I’ve seen Freddy, Jason, Michael, and Alien…all that’s really missing from the leaders of horror is Predator. So first of all, why haven’t I ever watched it? Probably the same reason I’ve never seen Rambo (yes, you heard that right). You got your Arnie and Sly and their jungle wars…neither looked interesting to me growing up, and they still don’t look interesting to me now. The only thing that has changed is…well, I’ve seen every Alien movie other than the AVP series. So it wouldn’t be right to cut those out, so here we go.
Predator is a film about a number of commandoes on a mission to save some hostages deep in the jungle. While there, they run into some kind of other-worldly creature that is hunting them down like prey. It’s invisible and it’s practically invulnerable…they have a serious problem on their hands. Arnold Schwarzenegger must discover a way to defeat the creature before it kills them all.
This movie was honestly better than I imagined it would be. On paper, it’s really quite incredible, on screen…it could use some help. It’s 1987, so the visuals are downright laughable at times. The creatures, while invisible, are so fake-looking. I’m sure 30 years ago it was revolutionary, but not so much now. However, the idea of the creature is perfect. Even the look of the thing (when visible) isn’t bad at all. I mean, I saw Jeepers Creepers, a 2001 movie where the creature looked cheaper than this, so saying this suit didn’t look bad is a big compliment. Then you have Schwarzenegger and thank god for him. Not only does this movie need a lead like him to carry the movie, but they needed a big man to defeat a big alien creature – and they sure got it.
This was very much like a man vs. nature film. All odds are against the team here. Against an enemy that is not only too strong for them, but also invisible. At that point, all you’re talking about is mere survival…something you don’t even know how to achieve. So this presents a good amount of suspense that keeps you wondering. I wouldn’t call it horror, though. In the same way, I wouldn’t call Alien horror. This is sci-fi, action, and a thriller. That’s it. The acting meets its basic requirements, but nothing deeper because these characters are mostly flat military men. You’re only invested because you know the reputation of Arnold Schwarzenegger. If he were portrayed by anyone else, you most likely wouldn’t care as much about the movie as you do.
So here’s how it is. Predator is a movie that you should check out. I don’t think it’s necessarily as good as Alien, but it presents a very capable and effective villain that can be utilized a variety of different ways in different films. This was a good introduction for the villain, and a fine addition to Schwarzenegger’s work. In general, this movie isn’t too shabby.