Predator (1987)

A testosterone and machismo guerrilla warfare ’80’s reversal of mankind’s crown atop the predator food-chain – with machine guns, apt jungle hunt aesthetics, muscles, & Arnold-led sci-fi/horror/action, but directionless plot & bizarre soundtrack mismatching. 7.6/10.

Plot Synopsis: Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a soldier of fortune, is hired by the U.S. government to secretly rescue a group of politicians trapped in Guatemala. But when Dutch and his team, which includes weapons expert Blain (Jesse Ventura) and CIA agent George (Carl Weathers), land in Central America, something is gravely wrong. After finding a string of dead bodies, the crew discovers they are being hunted by a brutal creature with superhuman strength and the ability to disappear into its surroundings.

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

Official CLC Review

One Of The Best Movie Creatures

A Challenge To Our Throne Atop The Evolutionary & Predator Food-Chain Taking Cues From The Aliens They’d Soon Fight

Photograph Courtesy Of: 20th Century Fox

After 1985, a new age of science-fiction followed the release of the legendary ‘Aliens.’ Blending sci-fi/horror just like its predecessor while adding a blockbuster action flair that sold like hotcakes across worldwide audiences, the door was open for other creature-films to challenge the throne. In comes a Schwarzenegger fresh off the blockbuster masterpiece of Terminator elevating him to become one of the biggest actors worldwide (both physically and symbolically), determination to follow the cues of the Xenomorphic franchise it would eventually be recognized and collaborated with, and fresh motif taking us bringing the action to Earth instead of beyond the stars – to the jungles and hunts of our primordial ancestors, and the Predator franchise was born. Years later, the franchise is one of the top and most famous creature-based ones – owing major debt to lore-establishment here: A testosterone and machismo guerrilla warfare ’80’s reversal of mankind’s crown on top of the predator food-chain – with machine guns, apt jungle aesthetics, muscles, the ultimate hunt, & Arnold-led sci-fi/horror/action, but directionless plot & bizarre mismatched soundtrack.

The Cast & Performances

A Collection Of The Most Macho Men Available, Led By A Phenomenal ’80’s Lead By Terminator-Veteran Tough Guy: Arnold

Photograph Courtesy Of: 20th Century Fox

Probably most memorable about Predator is its one-of-a-kind cast, at least for the time. A collection of the most macho and muscliest men available on the market, the physique of the film’s lineup is enough to evoke bodybuilding competitions. The movie set the benchmark for modern manliness-blockbusters driving much of the modern cinematic landscape today by bringing in beefcake meatheads oozing masculinity to impress the guys (and perhaps let them live through them) and make the female audience members’ hearts swoon. Don’t get the film wrong though, they didn’t just pick up random tough guys off the street – the performances of Predator are shockingly-solid. From Shane Black’s joke-telling Hawkins to Carl Weathers’ backstabbing Dillon to Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura’s carboloaded Blain to Elpidia Carrillo’s luscious latin female-bombshell Anna to Bill Duke’s Shaq-esque Mac, there is no ostensible weak link in the oil-slicked cast of benchpress-gods. That’s, of course, leading up to the film’s major performance: Arnold Shwarzenegger’s lead as Mjr. Dutch Schaefer is one of his best roles of his skyrocketing career and the perfect ’80’s muscleman tough guy (with some classic ’80’s charmingly-cheesy blockbuster lines too like ‘Knock Knock’ before entering and shooting) for this jungle-hunt – one that tests his critical thinking & survival skills as much as his physical prowess to combat the ultimate Predator.

Pure Machismo & Testosterone

Perhaps The Manliest Film Of All-Time, There Is A Sensory Overload – Machine Guns, Jungles, Hunters.. & Lots Of Muscles

Photograph Courtesy Of: 20th Century Fox

Predator might just be the Manliest Film Of All-Time. Beyond the muscle pedigree of its actors and castmates, the film wears machismo and testosterone on its sleeve in every conceivable aspect. From the first frames of cigar smoke in jungle backrooms where big jeeps traverse the warzone and massive biceps arm-wrestle on impossibly-big scales, there is a sensory overload of masculinity on display. This is further expositioned by machine guns, choppers, locker-room talk, guerrilla warfare, action sequences, facepaint, camouflage, and military for an overwhelming canvas of cinematic manhood far above any other film I’ve witnessed to-date: why so many men love this movie, clear-to-see. Praisably, there is not even that much gore or blood outside of the one trigger-happy sequence, utilizing storytelling metrics and jungle atmospherics to evoke a primal hunt feel like the ones our ancestors faced in ancient times daily in conjuncture with the film’s perfect Mexico rainforest backdrop. The film is not just all gunsmoke and brawn though, as many blockbusters copying its cues for generations to come would fall prey to: Predator packs a good amount of critical thinking, survival skills, and strategy beneath all the rotating barrels and explosions – ones that become especially apparent when the hunters realize they’ve become hunted by a creature watching them from the treetops throughout the film’s events.

