Thursday, July 8, 2010

Review: Original "Predator" Still a Thrill

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 7 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Predator (1987)
Running time: 107 minutes (1 hour, 47 minutes)
DIRECTOR: John McTiernan
WRITERS: Jim Thomas and John Thomas
PRODUCERS: John Davis, Lawrence Gordon, and Joel Silver
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Donald McAlpine (director of photography)
EDITORS: Mark Helfrich and John F. Link
COMPOSER: Alan Silvestri

ACTION/SCI-FI with elements of horror and thriller

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves, R.G. Armstrong, Shane Black, and Kevin Peter Hall

A favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger film is the action movie classic, Predator. The film also introduced moviegoers to the talents of director John McTiernan, who would go on to make a name for himself in big action thrillers featuring lone, tough guy heroes like Die Hard and mega flops like Medicine Man and The Last Action Hero. As much as this is considered a Schwarzenegger film, McTiernan put his stamp on Predator by creating not only good action and fights scenes, but also by creating a palatable air of mystery and suspense to the proceedings. He only let the audience see just enough to keep their appetites going before he finally opens the film up for the big throw down between Arnold and The Predator.

The story is simple. A team of commandos led by Major Dutch (Schwarzenegger) go on a mission in the jungles of Central America for a government operative (Carl Weathers) with whom Dutch has a history. The story behind the mission turns out to be a sham. Worse, an extra-terrestrial warrior (Kevin Peter Hall) is hunting the team and picking them off one at a time.

Like Aliens, Predator would go on to influence a generation of comic book creators, game designers, and sci-fi novelists who became enamored with commando units and assorted military special operatives. Many super hero comics and violent video games feature Navy S.E.A.L.s, marine units, and heavily armed soldiers fighting monsters and sundry creatures from other worlds.

But don’t hold that against it. Predator is a good time – a great popcorn movie for the guys. It’s an effective thriller, a textbook example of a simple-minded, macho action movie that works so well. Heck, I’ve seen it countless times.

7 of 10

1988 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Effects, Visual Effects” (Joel Hynek, Robert M. Greenberg, Richard Greenberg, and Stan Winston)


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