Sunday, 18 March 2007
Predator (1987) dir. John McTiernan
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke
“If it bleeds we can kill it”. A great line from one of the great testosterone films of the 80’s.
Schwarzenegger (Dutch) and his team of elite soldiers are assigned to rescue a group of South American politicians from some terrorists. After an impressive landing in the middle of the jungle the team has no trouble infiltrating the jungle encampment and blowing the hell out of everything. The gunpower is awesome, especially Jesse Ventura’s chain fed mini-gun. After they discover another military team skinned alive and hanging from the trees, they realize there’s more to the mission than just politics. The jungle is inhabited by an invisible alien creature playing his own version of the Most Dangerous Game. One by one Schwarzenegger’s crew is picked off the predator.
The star of the film is the predator (played by 7 foot tall Kevin Peter Hall) which spawned a not-so-bad sequel and a cross-over vehicle with “Alien”. The staging of his introduction is a classic, Dutch runs away from the predator and accidentally falls 100 meters off a cliff into a lake. He crawls away, only to discover the Predator has made the same jump. Dutch crawls through mud to shore and is ready to accept his death, when he realizes the mud on his body has rendered himself invisible to the predator. Here we see the Predator for the first time in the flesh:
The design of the Predator is the work of the great Stan Winston. From his wrist-operated, self-repair bio computer system, luminescent green blood, double mouth jowls to his shoulder-mounted laser sighting device, it’s so detailed, there’s a wikipedia entry about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predator_(alien). Of course Dutch’s description of him is a bit more blunt - “you’re one ugly motherfucker”.
“Predator” is highly quotable, especially when you, ahem…watch it over 20 times between ages 12 and 15. Remember Mac’s psychotic last words, “I’m gonna have me some fun, I’m gonna have me some fun”, or the Schwarzenegger one liner before blowing a hole in someone, “knock knock”. But it’s Jesse Ventura’s Blaine who has the best lines: “I ain’t got time to bleed”, or “this place makes Cambodia look like Kansas.”
“Predator” is still a hell of a lot of fun, though it’s not without its ridiculous moments, specifically Dutch jumping out of the way from, and surviving, a nuclear explosion. But the film remains highly watchable today beyond nostalgia reasons, unlike, say, “Commando”. It’s also responsible for some notable career changes of its cast: Arnold (Governor of California), Jesse Ventura (Governor of Minnesota), Sonny Landham (ran for Governor of Kentucky), Shane Black (once Hollywood’s highest paid screenwriter) and Bill Duke (now a successful director). Enjoy.
Here’s a great spoof - Dateline NBC's "To Catch a Predator":
Buy it here: Predator (Widescreen Two-Disc Collector's Edition)