There’s Something In The Trees

A Black Ops Mission Goes Awry When The Crew Realizes They’ve Gone From Hunters To Hunted – By The Top Movie Sportsman

Photograph Courtesy Of: 20th Century Fox

The film shifts gears completely once the crew realizes there’s something else there with them in the jungle canopies – picking them off one-by-one in a terrorized hunt for survival in sharp juxtaposition to the military incursion/strategem plot before it. The Predator is a fantastic movie creature – with thermal heat-vision, extraterrestrial technology, voice-mimicking, luminescent green blood, next-level tactical awareness, triple red beam scopes, arsenal of plasma/knife-based new age-weaponry, dreadlocks, beetle-like mandibles, and invisibility camouflage stealth mode; he’s the ultimate on-screen predator, hunting the top of the food-chain in us and making us feel primal evolutionary fears we’ve long since forgotten in our cushy suburban homes and inflicted on other animals for sport he dichotomously reverses onto us. The hunter looks fantastic thanks to Stan Winston’s design and VFX by R/Greenberg bringing the creature to life gloriously for the ’80’s, and even his difficult technology like reflection stealth panels is made to look realistic by old-fashioned craftsmanship and work ethic by-frame. For all the trophies and sadistic kill sequences across the Central American jungle The Predator colonizes and territorializes though, he still has a code that humanizes and makes him not just another creature – he doesn’t kill women, children, or the unarmed and only goes after men who can fight back, even removing his weaponry to go mano-e-mano out of respect for a Shwarzenegger who pushes him to his limits and even wins against the ultimate predator and alien tech in the finale by leveraging classic survival instincts/skills and wat helped us conquer the rest of the natural world: critical thinking. The film posits that man is still king of this jungle – and backs it up.

Flaws

One Of The Worst Soundtracks Ever Made Feeling Erratic, Chaotic, & Mismatched Throughout; Epic Failure By Alan Silvestri

Photograph Courtesy Of: 20th Century Fox

Flaws in Predator are severely centered around its score: the soundtrack might be one of the worst in blockbuster history. Alan Silvestri is generally a pretty decent (if not mediocre) composer when it comes to cinematic scores; Predator, though, is the worst work of his career and a disgrace to what otherwise would’ve been even more of a classic action movie blockbuster. For a film so clearly thematized as the ultimate masculinity and hunt film – the score might be one of the easiest ever possible to score: just lean heavy on the war drums, militant marches, booming trumpets, and tribal bass hits in juxtaposition to the apt jungle aesthetics in cinematography/visuals to reverberate the film’s feel sonically. Silvestri went.. a different way – with weird scats, eclectic horns, and twinkling xylophonics that feel almost like a comedy score than one for this mean and machismo-fueled of a blockbuster. I don’t know whether to laugh or be scared of The Predator often throughout by the chaotic, overly-theatrical auricular cues all-over-the-place throughout; the big finale even makes its star Arnold, the character it spends all film and especially the trap-set sequence building up as the pinnacle of manliness, sound like a little kid crying as he runs from the predator.

Flaws

A Lowbrow, Directionless B-/Establishment Plot That Accomplishes Nothing But Gets Them In The Jungle.. & Blows Up Minorities

Photograph Courtesy Of: 20th Century Fox

Not exactly what you want to hear in a film like this, the film’s soundtrack is a betrayal of everything else and is a huge flaw in the enjoyment of the movie on any serious level. Beyond the soundscape, the plot actually makes no sense. The entire B-plot of the military incursion is completely pointless and lowbrow, directionless thrills whose only achievement in 30 minutes is to bring the team into the jungle of the Predator and blow up some people of color in bizarre slow-mo hyperviolent & self-congratulatory ways. This easily could’ve been expositioned in 3 minutes-or-less (without all the anti-immigrant grandstanding entirely) by dropping them into the jungle on some sort of exotic exposition to hunt animals, only to be hunted themselves by a creature like the Predator: a far-better plot set-up I’ll give free of charge (and, apparently, was used for one of the sequels now looking back – a smart move) to further play on the film’s best predatorial and reversal/revenge themes.

Conclusion

A Blockbuster Hunt For The Ages

A Classic ’80’s Blockbuster That Defined A Machoism Benchmark & Took Sci-Fi/Horror/Action Back To Our Primal Roots

Photograph Courtesy Of: 20th Century Fox

Overall, Predator is a blockbuster hunt for the ages. A classic ’80’s masculine action movie that set a new benchmark for machoism at the movies that would reverberate through decades of big blockbusters to come, Predator’s Schwarzenegger-led cast is one of its best features. It, of course, pales in comparison to the brilliance of the jungle aesthetic and creature itself that hunts the top of the food chain in us and evokes a primal fear of evolutionary hardships we haven’t since felt in centuries in our nice, cushy suburban homes. Although the score by Silvestri is a disgrace and one of the worst blockbuster scores ever made feeling almost comedic or irreverent to the machoist thrills and high-stakes of its hyper-violent film and the entire B-plot is pointless, lowbrow entertainment with no effect on the story or screenplay, Predator is absolutely a must-watch to understand the blockbuster condition, and one that will elevate your testosterone-levels even secondhand. A testosterone and machismo guerrilla warfare ’80’s reversal of mankind’s crown on top of the predator food-chain – with machine guns, apt jungle aesthetics, muscles, the ultimate hunt, & Arnold-led sci-fi/horror/action, but directionless plot & bizarre mismatched score.

Official CLC Score: 7.6/10