Predator (USA, 1987)

MPW-46611Directed by: John McTiernan. For many years, as I became aware of how much I missed by not getting into Schwarzenegger during my late 80’s to mid-90’s childhood, I was constantly reminded of all the towering cultural landmarks of meatheaded bro-itude forged by Arnie’s muscles, and no matter how many movies I ticked off my list, this one was always the one people talked about. So finally, I can chalk this one up along with Terminator 1 and 2, Total Recall, The Running Man, True Lies, and the corny funny stuff like Batman & Robin, Kindergarten Cop, Jingle All the Way, Junior, and Twins. What a hilarious and entertaining and bizarre filmography. And yet, of all of them, I have to say that this wasn’t one of my favourites. As an action movie, this falls much closer to the brain-dead dialogue and military fetishism of The Expendables than the bizarre paranoia and false reality of Total Recall. This is pretty straightforward hunter-becomes-hunted story, a match of wits and ingenuity that’s actually not terribly far away from Home Alone when you think about it. The most interesting thing about it is perhaps the possibility for a Vietnam allegory, where all these tough militaristic guys go in the jungle and their supremacy is utterly devastated by forces far beyond their control. The weird dreadlock-wearing alien guy is pretty awesome and scary, so that’s good. Also, this opening scene with Carl Weathers and the porno-closeup of the biceps is pretty amazing. But in between all of the awesome stuff, there’s an awful lot of guns shooting, meathead dialogue, and a pretty fucked up depiction of the stock “American Indian” character. Maybe my disappointment comes in the fact that this is utterly a “Schwarzenegger” film, one of the films that set up Arnie’s image as Hollywood’s premier tough-guy, the John Wayne of the MTV generation, whereas I’m much more interested in taking that as read, and then watching as Arnie spends the next few decades playing with that image, and occasionally destroying it.

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One response to “Predator (USA, 1987)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2016 | Offhand Reviews·

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