There is perhaps nothing more unnerving then the feeling that you’re being watched. That someone, or something is following you. That you’re not alone. Worse still is the feeling that what is watching you is not just there to see your pretty face. It’s there to hunt you down.Sound familiar? Well, unless you live in some sort of crazed war zone overrun by psychotic madmen, I hope not. But it’s a theme that has been used to great effect in a number of horror, thriller and action films, among them the excellent Aliens series, and one of the most memorable films I’ve seen over the years, Predator.
Anyone who’s seen Predator will tell you, even 13 of so years after its release, that there’s something special about it. The basic premise is simple. An elite commando squad led by Major Dutch Schaeffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) embarks on a dangerous mission into the South American jungle. After encountering their fair share of hostility and combat though, they soon realise that their human enemies are not the only menace that they must contend with.
A mysterious alien creature is hunting the party for sport. Its’ lethal and deadly accuracy, and ability to seemingly ‘disappear’ into the thick jungle makes it the ultimate hunter. One by one, the group is picked off by the Predator, and as the skull trophies mount, it seems only a matter of time before the inevitable show down between a certain large Austrian and the alien beast takes place.
While Predator does head for a fairly predictable ending, the film still maintains a fantastic feeling of tension and fear right throughout, mixed with the obligatory gun battles and 10 story high explosions (all of which are pretty cool, especially a certain scene where about a million rounds of bullets are used up in an almighty shower of destructive fury). This is classic hardcore action, but with a special atmosphere that sets it apart from other films in the genre.
Typically stone-faced performances from Arnie and co. aren’t really an issue in this film (they serve their purpose, much like crash test dummies help make safer cars), and the combination of great locations and special effects cap off what is truly a great film.If you like big guys, with big guns, getting hunted by a big ugly alien, then this is definitely the film for you.