Released in 1987, Predator turned a lush jungle environment and the promise of a rescue mission, into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. The movie utilised simplicity to bring audiences a thrilling and anxiety-inducing masterpiece that has aged exceptionally well.
The plot is rather basic, which is a blessing as it allows the main characters of Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and the Predator to really shine, and for the beast to cause chaos for the men on a mission...
The story follows Dutch as he enters South America to join Dillon (Carl Weathers) on a rescue mission, along with other army men. Dutch and Dillon are old friends, and revel in the fact that, despite the circumstances, they are glad to be working together once again.
Their assignment is this: rescue hostages and get out safely. When they venture deeper into the jungle however, they realise that they’re not the only ones who’re armed...
Dutch and the team quickly understand that they need to get out of the jungle but, of course, it isn’t going to be so easy.
Predator utilises so many ordinary things within this movie, and from that creates a dense and uninviting atmosphere filled with panicking soldiers, and a monster that prefers to remain hidden, at least most of the time.
What this film does so well, is include action when only absolutely necessary, because otherwise it would be a shootout and knife-fight the whole way through; the gentle pacing and use of a compact environment means that the creature known as Predator can roam throughout the forest, unseen and unheard as it watches Dutch, Dillon, and the rest of the men as they slowly begin to lose their cool while they're scanning every angle of the jungle.
Once we know the beast is there watching the team’s every move, the stakes are raised for us as viewers, but not for the men down on the ground, because before they know there is a monster among them, they see the bodies of their dead comrades and wonder who could have done this... all before asking what could have done such an inhumane thing.
The Predator is revealed in such an impressive manner, as we’ve seen from its point of view for a lot of the film, but never seen the thing itself. The reactions of the troops as their friends are taken one by one, along with Schwarzenegger’s acting, is simply fantastic in this movie.
Dutch is an action legend, as his intelligence and combat skills are a joy to watch as he fights his way through the jungle all the while trying to keep a female hostage and his crew alive. The Alien franchise is rather parallel to the Predator series, perhaps more so in the way they utilise horror aspects and also, the creation of iconic lines.
As Schwarzenegger loses his men one after another, he begins to realise that he may be the last one standing. When he comes face-to-face with the 7-foot-tall beast that has shown itself to be something you do not mess with, Dutch reels of a very simple but very iconic and recognisable line: “You are one ugly motherf***er.”
This line is just brilliant, as it has a hint of comedy as the creature’s looks should be a lesser concern than its towering presence and array of weapons.
Once again, simplicity wins the race here as not only is this line rather basic, it has such a strong presence within the scene and goes to show that keeping things plain works wonders.
Dutch’s clever personality is also something perhaps unnoticed as it might be something you’d expect from a soldier but, the way in which he disguises himself from the alien is genius; this works so well, as once you’ve realised what he’s done, the disguise wears off which creates anxiety as you now know he’s in immediate danger.
The Predator’s demeanour is also majorly noteworthy; the almost swagger when it reveals its face to Dutch is so perfect; everything from its deep and impressive roar of power, to its stature and apparel – it is the monster to contend with, and it knows it.
To reiterate, Predator is one of the best films to come out of the 80s, without a doubt. Some of the best movies are the ones that don’t water everything down with extended dialogue, unneeded action sequences, and not showing off the main selling point which, in this case, is Arnold Schwarzenegger and a giant battle-ready alien – which are, as they should be, the stars of the show.
The fact that this feature is still beloved today says it all; Predator really is a staple of how to do sci-fi right. A basic yet compacted setting which allows the creature to move unseen, a great cast who showcase both strength and fear, and perhaps most of all, an exceptionally designed monster who we see in his full glory; not like today where we sometimes barely see the creature advertised.
This movie is cleverly written and exceptionally made, and if you haven’t seen it yet, then we suggest you stop whatever you’re doing and go watch it immediately!
Watch the trailer for Predator below!
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
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