1 February 2006 | The_Void
Arnie is at his best in this sci-fi classic!
This film will always have special place for me, as aside from being one of the best horror/sci-fi films of the eighties; it's also a huge childhood favourite of mine. Despite the fact that I've seen it dozens of times as a kid, I have only seen it once during adulthood; and that single viewing was more than enough to remind me what it is that I love about this film! Predator works as a macho action film, gory horror and intriguing sci-fi, and despite it's short running time of just 100 minutes, it somehow manages to find room for all three. The fact that it stars action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger ensures that the film will always be favourably remembered. He's not a good actor, but Arnie always manages to bring that extra something to his movies. The plot is deliciously simple and follows a group of commandos that go off into the jungle on a secret mission. However, things go awry when it turns out that they aren't the only ones with weapons there. Finding the skinned bodies of the last group of men that entered the jungle is about to become the least of their worries...
The jungle makes for a great setting for an action sci-fi flick such as this. These sorts of films tend to be set in space, so seeing the action down here on earth is different; and the fact that it's set in the jungle, with it's dense foliage, ensures that Die Hard-director John McTiernan is able to bump up the suspense, as just like in the Vietnam war; the soldiers are dealing with an unknown enemy. The atmosphere really is excellent, and the special effects help to create a futuristic tone, while the suspense builds and makes sure that the audience are on the edge of their seats at all times. Predator was released hot on the heels of the success of James Cameron's amazing 'Aliens' - but don't be thinking this film is merely a rip off following a trend, Predator has more than enough up it's sleeve to ensure that isn't the case. The action is great, and director McTiernan clearly knows what he's doing. It's fast and furious, and the amount of weapons on display ensures that the film is sure to delight fans of macho action films. The fact that the lead actor is a monster of a man doesn't exactly hurt the film either!
Now, Arnold Schwarzenegger may well be a terrible actor; but it doesn't matter because it's his screen presence, not his acting ability, that makes his performances what they are. At times he's cringe-worthy, but it's hard to deny his prowess when it comes to the action sequences, and that is all a film of this nature needs. Arnie isn't the only big man in the film either, as an assortment of muscle men, including ex-wrestler Jesse Ventura, and Carl Weathers; Rocky's Apollo Creed, among other B-movie actors, join him. The man himself also finds himself a very worthy ally, in the form of the movie's central alien. The Predator may not be as beautiful as the creature from 'Alien', but it's just as inventive. Here we have an extra terrestrial that isn't merely trying to breed, or to 'phone home' - but one that is actually there to hunt humans for sport! Aside from being ingenious, the idea also borders on frightening. The gore here is gratuitous, but never goes over the top and on the whole, Predator is a film that never really got the credit it deserves. It's mindless fun - but its damn good mindless fun!