Arnold defies heat sensors.
"Nothing like it has ever been on earth before."

Hello everyone, it's time for a fresh round of Tagline, this time with a look into the fabled days of 1987, when people hadn't even imagined a movie as stupid as The Happening. Today I'm going to talk about the thrill of hunting men in the jungle for sport, and the pleasure one can derive from skinning people alive and hanging them from trees. That's right, today I will be talking about Predator! Released in 1987, Predator follows a team of elite commandos as they conduct a dangerous mission into the depths of the Central American jungle, ostensibly on a search and rescue mission. After completing their objectives, this team of heavy hitters find themselves being stalked by an alien warrior, who is seemingly hunting them for sport. By seemingly I mean he is 100% hunting them for sport, because that is his thing, it's apparently the thing his whole RACE does to pass the time. Why a space faring species would feel compelled to do that I couldn't guess, but maybe they just have a lot of spare time on their hands and decided that murder was a valid outlet for their ennui WHO KNOWS. Despite the considerable prowess of the commandos, they are swiftly killed by this alien hunter, who among other advantages possesses active camouflage that makes him more or less completely invisible. As you might imagine, this makes it challenging to hit him with something like a gun. Or to even be aiming in the right direction. 

Here they are. The whole badass crew.
The commandos attempt to make up for this by firing enough bullets to level whole sections of the jungle. I am not fucking kidding, These guys are like localized disasters, and one of them (Jesse Ventura's character) has a man-portable gatling cannon (which if any of you are wondering is completely fucking impossible). This sort of show of explosive bulletstorming is indicative of the era the movie was made in, and says a lot about the tone of the film as well. This was not a time where movies cared about the fact that a man portable gatling gun would, for instance, weigh around 90 lbs with its ammunition and power source, or that the recoil generated by it would most likely cause the firer to spin around uncontrollably spraying bullets in all directions. All that mattered was ACTION BABY. Because of this Predator is without a doubt an action movie, but at the same time it is more than that. What makes Predator an awesome movie, and an interesting one, is not the insurgents who are butchered at the outset, but the way that the movie sets itself up. While the title and the opening sequence might tip the movie-maker's hand, it could be easy to forget you are watching a sci-fi movie at first. The movie looks and behaves initially like so many other 80s action movies, and then about half-way through it takes a sudden right turn into science fiction and even a little horror I would say (if you do not find ritualistically skinned bodies horrific, I am not comfortable around you anymore).

No rifle should go without a grenade launcher.
A lot of critics at the time greeted the movie with negative reviews, citing a weak plot, but I think they maybe missed the point. No one is meant to give a shit about why the commandos are going into the damned jungle. That is not remotely important to the movie. The opening act of the film is meant to show us one thing: that these guys are not to be fucked with. As the audience we watch a team of seven guys massacre what amounts to a small army worth of adversaries, as if they were going out for lunch. This helps to underline just how seriously scary and tough the Predator is when it finally starts killing them. We see giants like Jesse "the body" Ventura get blown to smoking ruin by a single attack, and in the film's climax watch as Arnold Fucking Schwarzenegger gets handily beaten into submission by a WOUNDED Predator. The grisly way the Predator kills and skins his victims is meant to highlight both his intelligence (as he takes trophies of his kills) and also of the detached, alien way that he views his quarry. The Governator himself remarked that he liked how Predator was an original idea, and not just a rip-off of some other movie, and that's what I like about it too. Is it the best scripted, most realistic film ever produced? God no, it's full of improbable action movie shit. What it is however is an original premise, and an interesting one, that presents a cool alien villain, fighting against an established action superstar.

What a handsome gentleman...
There was actually almost TWO action superstars involved in this movie, as Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast as the Predator. For a variety of reasons, including his size and his dislike of not actually being seen on camera (because he would obviously be in his predator suit) Also purportedly Van Damme complained a lot about how hot and clunky the suit was. Anyway, big deal, who cares, instead it was the guy who played Harry of and the Henderson's fame (so as you can imagine, predators are pretty fucking big dudes) and he was a weird creepy ass alien guy, and not a time cop. Despite a lack of Van Damme, we still had a cast that included two actors who would later be governors (Schwarzenegger and Ventura) and also Apollo Creed from Rocky (Carl Weathers, you probably know him as Chubbs from Happy Gilmore because you've never seen Rocky you jerk... I'm sorry I lashed out and you didn't deserve it). No Danny Glover in this one though, you'll have to wait for the sequel.

Awww look they're gonna kiss!
Bottom line, if you haven't seen Predator, see Predator now, so that you can tell people "oh hey, I remember that time I watched Predator, that sure was a movie with an alien!" instead of "oh you mean the thing from my favorite movie Alien Vs. Predator?" One of these things will mark you for judgement in the eyes of all, and you have the ability now to avoid that fate. That's it for today though gang! Join me on Thursday for horrory haunted stuff.

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