|“||If it Bleeds, we can kill it||„|
|― Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer|
Predator is a 1987 American science fiction action horror film directed by John McTiernan, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, and Kevin Peter Hall. It was distributed by 20th Century Fox. The story follows an elite special forces team, led by 'Dutch' (Arnold Schwarzenegger), on a mission to rescue hostages from guerrilla territory in Central America. Unbeknownst to the group, they are being stalked and hunted by a technologically advanced form of extraterrestrial life, the Predator. Predator was scripted by Jim and John Thomas in 1985, under the working title of Hunter. Filming began in April 1986 and creature effects were devised by Stan Winston.
The film's budget was around $15 million. Released in the United States on June 12, 1987, it grossed $98,267,558. Initial critical reaction to Predator was negative, with criticism focusing on the thin plot. However, in subsequent years critics' attitudes toward the film warmed, and it has appeared on a number of "best of" lists. Three sequels, Predator 2, Predators and The Predator as well as two crossover films with the Alien franchise, Alien vs Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, have been produced.
An alien spacecraft enters the Earth's atmosphere and jettisons a pod, which descends into the Central American jungle. Later, Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer arrives in the same area under the command of Major General Homer Phillips with his elite team for an operation to rescue a presidential cabinet minister, who had been abducted by guerrilla forces. The team consists of Mac Eliot, Blain Cooper, Billy Sole, Jorge "Poncho" Ramirez, and Rick Hawkins. Dutch's old military friend George Dillon, now working for the CIA, accompanies them as a liaison. The team is inserted into the jungle by helicopter and begins its hunt.
They soon find the wreckage of a downed helicopter and later, the remains of Army Special Forces soldiers, whose presence in the country puzzles Dutch. The group is horrified to find the bodies have been hung and have had their skin removed. Dutch knew the team and even identified one of them as Hopper and realised, that, whoever killed them had to be real good, because they themselves were real good. Still their deaths were mysterious, because there were no traces of the enemy. They track the guerrillas to a heavily defended rebel encampment, which they destroy except for a woman named Anna, whom they take prisoner. Dutch is enraged, when Dillon confesses, the rescue mission was just a ploy to get his group to attack the rebel camp he knew had information regarding rebel movements and soviet presence and assistance and that the men they had found in the downed helicopter had disappeared in a failed rescue of two CIA agents. As the team make their way to the extraction point, they are observed from afar by an unknown creature using thermal imaging.
Anna briefly escapes, but, when Hawkins catches her, he is stabbed and dragged off. The nearly invisible creature spares the unarmed Anna, who witnesses everything and is horrified. Moments later, while the team is looking for Hawkins's killer, Blain is killed. Mac sees the creature, one with the jungle, and opens fire on it with all the team giving corresponding fire support, but it disappears into the jungle. They realise, it must have been the same one that killed the other soldiers, because they saw similarities in the procedure and that, whoever it is, cannot be human, since it is also using the trees to move without any problems, even when he took Blain´s corpse with him at his first opportunity. Anna, knowing and realising the threat they are into, tells the team everything she knows about it and insight on the creature, which has been something of a local legend for hundreds of years and helps them. too.
The team sets a trap, but it avoids capture, severely wounding Poncho in the process. It turns out, the creature has an advanced electronic stealth coat, which allows it to be one with its environment, which it uses for its hunting. Mac and Dillon are killed in the ensuing chase and Billy is slain later, while making a last stand. The Predator catches up to Dutch and engages in a short shootout, during which Poncho is killed. Realising the creature only attacks those possessing weapons, a wounded Dutch sends the unarmed Anna to the extraction point to report to them, what is going on. Jumping off a waterfall, he narrowly escapes the creature by unwittingly masking his body's heat signature with mud and witnesses the Predator's true form completely, when its active camouflage fails in the water. Seeing an advantage, when he realises he cannot see him thanks to the mud he has on his body, Dutch applies more mud on him, improvises various weaponry and trap and, then baits the Predator into coming out by starting a large fire, and yelling a loud and barbaric war cry.
Hearing Dutch's war cry and accepting the declaration of war, the Predator arrives to investigate with the intention of finishing the hunt. He falls into Dutch´s trap, but only suffers minor injuries from his attacks. The Predator counterattacks and eventually locates and traps Dutch. Discarding its electronic weaponry and infrared-vision helmet as a sign of respect, the muscular alien challenges Dutch to a hand-to-hand combat, which Dutch accepts. The ensuing fight is one-sided. The Predator is easily able to beat Dutch into submission and moves in for the kill. Battered and barely able to move, Dutch stil manages to drop the counterweight from one of his traps on the creature, which then falls and crushes it. As Dutch asks the mortally wounded alien what it is. The creature mimics his question in garbled English and then activates a self-destruct mechanism on its wrist, laughing maniacally, as it does so.
