Predator (1987) Review

Predator (1987) Director: John McTiernan

“Get To The Chopper!”


Predator initially began as a 1984 story called ‘Hunter” written by brothers Jim and John Thomas. The inspiration 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. Drawn to this concept, Director John McTiernan picked up the project, after directing 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. At any rate, Predator remains one of the more successful triumphs in his filmography.

Predator offers a popcorn ’80s thriller with a still surprisingly entertaining and suspenseful beefy action-adventure. In my view, 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 is sent in 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 Dillon of nefarious behavior when it is revealed there was a previous mission sent to this jungle, but all of the marines were killed.

As the troupe ventures deeper into the jungle in search of the cabinet minister, they discover strung up corpses that have been recently 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 through the night. He wounds the creature which then decides to fight him without armor in an honor fight. 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 to live another day while the self-destruct sequence explodes. 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.

Click here to return to my review of the Predator series.

1 thought on “Predator (1987) Review

  1. Predator may not be great like Terminator 1 and 2. But it’s popular for being a rare opportunity to see how fully serious Schwarzeneggar could be as an action movie star. Certainly enough to realistically turn down reprising Dutch for Predator 2. But instead many years later for the Predator: Hunting Grounds video game.

    Liked by 1 person

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