Here we bring you episode seven of our weekly “Best of the Year” series. Today we are talking about 1987’s Predator starring the world’s greatest action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Director: John McTiernan
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves, Shane Black, Kevin Peter Hall
Writers: Jim Thomas, John Thomas
Budget: $18 000 000
Worldwide Gross: $94 605 000
An elite commando team gets called into South American jungles by the CIA to rescue a Cabinet Minister who is being held hostage by gorilla fighters after his helicopter crashed behind enemy lines. It’s not long after when Major “Dutch” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) finds out that they have been sent in under false pretenses. Things get worse as Dutch and his team are being hunted by a trophy hunting Alien.
Predator in my opinion gave a lot of inspiration to 2010’s The Expendables in which a group of impossibly masculine and musclebound men work together to take down a common threat. In fact I think a movie with a Predator hunting down the Expendables with Stallone and Schwarzenegger being the last men standing would be pretty rad. It could be a cool way to kill off some of the less interesting characters (Couture, Statham) cough, cough but I digress.
Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast as the Predator it reportedly got fired because he complained too much about the films original alien suit which was apparently a large insect until Schwarzenegger got Stan Winston involved. This was also former pro wrestler and future Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura’s first movie and he was a highlight for me. I wonder if any other movie could claim to have two Governors cast as main characters? Shane Black, Director of Iron Man 3 was cast for his writing skills in case changes needed to be made to the script in the middle of the Mexican Jungle.
The movie was well acted, especially by Bill Duke adding his whispering which gave a sense of seriousness to his character. After watching the first four Rocky movies it was nice seeing Carl Weathers who was great as always and had a cool interaction with Schwarzenegger early in the movie but unfortunately that was really it. All they did was establish a little bit of history between the two but didn’t delve into it any further which was a missed opportunity to have these over the top characters really play off of each other.
There was some cool special effects in the movie, in particular the way they made the Predator turn invisible was outstanding at the time, he did fall very slowly however, somehow defying our planet’s gravity. The use of green glow stick juice as alien blood was a good choice, it made it feel completely not from this world.
With all of the gunfire and explosions in the movie my favourite part is when Schwarzenegger goes all primitive on the Predator, where in the third act he prepared pit falls and booby traps that would make an Ewok jealous. I think it would have been more of an impact had Schwarzenegger killed the alien with his bare hands as I found it’s death to be pretty anticlimactic but what do I know really? They could have turned this movie into a classic Arnold action flick and have him spitting out one liners and flexing people to death but very much like 1984’s The Terminator the director utilized Schwarzenegger’s strengths and kept this as realistic as possible.
Isn’t tonight a great night to watch Predator? 1987 was a great year for movies as it was hard to pick just one. The Running Man, RoboCop and Planes, Trains & Automobiles all would have been great choices as well. Thanks to mentalfloss.com for fun facts about the movie and imdb.com for more specific information about every movie!