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Why is Predator one of the Greatest Movies in the History of the Human Race?  Well, there are a lot of reasons; so many in fact that I fucking lost count while trying to write this review.  I began watching this movie with my laptop on my lap and making notes, but about halfway through, I stopped typing and just enjoyed the movie.  Despite having already seen the film about 82 times previously, I got sucked into the movie and forgot all about the review.  We’ll call that reason # 1.

 

Predator is a perfect blend of action and horror.  The first half of the film plays like Commando (except that Arnold has a team with him) and the second half is like Alien as Arnold goes toe to toe with an extremely pissed off extraterrestrial.  The transition from one genre to the other is seamless and once the suspense ramps up, it never stops.

 

Predator is also a perfect pairing of actor and director.  Arnold Schwarzenegger has worked with some quality directors before (like James Cameron and John Milius) but Arnold’s machismo is tailor made for John McTiernan’s no-nonsense direction.  McTiernan stages the action sequences with panache and doesn’t do anything flashy.  Instead of calling attention to his style, he lets the action speak for itself.  He’s also one of the only directors I can think of who can film monster POV scenes and actually make them suspenseful.  Most importantly, McTiernan really understands how to showcase Arnold and allow him to shine.

 

And because of this, Arnold gives one of his all-time great performances.  He’s funny as usual and gets some his best lines of his career.  Among them:  “Stick around”, “Knock, knock”, “If it bleeds, we can kill it!”, “Get to the choppah!”, and “You’re one ugly motherfucker!”  Arnold also does a good job at playing things completely straight.  He gives an incredibly charismatic performance here and we easily buy him as the leader of a platoon, instead of the one-man army he’s used to playing.  (This is Arnold showing his range.) 

 

Arnold is great but it’s the ensemble casting that really makes the movie cook.  Predator features an impressive cast of badasses as you could possibly hope for.  Carl Weathers is good as Dillon and even gets a nice character moment near the end when he makes up for being an asshole for most the movie.  Then there’s Sonny Landham as the badass Indian, Billy.  Probably the best acting of the bunch comes from Bill Duke.  The scene where he grieves over his fallen comrade, Jesse “The Body” Ventura is especially moving.  And speaking of Ventura, he is fucking awesome in this movie.  I’d say it’s his best performance (barely edging out Captain Freedom from The Running Man) and he gets enough immortal lines that rival Arnold like “I ain’t got time to bleed” and “This stuff will make you a goddamned sexual Tyrannosaurus!”

 

And the gore is excellent.  Even though Predator is primarily an action movie, doesn’t mean it skimps on the red stuff.  We get exploding chests, exploding heads, severed arms, and several eviscerated bodies.  Alan Silvestri’s iconic score helps to punctuate every death and heightens the suspense.

 

The Predator himself is one of the coolest monsters in film history.  In addition to his badass weapons, the look of the Predator is fucking sweet.  His mask is cool, but when he takes it off, his mandible jaws are just as kick ass.  His knockdown drag out, mano y alieno battle with Arnold in the finale is a classic.  Kevin Peter Hall was the man behind the mask and he did an incredible job at creating a physically imposing presence.  He was also one of the few credible threats to face Arnold too.  Plus, the dude did more for dreadlocks than Bob Marley ever did.

 

I was going to thoroughly analyze Predator.  I was going to say how you can look at it as a metaphor for Vietnam.  Or see it as a refreshed update of The Most Dangerous Game.  Ultimately I said fuck that shit.  Predator doesn’t need to be analyzed.  It just needs to be enjoyed.  And that’s what makes it one of The Greatest Movies in the History of the Human Race.

 

Predator is on The Video Vacuum Top Ten Films of 1987 at the Number 3 spot, which places it just below Robocop and right above The Running Man.

 

<The Next Make-Up Horror Franchise Movie:  Alien vs. Predator>

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