PREDATOR (1987) – Delivering Cinematic Steroids for Over 30yrs

Well a big Salty hello to you in your bubble at home during this strange time. Personally, I’m up to my sixth week of working from home and I’m going a bit bonkers. Here at Salty, we’re firm believers in a good rewatch. So we’re bringing you throwback reviews of some of our all time faves. You know the feeling – there’s a list of films you haven’t seen yet, a larger list of films you’ve been recommended, but you just can’t resist the comfort of watching something you’ve seen ten thousand times already.. Being that I lack one of those Y chromosome’s I’ve heard so much about – and hence have less testosterone than the rest of The Kernels, I’m not exactly the target audience. So I wasn’t too fussed by PREDATOR – but I know that dudebro’s worldwide absolutely gush over this film. So it’s definitely a worthy addition to The Vaulty Popcorn series.

PREDATOR is rated M, runs for a tight 105mins and is available for home entertainment on streaming services to rent or buy and on DVD/Blu Ray. It’s released from our friends at 20th Century Studios

What the hell are you

BY ELIE ELKORR

SYNOPSIS:

A team of ‘roided-up commandos on an extraction mission in Central America find themselves being hunted by a merciless extra-terrestrial warrior.

Pew Pew Pew

80’s FINEST:

If you haven’t seen PREDATOR by now, stop whatever you are doing (which is probably nothing too important during this isolation period) and press Play. It’s a masterpiece in filmmaking. PREDATOR is the definition of pure 80’s testosterone, macho man, all guns blazing, pumping iron, vein-popping, and triple bicep action. Alan Silvestri’s (AVENGERS: ENDGAME, FORREST GUMP) pulsating score gets PREDATOR off to an explosive start.

From there on, it is a culmination of iconic one-liners and hail Mary spraying of automatic rifles that ultimately unfolds into a visceral and murderously suspenseful alien thriller. For those showcasing PREDATOR for the first time to a fellow companion, it is strongly encouraged that you skip the opening title crawl. The complete tonal shift and genre flip will be a surprise to all first-time viewers, and of course, there’s nothing better than subverting expectations. Isn’t that right Disney? (Editor’s note: I’ll slice up some cheese to enjoy with that whine)

A TRUCKLOAD OF TESTOSTERONE:

John McTiernan (DIE HARD, LAST ACTION HERO) expertly uses location to PREDATOR’s advantage. Panning tracking shots along with ominous sounds immerses viewers into the claustrophobic environment of the jungle. The adrenaline is always pumping thanks to McTiernan’s direction. Each suspenseful scene within PREDATOR branches off into another heart-pumping sequence of awesomeness. Never once is there a boring moment within the film. The pacing is electric, and you are constantly on the edge of your seat as these commando juggernauts are slowly picked off by this unknown and ominous creature.

Our hyper-masculine team of Arnold Schwarzenegger (THE 6TH DAY, ERASER), Jessie Ventura (BATMAN AND ROBIN, DEMOLITION MAN), Carl Weathers (HAPPY GILMORE, ROCKY), Bill Duke (COMMANDO, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND) and Shane Black (THE NICE GUYS, IRON MAN 3) all convey the perfect macho man performance. Schwarzenegger delivers one of his best performances in Predator. Charismatic and total badass when need be, whilst also in complete fear of the incoming threat that is the Predator. Big old Arnie is now the hunted when pitted against the 7ft tall extra-terrestrial warrior that is the Yautja.

The Handshake That Makes Men Pregnant

DILLON! YOU SON OF BITCH! **INSERT NUCLEAR EXPLOSION**:

In PREDATOR, an arm wrestle in mid-air is how you settle an argument of brute strength. Pure 80’s cheese that only works in an 80’s film. Just so good! The memorable and infamous one-liners in PREDATOR are enough to cement this film as an instant classic. From Arnie’s improvised “stick around” to Ventura’s “I ain’t got time to bleed,” there is no doubting that PREDATOR will turn you into a goddamn sexual tyrannosaurus (Editor’s Note: Turn you into a whatnow?).

There are plenty more including Schwarzenegger’s favourite line in his acting career thus far – but we’ll keep that one as a surprise. These are just a taste of what is to come when viewing PREDATOR as a first-timer. There is even one scene where our team of action heroes commit a war crime against the UN by mowing down an entire rain forest with the entire ammunition stock of the US Army. Deforestation and action entertainment at its core.

The Jungle Look

PREDATOR TRIVIA:

There wouldn’t be a PREDATOR review without discussing one of the best creature designs in film history. Thank you, Stan Winston (JURASSIC PARK, ALIENS) , and James Cameron (AVATAR, TITANIC). Yes, it was James Cameron’s idea to give the ultimate alien warrior its iconic facial mandibles. Rest of the credit goes to Stan Winston and the late Kevin Peter-Hall’s (HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS, WITHOUT WARNING) fantastic performance as the hunter.

The original design of the Predator looked like a cross between the Egyptian God Set and a humanoid cockroach. Jean-Claude Van Damme (DOUBLE IMPACT, BLOODSPORT) was originally cast to play the Predator, the idea being that his martial arts expertise would make the alien an agile hunter. Van Damme had his reservations, constantly complaining about the lack of movement and airflow within the suit, and the fact that he would not appear on camera without the suit. The 5’9” actor was eventually replaced with the 7’2” figure of Kevin Peter Hall.

After coughing up blood due to his role in King Kong, voice actor Peter Cullen (the voice of Optimus Prime in the TRANSFORMERS series) took on the role of creating the crackling and tingly noise after 20th Century Fox revealed a picture of the unmasked creature. The studio hired a personal body-guard for Sonny Landham as Billy (LOCK UP, THE WARRIORS). The body-guard was to protect others on set from Lanham himself, as the actor was notoriously known for being aggressive. The original concept of PREDATOR originated from a joke. Screenwriters Jim and John Thomas had joked about the only person Sly Stallone had yet to fight was E.T.

One Ugly MotherF***r

THE DEMON WHO MAKES TROPHIES OF MEN:

PREDATOR is an instant classic which still holds up to this day. One of the greatest action films of all time, it manages to morph itself into a suspenseful alien thriller. PREDATOR brings us one of if not the best alien creatures in film. Director John McTiernan serves up the works. Explosive action, iconic catchphrases, and more muscle than the Hulk can conjure. Schwarzenegger and his fellow compatriots form the ultimate macho squad to rival this extra-terrestrial beast. If you have not seen PREDATOR already COME ON. DO IT. DO IT NOW!

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YOUR CRITIC:

Elie Elkorr is a proud film critic and writer for Salty Popcorn. He is a movie fanatic and also runs his own Twitter page for movie reviews and news @TweetEReviews1. He likes calling out movies when they provide social commentary rather than focusing on actual story and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it. His views are his own. He is also a Law and Film student on the side and is the heir to being Black Widow’s Boyfriend. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.