“A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior.”

Director: John McTiernan
Writers: Jim Thomas, John Thomas
Staring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves, R.G. Armstrong, Shane Black, Kevin Peter Hall
Release Date: June 12, 1987

Everything about Predator (1987) still works. All of it is still perfect. This is a Mount Rushmore of action movies. This blog is not going to be much more than me raving about some of my favorite parts of the movie. It is one of my favorite of all-time, so buckle up for some extremely slanted opinions.

The handshake around the world. The test of manhood. Arguably the most testosterone filled moment in the entire movie.

The biceps are flexing and the unnatural sweat is seeping from their pores. What a great line to from Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) with “What’s the matter. The CIA got you pushing too many pencils?”. This scene comes after all the macho men get off the helicopter and you see how big and bulky they are…but the last one to get off that plane is Dutch. Dutch is there with his foot up, cigar in his mouth, and the sun glowing behind him. This handshake took his cool entrance and made sure the audience know the manliness isn’t just looks.

Can we also talk about how Mac (Bill Duke) gets off the plane in a super nice suit? Hilarious. Just downright hilarious.

We get our first dose of over-the-top action when Dutch and his team take out the locals holding Americans hostage. The quiet mission of sneaking through the woods suddenly turns into abrasive when Dutch has the truck go and directly into the heart of the AK-47 wielding bad guys. How many bodies around thrown crazy distances by explosions and close range bullets? The amount of bungy needed to send stuntmen flying may have been limitless.

Also, we get the Arnold line: “Stick around.” That is followed directly by “Knock, Knock.” If you are buying into this type of movie, then these moments are what you live for.

Blain’s gun, as you can see above, is huge. It is massive. It is built for a man that does not have time to bleed. When the gun is cranking full power, it is mesmerizing. Just awesome stuff. Even when it clicks empty, you want the trigger finger still pressing down so you could hear the empty chamber.

Such satisfaction comes in the most absurd scene of the movie. When Mac picks up Blain’s gun and just starts gunning down the ENTIRE FUCKING JUNGLE.

What a moment. Mac sees The Predator, and unleashes pure fury. Dutch shows up and doesn’t even ask questions. He just starts shooting too. So do the rest of the remaining team. Also we have to take a look at Mac’s face when he sees the glowing eyes for the first time. The way his face contorts like he is having a stroke and the way he whimpers/screams “Sergeant” is unforgettable.

I can not stress this enough. This group of men shot down the whole fucking jungle. It is both fantastic and hilarious. It is can’t miss.

If there was one thing that I wish we got to see in Predator was Billy (Sonny Landham) going face-to-face with The Predator. We see him prepare, shed his body armor and wait for his confrontation with death…but we don’t actually see the face-off. It would have been sad to see him die, but would have been nice to see if he could put up a fight in some way. How would he have faired compared to the rest.

Dutch is obviously the best suited to go against the alien being, and I would probably go Mac second and Billy third. Mac knew what to look for and saw The Predator in his camouflage. Now it didn’t help him, but still he at least knew what he was fighting against. Billy had the sense of nature itself, so he knew something was wrong. He just couldn’t put his finger on it.

After “GET TO THE CHOPPER!” scream, we get the final showdown. Dutch vs. The Predator. It is the reveal that the mud can conceal Dutch from The Predator’s vision. Caked in freezing muddy textures, Dutch prepares for his final show down with hand sharpened wooden steaks, tree stump battering rams and massive bon fires. It is mandatory for anyone making a pure action movie to have a montage like this.

Speaking of the leader of this project, we need to just talk about the run that John McTiernan had in the late 1980s. His first movie Nomads (1986) came out, and it was directly followed up by Predator (1987) and Die Hard (1988). Predator and Die Hard. Two of the best action movies ever, in back-to-back years. Simply insane. He then made The Hunt For Red October (1990). This man had so much fucking early success.

There are two lines from the ending of Predator that I take with me on a daily basis. When he is screaming “COME ON, DO IT”, that is the voice in my head when I am internally screaming this at someone. Before that, there is the “You are one ugly mother fucker.”, which I say in my end when I see something that I really don’t deem as pretty.

Thinking about the final showdown between Dutch and The Predator, it is one of mutual respect. The alien unmasks himself and shows his true self in front of his enemy. This is exactly what Bill did as well before he died. Now thinking out loud, I wonder if The Predator character, learning a bit of culture during his rampage, took after Bill in his battle against Dutch. He took away the visage and laid himself bare for a mono-et-mono battle.

This bit of hubris is what dooms The Predator. Predator ends with Arnold’s character standing tall, having just enough energy to run away from AN ATOMIC EXPLOSION. Absolutely nuts, but perfect way to end this movie. We knew this alien had camouflage technology, first aid drugs and tools, and weapons that no human has ever heard of…but we did not know that he a cataclysmic bomb built into his armor.

BOOM. That is the way you end Predator.

With the new movie Prey (2022) coming out on August 5th on HULU, I am going to be rewatching all of the Predator movies in the franchise and doing a ranking of them. This is a spoiler, but Predator is going to be atop the list. Danny Glover is in Predator 2 (1990) and I remember not loving it a lot, but Predators (2010) I legit enjoyed quite a bit. I am going to have to write about The Predator (2018), which is going to pain my fingers and brain. And we will see about Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), neither of which I remember a lot about.

But now I am rambling. Predator is elite. It is S Tier, A-Number-One. Everyone needs to watch it.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

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