Alien Vs Predator Retrospective: Predator (1987)

If there is one word that describes Predator, its efficient.


It’s knows what it is, what to needs to do, and does so with so much gusto and confidence that it’s hard not to at the very least admire it. I’m going to sound like a broken record, but once again the sucess of Predator really comes down to its direction. Released a year prior to his now ionic Die Hard, John McTiernan expertly crafts suspenseful and exciting set-pieces that put you right into the action. There is so much adrenaline once the first shot been fired to the point it leaps out of the screen and infects the viewer.


Even if the characters aren’t the deepest out there, they are wonderfully entertaining to watch thanks to the actors charismatic performances and the excellent chemistry between them. They look like they were having so much fun delivering their lines and bouncing off each other. Of course, the actor who brings it all together is Arnold Schwarzenegger in all of his Schwarzenegger glory. Not only does he make Dutch a likable lead with a respectable moral code, he totally sells the action and the intensity required.

In regards to other technical aspects, John F. Link and Mark Helfrich editing stood out to me, but in a good way. Every scene was at the right length to get the best out of it without being too short or long, and flow smoothly between each other. The cinematography by Donald McAlpine is very good. Making the audience feel lost in a vast rain-forest and has some stunning shots to boot. I love Alan Silvestri musical score. It’s the very definition of heart-bumping, and McTiernan makes the best use of it.


Just like with Alien, the main titular threat in Predator is also wonderfully terrifying. It got a great design and some really effective buildup. Something I appreciated was that the film revels just enough you understand enough, but not too much. It an alien creature from who knows where who came to Planet Earth to hunt and collect trophies from what it deems as worthy. Plain and simple. Kevin Peter Hall physical performance sells the creature as a threat not only through its natural strengthen, but with how intelligent it is as well.

The only real complaint I have is that the film is a little slow in the beginning. This is more of a nitpick since it needed to established context that important to events that take place later in the film, but it worth mentioning. Aside from that, Predator is a thrill ride. Strong direction, fun characters, and a wonderful antagonist, this is a must-see for those craving some great action science-fiction.


Once more, bring on the sequels!

Grade: A


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