Predator (1987) Director: John McTiernan
“Get To The Chopper!”
Predator initially began as a story in 1984 called ‘Hunter” written by brothers Jim and John Thomas. The inspiration for the story came from an old joke in Hollywood -that after the release of Rocky IV Rocky Balboa would need to fight an alien next in order to stay relevant. Director John McTiernan picked up the project, he was also the director of other action flicks like Die Hard and The Hunt For Red October. In later years McTiernan fell on hard times and bankruptcy. He was convicted of a felony for lying to the FBI about wire-tapping the phones of his co-workers, hiring a private investigator to spy on them, and allegedly also his spying on his ex-wife.
Predator is a cheesy, classic ’80s adventure thriller but it is still surprisingly entertaining and suspenseful. A conventional action movie now and again serves for some wonderful escapism. Predator takes place in a Central American jungle where an American cabinet minister and his aide have been captured by guerrilla insurgents. An elite paramilitary rescue squad are sent in. The squad is led by Vietnam War veteran “Dutch” (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his old buddy who now works for the CIA named Al Dillon (Carl Weathers). We witness the anticipated uncouth conversation of a ragtag band of marines dropped into the remote jungle, and we also suspect Al of nefarious behavior when it is revealed there was a previous mission sent to this jungle, all of whom were killed.
As the troupe ventures deeper into the jungle they discover strung up corpses that have been slaughtered and skinned (green berets from Fort Bragg). Soon the squad realizes they are being hunted by an unknown cloaked creature. It hunts its prey invisibly while tracking people’s body heat with infrared scanning. Slowly, the creature kills off each character until Dutch alone faces the creature overnight. He wounds the creature which then decides to fight him without armor. When Butch further injures the creature by luring it into a trap, the creature laughs in his face and launches its self-destruct sequence. Dutch narrowly escapes in the end. Predator is a simple, formulaic action thriller that somehow raises more questions about the creature than it answers. It is not a great film, but it is a fun ride.