The Predator (1987)
Directed by John McTiernan
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers
I bought a while back a set that had three Predator movies, I have yet to see the third one, the one with Adrian Brody, but the first two I like a lot. These days the villain might have been CGI but back then it was a great costume and great production that made it what it was. I have nothing against CGI because some films require it and look amazing others things could be done without CGI but that another topic.
The first film is set in the jungle where a special unit is sent there on a rescue mission. Without their knowing they are being observed by the Hunter (Predator). They slowly discover that there is something besides a war in the jungle.
This version of the Predator for me relied on the element of surprise for suspense and it works. The audience knows of his presence but is not introduced quickly to the creature visually. For this, to work the film needed a good story to serve as a background to the Predator as he hunts them down. I think they achieved it with the story of the unit being sent there and the differences between the characters and the things they find. This was important because the true action with the Predator is almost at the end when he and Dutch face off. The film works as an action film, it entertains and to this day at least I still enjoy it. The film is filled with suspense and great action scenes.
Arnold was the man during those years and he did his job as always. He does his character well and works great with the action sequences. It has a good cast, they all have what could be said typical characters for these movies.
Predator 2 (1990)
Directed by Stephen Hopkins
Starring Danny Glover, Ruben Blades, Gary Busy, Marian Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton
I like the sequel and that it went another direction, it has its flaws but it ended being a cool film that I still enjoy seeing. The story is now based on Los Angeles and the cop’s war against drug lords. The first scene is a huge shootout between the drug lords and the police. The Predator watches and he attacks them. Lt. Mike and his group investigate as the murder scene seems to strange and not one that could have been done by their rivals.
For this film, they went with a more known cast and a more complex plot. Just like the first film, I think the challenge was finding a story that served as a background for the Predator as he hunts. In this time it is set in LA and they used the cops vs criminals background while adding the group of special agents who wanted to capture the Predator. I am not that demanding in terms of story with action films there is only so much they could come up with and in this film, the story worked and the action and fight scenes were good.
The only thing I don’t like about this film is the performances. They are all good actors but on this one either they were badly directed or just bad. They all seem over the top and overacted. Bill Paxton’s character is so annoying and I could not wait for him to get killed by the Predator. Danny Glover, an actor that I like a lot, felt so forced in all those angry scenes as his character was angry most of the time. But for these films, you don’t expect Oscar-worthy performances so even though the performances get annoying at times, the action makes up for it.
The Predator has been featured in other sequels and the Alien vs Predator films, but the ones I have seen I did not like, and the others did not capture my attention to see them. The first two films remain the ones that I still enjoy.