Directed By: John McTiernan
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall
Tag line: "Soon the hunt will begin"
Trivia: Predator had the second biggest opening weekend of 1987; Beverly Hills Cop II had the first
Predator hit theaters right around the time I graduated from high school. In fact, I first saw it during Senior Week, when my friends and I attended a late-night showing on the Wildwood, New Jersey boardwalk. With a cast that included Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator) and Carl Weathers (Rocky), I went into Predator expecting a high-octane action flick (which it was). But what I also got was one of the most awe-inspiring creatures ever to grace the big screen.
Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (Schwarzenegger) is recruited by his old army buddy, CIA operative George Dillon (Carl Weathers), to lead a rescue team into the jungles of Central America, where a Presidential cabinet member has been taken hostage by some local guerrillas. Joined by Blain Cooper (Jesse Ventura), Mac Eliot (Bill Duke), and a handful of others, Dutch and George eventually locate the guerrilla’s base and use the element of surprise to blow them back to the Stone Age. But there’s more to this mission than Dillon is letting on, and before anyone knows what’s hit them, an unknown enemy is stalking and killing the members of Dutch’s team. Determined to stay alive, Dutch regroups and attempts to fight back, but how do you defeat an opponent that you can’t even see?
Predator is, without a doubt, an intense action film; the firefight between Dutch’s elite force and the guerrillas is an exciting one. Yet even when the guns fall silent, the movie keeps us on the edge of our seats thanks to the title character itself, which, as it turns out, is an alien hunter from another world. Shortly after their arrival in the jungle, Dutch and his team get an idea of what they’re up against when they find some human remains hanging from a tree, skinned from head to toe. Needless to say, it isn’t a pretty sight, but even this doesn’t adequately prepare them for what’s to come. Equipped with a cloaking device that makes him virtually invisible, the Predator watches Dutch and the others from a distance, waiting for the right time to strike. Aside from a few brief glimpses, director John McTiernan keeps the Predator hidden through most of the movie. When we finally do see it, it’s unlike any alien we’ve ever seen before, an imposing physical specimen with a massive arsenal and one hell of a pissed-off look on its face!
Predator was followed by a couple of sequels (Predator 2 in 1990 and Predators in 2010), as well as a spin-off series consisting of two Alien vs, Predator films, yet none would match the raw intensity of the original. Packed with excitement and plenty of thrills, Predator ranks with The Terminator, Robocop, and Aliens as one of the best action / sci-fi movies of the 1980’s.