Okay so I am going to be reviewing the Alien and Predator franchise. Or at least the Predator films. Which I am starting off with because I like the Predators better.
So how many governors/political candidates can you stick in the middle of the jungle and watch them all slowly and methodically get hunted down, killed and made into trophies by an extraterrestrial hunter? Eh well this film might be the closest we ever get :) Anyway moving on.
The intro of this film sets things up in a rather simple manner but an effective one too. We first see an alien ship orbiting earth as it launches a separate pod down to the planet. Then we see an helicopter land and see the team that are about to go into the jungle and never come out again. It is an interesting contrast that we see both Dutch and the extraction team and the Predator craft landing as if to show both parties from their starting before they are about to enter each others worlds.
And then of course we are treated to the wonderfully done Predator theme. Its easily one of the best movie themes composed and does a great job of setting the atmosphere up.
So Dutch and his team are sent in for a rescue mission or "rescue mission" yea >_>...... rescue mission <_<.
Anyway we are introduced to Dutch's team on the helicopter ride. Who are an interesting bunch and are pretty memorable. They have their own unique characteristics but then all also do a decent job of being genuine military personnel. Everyone who has seen this film likely has their favourites from the team. My two are Mac and Blain.
The film spends a fair amount of time to let us get at least somewhat familiar with the team. And it does a good job of building up a fair amount of tension. Especially when things start looking a little shifty and when they find skinned bodies hanging upside down.... even hardened soldiers like them are a little freaked and spooked.
It is quickly established that this is not your standard run of the mill action film.
And especially when we are first shown the now iconic thermal vision, from the Predators perspective. It just manages to eclipse the entire outlook of the situation when we know that it is watching their every move. The thermal scenes are such a simple yet extremely effective way to allows us to gain the perspective of the hunter and how he views the interactions between Dutch and his team. It just adds a whole different insight to this film and of course to the character who the film is named after. It shows us that this creature is sentient and what his intentions are.
And whilst this film manages to be something deeper than just your average action film. It does of course have its fair share of action scenes. The first action scene is where Dutch and his team plan an ambush. This scene is very well done. It feels more real and gritty, it makes you feel like that the team are soldiers and this is what they do. As opposed to them being "heroes" or "the good guys". It helps paint a more neutral picture of them. And I guess helps us to view them more as the Predator would, as "killers of men" and " worthy prey" that kind of thing. During the fight they find a girl and decide to take her as a hostage.
Dutch also finds out about the entire thing being a set up and his old chum Dillon was the one who "put them in a meat grinder" to quote the movie. But perhaps the most important part of this entire scene is that we realize the Predator has been watching them, to determine if they are worthy to hunt or not. And yeah they obviously are.
We also find out that the Predator records what people say which they use in an attempt to trap them. Further adding more of the creatures chilling nature.
And this a screenshot of when we first actually see part of the creature as it picks up the scorpion that Mac got off of Dillon's back. This again is another notable shot not just for being the first time we see the Predator but helps us to gain more of the aliens perspective.
From this point the film pretty much heats up as the Predator officially begins his hunt of Dutch and his team.
We first see the creature better or at least that it has a cloaking field of some sort to blend in. Again we are given a little bit more of a peak of the creature bit by bit. This allows us to build up an image of what it might be like, it builds up tension. It also shows just how out of their depth this team of highly trained individuals are.
After taking out Blain with its plasma caster. Mac in shock and awe is the first one to properly spot the Predator. As it flashes its yellow eyes at him. Almost as if to play mind games. To even make itself appear as a ghoul or a demon, to play on their superstitions.
Soon the rest of the team start firing at the trees in an attempt to take down this invisible killer. They then begin to understand that they may not be dealing with any regular solider. We also see that the Predator bleeds and it bleeds green glow in the dark blood of all things.
We are also given our first proper look at what the Predator actually looks like when he uses a medical kit. So here we are given more than just a hint of what he is like and an actual shot of him.
So they then come to the realization they cannot communicate for evac and are pretty much on their own now.
As they set up camp for the night Mac reminisces about his time with Blain in the military. Again this scene helps to further humanize the characters and bring them down to earth. Blain's body is actually taken by the Predator so he can claim it as a trophy for another kill.
So they decide to set up traps and to try and take the Predator down instead. Which I guess is worth a shot.
Anna (the now former hostage) Gives an interesting speech how the Predator hunts when it is hot and how that the people in her village found bodies skinned and also much, much worse.
The Predator shows up yet again to continue the hunt.
