ack when simple was appreciated, and brawn ruled over
brains, John McTiernan's "Predator" was king. I am talking, of course,
about the '80s, when patriotism wasn't a 4-letter word and Hollywood was still
trying to please the moviegoing public first instead of showing off their
ideologically driven "movies with messages." Back then it was all
about pleasing the audience, and oh my did "Predator" please.
Generally considered one of the finest Guy Movie ever,
"Predator" is 100 minutes of testosterone, machismo, and sheer
firepower. With those kinds of foundation, it's no wonder there's not much room
for anything else. The plot is only important in order to send Dutch (Arnold
Schwarzenegger) and his small band of rugged commandos into a South American
jungle, where they battle guerillas and a lone alien creature called the
predator (actually the alien has no name and his species is never identified).
Sent into the jungle to rescue the crew of a down American
helicopter, Dutch and his men discovers something even more dangerous waiting
for them. The predator has come from far away, an alien creature with advance
weaponry and the ability to become invisible. The predator is the perfect
killing machine, and it lives only to hunt for the sport of it. The South
American jungles has become its favorite hunting place because of the humidity
and the plenty game, and according to a local, it has been coming back for quite
some time to collect trophies.
After slaughtering their way through the guerilla village,
Dutch and his men become the hunted, with the predator in hot pursuit. Among
Dutch's men, there's the stoic Mac (Bill Duke) and the tobacco chewing (and
future Minnesota Governor) Jesse Ventura. Ventura plays Blain, who utters the
movie's most memorable one-liner; when informed by one of his colleagues that
he's bleeding, Blain retorts: "I ain't got time to bleed." Wielding a
minigun of astounding power, Blain is eventually dispatched by a laser shot to
the gut that spills, well, his guts.
As violent and wild and completely out of control as they
come, "Predator" has little to offer besides its brawn and bullets.
Written by Jim and John Thomas ("Behind
Enemy Lines"), the screenplay has little time for something as mundane
as character development. Instead we get the usual stereotypes, including a
Native American tracker (Sonny Landham) and a untrustworthy CIA spook (Carl
Weathers). Even Arnold Schwarzenegger's Dutch is essentially the same character
he plays in many of his '80s films, including "Commando" and "The
Also notable is the appearance of screenwriter Shane Black,
who plays the smartass Hawkins. Black would go on to write "Lethal
Weapon" and numerous other actioners known as much for their
tongue-in-cheek one-liners as their wild explosions and action. Elpidia
Caririllo is Anna, the local girl who finds her fortunes connected to the
survival of Dutch's team.
There's no need to look beyond the surface of
"Predator" because there isn't anything to find. The film is what it
is, and it is a damn fine piece of action, and one of the finest examples of a
Guy Movie, ever.