All Time Top Ten review: Predator

I haven’t written a review for my ‘All-time Top Ten’ for a while. If you haven’t visited my site before then you may not know that it’s my on-going project to review, at length and in detail, my most loved films.

But with this one it may not take so long, because the one thing about Predator is, there isn’t a fantastically meaningful amount that can be said other than, it is probably the one film I have seen the most and is one of the greatest action films ever made.

Predator has always sat firmly in the list in my head for a long time, long before blogging and reviewing became the hobby it is now. Sentimentality and reminiscent adolescent love of action films haven’t diminished its appeal since its 1988 UK release.

Admittedly not the typical masterpiece of film-making that many of us have in our lists. I know it probably shouldn’t belong in anyone’s all-time top ten, but I still can’t shake its pure entertainment value, completely menacing ET and Arnie showcasing what he does best.

The story for Predator is simple; Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ‘Dutch’ leads a handful of mercenaries on a rescue mission into hostile territory to find themselves prey to an unknown, unseen hunter.

Indeed a simple premise, but when coming to review Predator a little deeper, it not only represents the pinnacle of action movies but also doubles as a brilliant horror movie, with the employment of the greatest horror device – isolation, in its deep Central American jungle setting. In the rainforest no one can here you scream.

While also tapping sci-fi brilliantly with the arrival and progressive reveal of the other world predator, a new beast is unveiled to rival the Xenomorph of Alien, just as iconic and more purposeful in its hunt.

The Predator’s pre-reveal heat signature perspective, chilling roars and voice mimicking create even more mysterious terror and an altogether more calculating sporting creature, that isn’t just on a savage rampage.

It is the pacing and development of the unveiling of the Predator that compounds the already claustrophobic jungle tension; completely unknown, seemingly unyielding and killing at will, until the even greater terror and realisation of its true origins; another quintessential horror device.

Fantastic make up and creature design realises writer’s Jim and John Thomas’ creation with a truly iconic Extra-terrestrial beast, that when fully revealed without it’s supreme alien tech, is truly formidable and is a very ugly MF!

Arnie is at the height of his physical powers, a truly awesome show. The alpha male in a hard-nosed bunch, but it’s when the camouflaged Alien starts taking out our seemingly indestructible jungle jocks that the true horror sets in. Even man’s best specimens are powerless.

And even the humour delivered by some of the most quotable one liner’s ever, doesn’t weigh down on the fear factor and action momentum; It’s loaded with ballsy dialogue that could be reeled  off verbatim, but I won’t…

…Oh go on then – “I ain’t got time to bleed” Jesse ‘the body’ Ventura providing my favourite.

Directed by John McTiernan, the man responsible for many brilliant action movies and most remembered for his other classic, Die Hard, delivers what is a blueprint for action, booming jungle set pieces dovetailing with the testosterone fuelled camaraderie of Arnie’s bad bunch.

It may not be perfect and it may be ‘Aliens in the Jungle’ but with an accomplished action director bringing his A-Game and a powerhouse lead battling one of cinema’s most iconic alien enemies, Predator is a brilliantly executed action, sci-fi horror that achieves a cult status all its own.

It’s not just another dumb 80’s action blowout, Predator is now firmly regarding as a sci-fi action classic that several sequels and spin offs have got nowhere near!

Predator is one of those movies that all logic of filmmaking analysis dictates to have a less remarkable evaluation, but as a highly personal choice, I love it. 

For more of my all time top ten reviews see the links below:

Heat (1995)

The Dark Knight (2008)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford (2008)

11 responses to “All Time Top Ten review: Predator

  1. Nice Review!
    Has A Totally Personalized Touch That Says A Lot.
    Someone Called Me A “Fan’s Fan” And I Think The Same Can Be Said About You, Fo SHO.
    And THAT Is GREAT!!!
    Keep’em Comin’!!!

  2. Guilty pleasure this is NOT. This is a legitimately good piece of filmmaking and I think a lot of people seem “ashamed” to admit it’s so good maybe because of the subject matter (even these days, sci-fi gets treated pretty poorly sometimes), the cast, or the fact that Arnie’s in it. Action movies are not just about people running around and shooting things. Action is a cornerstone of film; every film involves some sort of action.

    McTiernan, one of the masters of the genre, flawlessly captures the events, with camerawork, lighting, movement, etc. It is extremely efficient and not one shot is wasted, not one shot seems thrown in for the hell of it, and not one shot is boring (which is the most important part). The screenplay, coupled with McTiernan’s direction, and the rest of the creative team, manage to ratchet up the tension gradually, instead of just all of a sudden throwing an alien into the mix. Signs of bodies and struggle when they first arrive in the jungle have us thinking it was the guerrillas, but it starts becoming more and more apparent that they’re not alone.

    As for the Predator, itself. Great creature. I still think the xenomorph is the greatest film monster ever, but Predator would come close. It’s almost human, really. Cold, calculating, very proud and, apparently, one sore fucking loser.

    Aside from all that… It’s the motherfucking PREDATOR. One of the most macho casts ever assembled for an action film with endless amounts of quotable lines, Arnie in his film prime, Bill Duke, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, and tons of adrenaline. Anyone who says this is a bad film has no idea what the hell they’re talking about, and that’s a fact.

    • Thanks TheBruce. I am certainly not ashamed of LOVING predator. everything you say about it is spot on, guilty pleasure is more a term than anything else. anyone who doesnt like it is wrong also in my view. I love it and i think my final score reflects its brilliance. Thanks for your comment and i’m glad you love it too.

      • If anyone doesn’t love PREDATOR, I don’t think I want to know them. How sad their lives must be. Heh.

        We all have guilty pleasures. JUDGE DREDD would be an example of mine. So bad it’s good. I mean, I know it’s horrible in just about every sense, but I can’t help but enjoy the hell out of it. Probably for the WRONG reasons. It’s hilarious, ludicrous, ridiculous, cliched and stupid, and not Judge Dredd.

      • Same. I love the action films from the 1980s and most of the 1990s. How can you not? Sure, many of them are cliched and unoriginal, but they’re endlessly entertaining. Arnie, Stallone, Norris, Snipes… The list goes on… I think Van Damme has to be the most consistent in his badness (though he HAS proven he can act, with films of his later period [JCVD] showcasing this). The only Van Damme film I really hate is UNIVERSAL SOLDER: THE RETURN. The rest is just awesome.

  3. Ok, any site that gives this much love to Predator automatically rules! I freaking love this movie. In fact, I don’t know if I watched any movie more (aside from the original Star Wars trilogy) than Predator. LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!

    • the same right here, a little story…I had a VHS pirate copy it was amazing, watched it more than any movie, absolutely certain of it, that tape got battered! for a whole summer I watched it, of all the movies I have watched it never gets tired, IMMENSE!

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