Dutch barely escapes the explosion, which is similar to a small nuclear one and is rescued by the helicopter from the extraction point, who sees the explosion before that. The helicopter knows what happened, because Anna reached them and told them everything, which caused the Mayor General to go for Alan´s rescue with them, too, when he hears about it. Dutch is then taken away with the helicopter. None says anything to him because they still can´t believe what happened. Tired and also traumatized because of the events Schaefer reflects about what happened on the way home.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger as Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer
- Carl Weathers as George Dillon
- Elpidia Carrillo as Anna Gonsalves
- Richard Chaves as Jorge "Poncho" Ramirez
- Bill Duke as Mac Eliot
- Jesse Ventura as Blain Cooper
- Sonny Landham as Billy Sole
- Shane Black as Rick Hawkins
- R. G. Armstrong as Major General Homer Phillips
- Kevin Peter Hall as both The Predator and a helicopter pilot
- Sven-Ole Thorsen Russian military adviser (cameo).
For a few months, following the release of Rocky IV, a joke was making rounds in Hollywood. Since Rocky Balboa had run out of earthly opponents, he would have to fight an alien if a fifth installment of his boxing series were to be made. Screenwriters Jim and John Thomas took the joke seriously and wrote a screenplay based on the joke. The Thomas script for Predator was originally titled Hunter. It was picked up by 20th Century Fox in 1985, and turned over to producer Joel Silver who, based on his experience with Commando, seemed the right choice to turn the science fiction pulp storyline into a big-budget film. Silver enlisted his former boss Lawrence Gordon as co-producer and John McTiernan was hired as director for his first studio film. New Zealand director Geoff Murphy was also considered to direct.
According to the documentaries included on the Region 1 release of the special edition, the original monster suit was vastly different from the final product, designed by Stan Winston. Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally slated to play the creature, but allegedly made claims that the suit was "too clumsy and too hot". The original monster was a disproportionate, ungainly creature with large yellow eyes and a dog-like head. It was nowhere near as agile as the creature portrayed by Kevin Peter Hall. After Van Damme was removed from the film and subsequent financial troubles with the studio nearly caused the project to shut down, McTiernan consulted Stan Winston. While on a plane ride to Fox studios alongside Aliens director James Cameron, Winston sketched monster ideas. Cameron suggested, he had always wanted to see a creature with mandibles, which became part of the Predator's iconic look.
R/Greenberg Associates created the film's optical effects, including the alien's ability to become invisible, its thermal vision point-of-view, its glowing blood, and the electrical spark effects. The invisibility effect was achieved by having someone in a bright red suit (because it was the farthest opposite of the green of the jungle and the blue of the sky) the size of the Predator. The red was removed with chroma key techniques, leaving an empty area. The take was then repeated without the actors using a 30% wider lens on the camera. When the two takes were combined optically, the jungle from the second take filled in the empty area. Because the second take was filmed with a wider lens, a vague outline of the alien could be seen with the background scenery bending around its shape. For the thermal vision, infrared film could not be used because it did not register in the range of body temperature wavelengths. The filmmakers used an inframetrics thermal video scanner as it gave good heat images of objects and people. The glowing blood was achieved by green liquid from glow sticks used by campers and mixed with personal lubricant for texture. The electrical sparks were rotoscoped animation using white paper pin registered on portable light tables to black-and-white prints of the film frames. The drawings were composited by the optical crew for the finished effects. Additional visual effects, mainly for the opening title sequence of the Predator arriving on Earth, were supplied by Dream Quest Images (later Oscar-winners for their work on The Abyss and Total Recall). The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects.
Released on June 12, 1987, Predator was #1 at the US box office in its opening weekend with a gross of $12 million, which was second to only Beverly Hills Cop II for the calendar year 1987. The film grossed $98,267,558, of which $59,735,548 was from the US & Canadian box office. $38,532,010 was made overseas.
The movie was so successful that a Predator franchise was created because of it with crossovers to the Alien franchise.
At first critics made negative reviews about the movie. In subsequent years, however, the film's critical response has been more positive and as a result Predator has appeared on a number of "best of" lists.
- Predator (1987) at the Internet Movie Database
- Predator (1987) at AllMovie
- Predator (1987) at Rotten Tomatoes
- Predator (film) at Wikipedia
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