Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Movie Review: "Predator" (1987)

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Director: John McTiernan
Year: 1987
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

A group of military special forces led by a man called Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) are sent on a mission to rescue hostages from rebels deep in the Central American jungle. Once there, they meet an unexpected enemy, an alien creature known as a Predator (Kevin Peter Hall), who starts picking off the elite commando unit one by one. 

"Predator" is an amazing sci-fi action film that has only improved with age, in our opinion. The story is rather simple. An elite special forces team made up of a motley crew of characters are sent into the Central America jungle under the guise that they are there to rescue hostages. In reality, the CIA has sent them in to do some dirty work and take out a group of rebels and retrieve information for them. This whole scenario is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of the film and only serves to show how badass Dutch, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the rest of his team are. Schwarzenegger is at the top of his game and in prime human condition in this movie, as are the rest of his crew, comprised of such big 80's names as Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers, and Bill Duke. Despite being vastly outnumbered, Dutch and his men cut through their rebel opposition with ease and do it with no casualties or even serious injuries. This allows the audience to gauge just how amazing it is when the movie's true star, the Predator, starts to pick off each member of the group one by one. The Predator is probably one of the most iconic and kick ass alien creatures ever put on film. The only other creatures that even come close is the Xenomorph from "Alien." Though the Predator is not shown as its full self at first, the tension sets in early. As soon as the team lands in Central America, it just feels like something isn't right in the air. As the men venture further and further into the jungle, the Predator stalks them, shown underneath a computer-esque guise and showing infrared tracking and statistics about its prey. The mystery of the creature isn't unfolded at first, and only after it has picked off some of Dutch's teammates is its ugly, strange body shown. Once revealed, audiences get to see what a brilliant makeup work has been done on the Predator, which is still flawless even by today's standards. In addition, its special effects hold up perfectly even now in 2015, and when compared to other CGI-fests put out today, we really appreciate how well this film executed its effects and makeup works.

This movie works so well because The Predator itself is such an awesome antagonist. Not only are his looks and abilities amazing, but the entire extended mythology surrounding it has served to give them much more depth over the years and through several sequels. The Predator is an ancient race of Big Game hunters. They explore the galaxy and go to alien planets and hunt the planets' most dominant species. In Earth's case, humans are the number one target. These Predators are a noble race in that they will only hunt that which has a sporting chance and is not defenseless. What a wonderful, imaginative tale! The designs displayed here, as well as the story, acting, and makeup work, have stood the test of time. We love watching this movie and enjoy being transported into that deep, creepy jungle with a terrifying beast potentially lurking at every turn.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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