Predator introduces us to the deadliest hunter of them all. Resulting in one big testosterone fueled smash hit. From John McTiernan, the man who would direct Die Hard just one year later. He enlisted only the biggest, most muscular action stars at the time. Since I was a big fan of aliens and Arnold Schwarzenegger growing up, Predator was a perfect combination. As this was the peak of Arnie’s acting career. Even though Predator is R rated and clearly not meant for kids. Despite the toys, comics, and video games that were eventually spawned from the franchise.
I was definitely a fan, but it was really my brother who was obsessed with it. He really got into the technology that the titular predator uses. Of course my parents were the ones who initially got us into it. Originally titled Hunter, Predator surprisingly originated from a joke made about Rocky IV. With the simple premise of the muscular hero fighting an alien. Luckily they didn’t go with their original predator design. Which would have been Jean-Claude Van Damme in some sort of bug suit. It was thankfully redesigned with Kevin Peter Hall bringing him to life. Big action stars, cheesy one-liners, and bloody violence were the 80’s at their finest…
Predator crosses action and science fiction with horror, because nothing is scarier than being hunted like an animal. We already know the predator is an alien due to the spaceship revealed in the opening shot. Predator centers on a ragtag crew/cast of elite special forces operatives. Arnold plays Major Dutch, the leader (and last surviving member) of his team. His team consists of Mac, Blain, Billy, Poncho, and Hawkins. Joining them is CIA operative and old friend of Dutch, Dillon. Whom he greets with the manliest handshake ever. Only Carl Weathers can pull that off.
Their mission is to rescue hostages held by guerrilla forces in the Central American jungle. Arnold of course spouts off a stream of cheesy one-liners. Including “Stick around,” “If it bleeds… we can kill it,” and the often quoted “Get to the choppa!” But it’s actually Jesse “The Body” Ventura who gets the cheesiest line of all. After getting shot he says “I ain’t got time to bleed.” Ironically both Schwarzenegger and Ventura would become state Governors. While Sonny Landham who played the stoic Native American Billy would be less successful in his political career.
Bill Duke previously collaborated with Arnie in Commando. Although the oddest cast member would have to be writer/future director Shane Black. Anna is the only female cast member, but she does survive as well. The titular predator (or Yautja) has a very distinctive design. Although most of the movie it’s unseen because of cloaking technology. Which only builds up the tension of the hunt. When the Predator is revealed, its shown to be carrying a variety of weapons. Like Retractable wrist blades and a deadly shoulder mounted plasma cannon. It also carries a medical pack and something to clean its trophies after skinning bodies. Since a predator is drawn to heat, it only makes sense that they have reptilian skin.
Dutch manages to survive by camouflaging himself with mud. Since predators can only see with thermal vision. After holding it off with a series of booby traps, the predator finally takes its helmet off. Revealing itself to be one ugly motherf***er. With alien dreadlocks and tusks surrounding its mouth. Their final confrontation ends in Dutch’s favor. But the glowing green blood soaked predator has one more trick up its sleeve. A self-destruct device that it activates while strangely laughing manically. In the end, Predator is a classic because it shows that man is the true deadliest hunter.
Followed by: Predator 2