Predator (John McTiernan, 1987, USA/Mexico)

Few films are as heralded in the 80s action canon as John McTiernan's Predator. It is a film that has entered the popular consciousness, with lines that are instantly recognizable ("Get to the choppa!"). The film catapulted Arnie into super-stardom. This is possibly the pinnacle of his true "action star" status before he began taking on more comedic roles. The film tells the story of a group of elite paramilitary soldiers who are sent into the Central American jungle to rescue hostages. Little do they know that they are going to become prey for the Predator - an alien warrior with advanced weaponry.

Shot in Mexico, Predator had a notoriously grueling shoot. You can feel the sweat and grime on the screen, and this adds to the sense of grit and intensity of the production. McTiernan as a director was at his peak here, and the film moves at a ripping pace - there is hardly a dull moment here. McTiernan captures the sense of claustrophobia and the sense of the predator stalking its prey. The other unsung hero of the production is Stan Winston, whose creature effects on the Predator (Kevin Peter Hall) have gone down in history as one of the most iconic alongside the Alien from the Alien franchise.

Arnie brings a level of intensity to the performance, and his adversary (played in costume by Kevin Peter Hall) also deserves accolades. Predator was a huge commercial success and spawned a long-running franchise, with new entries in the franchise as recent as Prey (2022). Predator is a solid entry into the 80s action canon - the kind of film that is no longer made in Hollywood. Noteworthy for its blend of action and sci-fi/horror, the film has stood the test of time, becoming a staple in its genre.




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