MRR's Action Movie Month: Predator Review

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Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in Predator, a 1987 film about a team of commandos, on a mission in a Central American jungle, find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior.
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MRR's Action Movie Month: Predator Review

-- Rating: R
Length: 107 minutes
Release Date: June 12, 1987
Directed by: John McTiernan
Genre: Action, Adventure, and Sci-Fi

"Predator," which was released in 1987, is the ultimate masculine movie. Directed by John McTiernan and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, and Kevin Peter Hall, the movie tells the story of a jungle rescue mission that turns into a fight for survival against a marauding alien. For fans of action movies, space movies, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Predator" is a must-see film.

The story follows Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his expert team of military men as they head into the jungle in Central America on a rescue mission. The team is out to rescue a group of Army men who have crashed in the jungle with no explanation. When the rescue squad comes upon the helicopter in the jungle, they also discover a group of bodies, skinned and hung from the trees.

Dutch and his team head into the jungle to find the perpetrators and eventually find them holed up in a rebel camp. To get revenge, the team kills the rebels, wrecks the camp, and takes a prisoner. After the dust settles, Dutch finds out that the entire mission was a cover, and that the real goal had been to convince the team to kill the rebels. Also, the helicopter in the jungle was the result of an unsuccessful attempt to rescue two missing CIA agents. Despite his anger, Dutch and the team plan to leave the jungle.

As the team works through the trees, the movie's viewpoint changes, and viewers see the team through the eyes of an alien who has landed on Earth. The alien begins to stalk the men and their prisoner with the aim of killing them off. One by one, the team is murdered, leaving only Dutch and the prisoner, Anna (Elpidia Carrillo). After he sends Anna to be rescued from the jungle, Dutch sets out to capture and kill the alien on his own. Using a variety of tactics and traps, he finally catches the alien, but it self-destructs as Dutch and Anna are pulled out by a helicopter.

One of the highlights of "Predator" is the bizarre pairing of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the alien on screen together. The alien was originally played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, but, even in the bulky suit, the famous martial artist was not large enough to match up against Schwarzenegger and the other muscled actors. After a break in filming, Van Damme was replaced by Kevin Peter Hall, who stood over seven feet tall and made a believable enemy. The combination of Hall's height and the dramatic alien suit created a powerful visual impact that delighted audiences.

"Predator" was released after Schwarzenegger filmed "Terminator." With its dramatic jungle scenery and high-energy action sequences, "Predator" was the perfect vehicle for the bulky actor. Although it received a lukewarm critical response at the time of its release, the movie has grown into a favorite with action fans. The iconic alien character, the image of a mud-covered Schwarzenegger, and the dramatic jungle scenery work together to create an exciting, energetic film. The outrageous characters and over-the-top masculinity in "Predator" make it the ultimate man's movie.

During the first half of the movie, one of the film's central aspects is the lush Central American scenery. With wide-angle shots and sweeping panoramas, the film establishes the location and brings audience members into the story. "Predator" was filmed on location in Mexico, and the crew was forced to work in the high heat and humidity during filming. The actors and filmmakers dealt with leech-infested swamps, bugs, and rough ground. The tough conditions and beautiful cinematography lend a feeling of reality to the story, which makes the alien more believable when it finally appears. The realistic aspects of the movie give it staying power, and it is still a popular action movie.

The cutting-edge alien technology vividly contrasts the natural setting, emphasizing the divide between humans and aliens. The alien's gadgets, developed by R/Greenberg Associates, were advanced for their time and earned the filmmakers an Academy Award nomination. With its technology, masculine action scenes, and testosterone-fueled stunts, the plot of "Predator" is essentially unimportant. The movie is designed to please viewers, and the only thing that matters in the end is that good triumphs over evil.

Overall, the combination of believable scenes and alien invaders attracted a wide audience, and the film still has a lasting appeal. For viewers who love Schwarzenegger, military movies, or action films, "Predator" is the perfect pick.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars