"Definitely one of Arnie's best and a landmark action movie."

After starring as one of the most iconic and unstoppable villains ever in The Terminator, it was high time that Arnie had a worthy foe to fight against. And he got way more than he bargained for with the Predator.

Before his crowning achievement of Die Hard, John McTiernan assembled a group of seven muscle-bound commandos in the South American jungle and let them unleash hell on Latino, Russian and Alien ass with an awesome arsenal of macho weaponry. This is definitely a boys' movie. Both Alien and Aliens - hell, even Friday The 13th - had a thing about two females going head to head at the end. How are us guys supposed to get a kick out of endings like that?

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Arnie plays Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer, the leader of an elite Spec Ops force. His team is called to duty by General Phillips (R.G. Armstrong) and the very suspicious Dillon (Carl Weathers) to rescue a bunch of government officials, who have been shot down in enemy territory in Latin America.

As soon as they arrive in the jungle something is watching their every move from the trees. And they get the feeling that things just ain't right. The first rescue team is found disembowelled and skinned. Same goes for their chopper.

None of them trust Dillon. He's up to no good. There are no cabinet ministers being held hostage, just a bunch of his CIA pals being tortured by the Russians. In no less than five minutes, all seven of them completely obliterate a rebel guerrilla camp. The CIA hostages are dead.

Dutch is pissed off and feels mighty betrayed. Dillon lied to him and their mission is over as soon as it started. All they have to do is make a journey through one valley to the nearest rendezvous point and fly back home. Not so simple when a high-tech, seemingly invisible, 7'2'', extra-terrestrial Rastafarian hunter is picking them off one by one and keeping their skulls as trophies. This predator is obviously a fan of the 1932 movie, The Most Dangerous Game.

In the same way that he created nervous claustrophobia around the Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard, McTiernan floods the movie with an oppressive and twitchy atmosphere. Half of the film's ominous tone comes from Alan Silvestri's militaristic and primeval score, with pounding drums and lurking strings, indicating that the Predator's haunting presence is everywhere. He could strike from any corner at any moment. And he does.

Nothing Dutch and his men seem to do can thwart this enemy and in no time at all Dutch is the last one standing. He runs for his life with the Predator in hot pursuit.

The final act is no doubt the strongest and can even be viewed as a separate movie altogether. McTiernan ditches the lush, steamy jungle from the first two acts and completely turns it around into a strikingly gothic, baroque, supernatural landscape. There is a subtext of primitive brutality winning over highly advanced super-weapons. And there is enough testosterone between Dutch and the Predator to fill 100 tanker trucks. Women, totally, need not apply.

Definitely one of Arnie's best and a landmark action movie. No doubt. Outdone only by the sequel.

Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2002
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Arnold Schwarzenegger is stalked in South American jungle by alien killer.
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Director: John McTiernan

Writer: Jim Thomas, John Thomas

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

Year: 1987

Runtime: 108 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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