Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Predator (1987)


Let’s get right into this one.  A small spaceship ejects a pod to earth then vanishes away into space.  Whether the occupant of the pod had allies on board the spacecraft is unknown.  What we can figure out is the life form in the pod is on earth now to hunt for the sport of it.  Its target is humans as they seem to be a more challenging game for them.  I believe the alien hunter (refer to simply as hunter for rest of review) is not on the planet too long before Dutch and his rescue team show up.

                Dillon (Carl Weathers) is a former rescue team soldier who now is “pushing pencils” and has left the field.  He seems to have a problem in a jungle where some seriously shady business is going on involving guerilla militants.  He calls upon Dutch (Arnold Schwartzenegger) and his crack rescue team to clean up the mess.  He deceives Dutch though by portraying the situation as a hostage situation.  Dutch is not some gun for hire and remains disciplined by establishing he only does rescue operations.  Dutch seems skeptical throughout his briefing but reluctantly takes the mission, by order of course.  There is a history between Dutch and Dillon that is evident in their conversation.  Dutch mocks Dillon for becoming soft, then they move out.  It’s a short setup that really gets the story on its feet and into the air.

                The helicopter ride to the drop zone gives an introduction to Dutch’s elite team.  I wonder how elite they will be by the end of the movie.  If by elite you mean skinned or dismembered in some way then that is the correct way to describe them.  Blaine (Jesse Ventura) is a tough macho man that shows no respect toward Dillon, he also chews tobacco, gross.  Hawkins is a geek of a man, which would probably be my sorry butt if I were there, who obviously handles the radio and also has about five lines.  Billy has a spiritual vibe going and doesn’t say much but you get the feeling he is off.  Mack and Poncho round out the small group of ruffians set to leave the helicopter.  They all generally don’t approve of Dillon tagging along but orders are orders in their line of work.

You came to rescue me!  Thanks guys!
                In the jungle they come across Harper’s team of green berets.  Who is that you wonder?  Well it doesn’t matter too much since they’re skinned and dangling from a tree.  Questions surmount as to how they became like this.  It’s also asked by Dutch what they could possibly be doing here.  Hmm, I’m sure your pal Dillon has absolutely no idea Dutch, hey he said so himself!  Dillon is upper management now and that type always gives you all the facts.  They push on sticking to the mission like good soldiers.  They locate the guerilla camp and very strategically surround them while silently picking off the outer lookouts.  This action sequence is rather well shot.  Aside Blaine getting shot in the bicep and yammering off the ever famous, “I ain’t got time to bleed” everyone in Dutch’s party survives easily.  If they die now then we can’t see them die later!  Dutch provides his awesome “stick around” line while throwing a HUGE knife into a hapless enemy soldier.  He follows that up with “knock knock” as he kicks down a door and mutilates a couple more patsies.  In the meantime the hunter has been watching from the trees.  It would seem its getting a feel for its new prey.

At least chewing tobacco didn't kill him.
                The truth comes out as Dutch slams Dillon against a wall in the aftermath of the supposed victory.  The two exchange words as Dillon exclaims to Dutch to wake up in this changing world.  Dutch stands firm by saying his men aren’t expendable assets.  Dillon is revealed to have tricked his old pal Dutch into coming here to retrieve documents but it doesn’t look as if Dillon even takes them with as they go.  Maybe he stuffed them down his pants for safe keeping?  As they leave the camp Mack decides to help Dillon by knifing a scorpion off his back.  Why Mack?  Let that wiener Dillon feel the sting!  Well he is a team player, good man Mack.  The hunter is listening to their conversations from a distance in the trees.  Billy sees the hunter in his nearly invisible camouflage but can’t be 100% sure.  He stands and glares out into the jungle until giving up on it.  Billy with the peepers of an eagle!  Dillon did capture a woman named Anna at the camp and of course loses her shortly after.  Hawkins runs her down but he is the first poor chap to face the hunter.  Hawkins body slams the hunter then drop kicks it into a spiked tree branch impaling the alien.  All are saved and Hawkins wins a medal of bravery!  Now back to what really happened.  The blood splatters and Hawkins is taken away lifeless as Anna gets totally freaked out.  She claims the jungle came alive and took him.  She also finds some of the hunter’s green blood later in which Dutch says, “If it bleeds we can kill it.”  Dutch comes to the decision to find Hawkins’ body as he doesn’t want the same fate to his man as was Harper and his men.  Now we know that Dillon indeed sent Harper to this jungle to collect the “landing on earth tax fee” from the hunter.  Billy swears they will all die when Blaine soon after becomes the next dead man.  A blue blaster shot by the hunter makes a gaping hole in his chest, very nasty.  The hunter displays superiority early and often.

Hold it together Mack, nvm vent a bit
                Mack arrives as the hunter makes an escape.  Mack, Dutch, Dillon, Billy and Poncho all unload all sorts of gunfire and explosive rounds they have into the jungle.  It’s a vengeance spray of ammunition as Mack was close with Blaine.  It really pisses him off.  They do manage to hit the hunter even though it seems the hunter should be torn to shreds.  How it escaped that firestorm of bullets is amazing or lucky.  I’d imagine a ditch or a downward slope would be the only way it dodged it all.  Mack does the duty of bagging up Blaine.  There is a respectful moment of emotion as Mack says his goodbye to his friend.  It’s rather a well done scene to balance the action of the film.

