Archive Review: Predator (1987) – 3.5/5 Stars

Never saw the original “Predator” until today. It’s worth mentioning that Robert Rodriguez is producing a re-make that’s just started filming.

“Predator” boasts a few unique claims, one being that it’s the only movie to feature two US governors. The “Jaws” and “Alien”-inspired monster attack film also gave birth to one of the most original creatures we’ve ever seen instead relying on aliens or dangerous animals. But most of all, it’s the ability of “Predator” to deliver entertainment on bare-bones plot structure.

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in director John McTiernan’s breakthrough action thriller about a team of commandos on a hostage rescue mission in a Central American jungle who on their way back find themselves being hunted one-by-one by some extra-terrestrial hunter with stealth armor. 

The beauty of “Predator” is that’s all for the plot. No sub-plots, no character development, nothing — just gunfire and guts. Only occasionally does a mindless film like this one come along, recognize that its mindless, and just execute “entertaining” right down to its very definition.

The cast is completely talentless, but Schwarzenegger appears to have finely honed his ability to be an action star without distracting us with a thick accent. His recognizability at this point in his career is enough to like him in the film. Jesse Venture adds a bit of variety to the cast and makes for a nice fun fact many years later.

It would be one thing if there was no good reason for “Predator” to be devoid of everything but spine, but an alien with hunting gear and dreadlocks killing commandos for good sport needs nothing but some clever action sequences and effective suspense. Like “Alien,” we don’t see the Predator in full until way into the movie and that’s half the excitement necessary to enjoy it.

Other movies try and give us back story, romance and clever twists when they aren’t capable of delivering them well. “Predator” says “you want blood and aliens but not the same old presentation? You got it.” Good film-making has never been simpler.

3.5/5 Stars

Directed by: John McTiernan
Written by: Jim and John Thomas
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger


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