Mac is taken out next, I am just going to say he get a hair cut he really didn't need. Dillon is then the next lamb to the slaughter and lets just say he could have done with a hand.
Billy is the next to go. Though he basically sort of had it coming. Since we he stands ready to take the Predator on man to alien. We only hear his bloodcurdling scream. So we can be sure the whole honuorable warrior thing did not fare too well for him.
Poncho is then taken out with a Plasma Caster head shot. The Predator then proceeds to hit Dutch in the shoulder as he screams probably the most quoted quote from this film "GO! GET TO DA CHOPPA!" (Come on you cant expect me not to quote that in my Predator review it would be unfair to assure otherwise)
And the wound on his arm looks very painful with all the flesh pealing off very good job. Speaking of the gore in general in the film. It is not overplayed the kill scenes are quite hard hitting and have a decent amount of gore. But they are toned down and aren't over the top. The gore/ kill scenes are just perfect.
As Dutch attempts to escape the Predator and ends up falling in a river. The Predator jumps in after him. But his cloaking field is interrupted and sees the Predator in all its glory. But Dutch realizes he cannot see him due to the fact he is covered in mud which manages to cover his heat signature. This scene is cleverly done since the first time Dutch fully sees the Predator, the Predator cannot actually see Dutch. He is now invisible whilst the Predator is visible. Really nice touch of irony.
With his new found advantage Dutch sets up traps. I do like the contrast between both Dutch's and the Predator's weaponry. Whilst the Predator relies on high tech weaponry that is far more advanced than any of that on earth, Dutch instead relies on his surroundings to make traps, out of the forrest and arms himself with a spear, a bow and arrows.
We are also treated to the now classic spine and skull ripping scene from the Predator.
And so the final battle between man and beast begins.
The fight is very well done. And Dutch uses his invisibility to his advantage. Drawing the Predator out. It is a very balanced fight. Whilst Dutch has the current advantage the Predator is still shown to be something to be reckoned with. Even when fighting blind. Again this early part of the fight seen is not your typical action film fight, it is alot more well thought out, it moves at a slower pace. With both hunters trying to seek the other out. The fight plays alot more on the tension aspect. With a good balance of action and tension.
All seems to be going swimmingly for Dutch until, well until he has to take a swim. And the Predator has his hand around his neck and it looks like it's game over man, game over (oh yeah wrong franchise,right then)
So the Predator then turns and looks as if he is going to walk away. But nope. Instead the Predator gives us the best monster reveal in movie history.
Followed by from Dutch the best reaction to that reveal in movie history. Pred then goes to town on Dutch. Just showing how physically superior he is. And again we still have the POV shots from the Pred but this time we get to see how he actually sees without the bio mask.
But Dutch manages to crawl away and attempt's to goad the Predator into a trap. But he aint having any of it and goes around the trap. Dutch then ceases his chance and drops a log tied up in the air onto the Pred.
Dutch is about to drop a rock onto him but then sees how injured he is. Dutch then ask "What the hell are you?". The Predator replies with the same question. This is a very potent scene. And gives us some more understanding how the Predator may view humans and humanity. In the sense that whilst the characters all the way through the film have viewed the Predator as a brutal hunter, the Predator has also viewed humans and has viewed them in a similar way and how Dutch in particular has fared against him and throughout the film . This again is another reason why we maybe given shots from the Predators point of view. To show that he is not just a mindless monster but an intelligent, sentient creature but whilst also very different and alien to humans.
The Predator then begins to activate his bomb, to commit honorable suicide. Also adding a very chilling laugh. Just listen to it for yourself above.
So the bomb goes off, Dutch survives and he and Anna are picked up by a helicopter. And that is how the film ends.
Overall this is a spectacular film. It is not your standard action film it is much more than that. It lets the tension build up and when things get going the film doesn't let up. The Predator is perfectly done and there is a great deal of attention and effort worked in to make the Predator more than just your average monster. Do yourselves a favour and give this film a watch if you have not seen it. And if you have watch it again!
Id just like to also talk a bit about the Predator since really he is the underlying focus of the film and it really is his film.
The Predator is played brilliantly by Kevin Peter Hall who not only had the right towering stature for the character but was also able to act well, putting thought into how the alien would move and act.
Also just the design of it. It is one of the best monster designs by far. And considering that it was originally going to look like this:
Yeah I don't want to imagine that in the film either. Such a radical change and it has become something iconic. Stan Winston did wonders.
So I have written enough. Probably too much. But if you made it this far thank you for reading. And give me a comment. Also would you rather me do more in depth longer reviews like this? Or ones where I focus really on giving my overall views of the film.
Tell me below :)