Expendable assets my @$$ Dillon
                Dutch decides to make a stand against this unknown being.  Mack saw it; its yellow eyes glowed as it made its escape in the last encounter.  I always imagine the hunter hates his helmet for malfunctioning like that, like he bought a second hand tech helmet just before he left for earth.  The hunter’s thinking great now they have an idea what to look for.  Why didn’t I cough up that extra cash for the upgraded visor?!  Anyway I stray; they set up an elaborate maze of death that nobody on the ground could avoid.  A wild boar breaks in and Mack knifes the crap out of it.  The hunter used the confusion to snatch Blaine’s body however.  The hunter always gets its trophies.

                They decide to set another trap as Dillon whines about doing some “Boy Scout trap”.  He helps though as the tough guys flex their muscles and show off what all their training is about.  It’s testosterone at its very best.  The hunter does get trapped in a giant net on the ground and blasts the net open.  A huge log rigged to hit the hunter breaks and hits the unsuspecting Poncho.  I liked Poncho; hang in their buddy I know you can make it!  He is bashed up badly as Dutch and Billy help him in the direction of the helicopter landing site.  Can they actually make it there though?  Dillon and Mack see the hunter again as its camouflage crackles a bit while briefly revealing its body.  Again the hunter is perturbed with the shopping decisions it made before arriving on earth.  They both are hopelessly pursuing an invisible prey.  I smell a two for one death special in the jungle department.  They manage to spot it but their plan to kill it ends with Mack getting his brains blew out and Dillon losing an arm while getting gutted.  Meanwhile Dutch figures out why Anna has never been killed since she is unarmed.  Maybe Poncho and Dutch should drop their weapons now?  No, no they probably will want to hang onto those.  They made it this far right?

                Anna does get one moment in the film to explain a neat story detail.  She claimed as a girl she seen this hunter do similar things.  It only came in high temperatures though, during the hottest years.  It’s possible it helps with seeing its prey on earth since heat signatures are how it hunts.  It needs hot climate.  That leads me to wonder how a hunter with such poor vision can be so destined to hunt in the first place.  Every time we see through its eyes you can’t see much, even with the second hand helmet.  Am I the only one that notices this?  The weaponry is pretty efficient though I’ll credit that.

Billy keep it together.
                Billy gets odder and basically gets killed off screen while on a land bridge.  The weirdo cuts his chest diagonally down to his stomach area, what are you trying to prove?  It doesn’t make much sense why he’d not join the others.  Possibly to alert them by his agonizing screams before death so they knew how close the hunter was behind them?  Way to look ahead Billy, a true hero, yeah right you crazy nut.  Soon after Poncho gets blue blastered straight to the head and dies, no Poncho no, while Dutch takes the shot like a man.  He doesn’t lose any appendages and frantically runs away but not before shouting one the best lines ever, “Get to the chopper!”  Anna takes off running to leave it a one on one with the hunter and Dutch.
Effects are still awesome!

               Dutch scrambles onto a muddy embankment after falling into a nearby river.  The hunter follows and reaches shore.  Dutch now covered in mud and vulnerable as ever is not seen by the hunter.  His body heat is concealed in the mud.  Hey getting dirty saves lives, notify germs everywhere!  The hunter is pissed and rightfully so; he couldn’t even blast some small animal on a nearby log.  Dutch goes through the night preparing traps in nature and making a bow and arrows.  You get a scene with the hunter ripping Billy’s spine out and kicking the body off a tree top.  It shows the hunter gloating over human skulls and we see one more is to be collected unless Dutch has something to say about that.

Arnold VS Predator
                The finale sees Dutch swinging from trees and launching an explosive arrow that nearly gets the hunter.  It does disable its invisibility though.  Let’s not forget the war cry yelled in that manly voice by Dutch, that was impressive.  Dutch eventually falls into the water losing his mud and getting caught by the hunter.  It’s awesome to see the hunter hold the brute man, Dutch, up with one arm against a tree.  The towering hunter looks unbeatable.  It sizes up Dutch and decides to beat the living daylights out of him.  Hey this human has caused way too much of a problem and the hunter wants some satisfaction in some needed beatings.  Dutch gets handled easily until he lures the hunter to one of his traps and drops a lumbering log onto it.  They ask, “What the hell each other are” then the hunter activates its self-destruct mode on its armband.  Dutch flees the blast then gets picked up by the helicopter.  A battered man survives against the first predator we ever saw on screen.
One ugly M-Fer

                Thanks Stan Winston for the creature effects, we miss you buddy.  An action science fiction film is done masterfully featuring Arnold!  The film is basic in layout as far as the plot goes but the alien presence really lifts it all up.  Arnold was kept silent enough to let his actions dominate his performance.  The mystery and intrigue in the predator will always lead me back to it.

                Rating: 10 of 10


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