to love them. Unfortunately, despite their charm most of them weren't good movies. That's the difference between "Predator" and the rest. This is not only an entertaining blast of action, explosions, and big fucking guns held by big fucking men but its actually well paced with lots of great characters, some nice bits of moral debate, and a smart moving Science Fiction plot. Yeah I just used 'smart' to describe an Arnold film. Sue me. It may not be upfront with how solid this film actually is, but "Predator" is surprisingly well crafted even for its genre.
I also have to write an entire section in this review dedicated to the Predator itself. In the 80s there was a slew of alien films that bombarded audiences in all sorts of forms. But rarely was there a creature of such gigantic badass-ness as the Predator. Using very little in the way of visual effects, this film crafts the ultimate hunter with his sparse but deadly technology (including the invisible camo it uses) and its brilliant design. Its just a man in a suit but its oh so much more than that. Its almost as if the filmmakers knew they had to top the over the top awesomeness that the 80s movie going audience saw Arnold as and they wanted to dwarf him and make him look weak. They did it. They created a legacy with just this creature.
"Predator" deserves a lot more credit that even it gives itself. It's a blast to watch over and over again and allows even the hit or miss genre of Science Fiction some weight in the mainstream audience and kicked off a franchise that spawns over films, comics, books, and games. Even if you are not a huge Arnold fan this is a film worth checking out.
BONUS PRAISE: This film also has one of my favorite scores ever crafted. The opening piece for the film is memorable and completely badass. Not very often one can balance those with a score.
BONUS RANT: This film also has one of the worst covers every crafted. Arnold may be the 'star' of the movie but really its still a poorly developed cover. It's nice to see that for the re-release on Blu Ray that they gave the film a new cover. It needed it.
Written By Matt Reifschneider