The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.
What’s so great about this film is that it’s just caricatures, and it still works exceptionally well. These men are brutes in every sense of the word, but they’re likable, and you genuinely want to see them succeed. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, and the list goes on and on. These guys are the definition of the ’80s actioner, and this movie is a big reason why. They all buy into the over-the-top action, and sell it with all their might.
Story & Script
Dutch (Schwarzenegger) leads a group of highly skilled special force ops behind enemy lines to help Dillon (Weathers) and the CIA find a group of soldiers from a downed helicopter. Or so they think. They quickly realize that Dillon is full of shit, but before they can bail on the mission, they come to discover that something else is hunting them, and the enemy in the jungle may not be human. It’s a pretty basic story, and an even more basic script. Were the script shines, though, is with its one-liners. Specifically, the dialogue from Blain, played by former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura, is remarkably well done. With such classic lines as “I ain’t got time to bleed”, and “this stuff will make you a god damned sexual Tyrannosaurus, just like me”, Blain is one the more memorable characters in the film even though his screen time is limited. This script shouldn’t work, but because the movie knows it’s an over-the-top actioner, it absolutely does work.
The way that John McTiernan – who went on to direct Die Hard, Hunt for Red October, Last Aciton Hero, and Rollerball, to name a few – filmed the POV of the Predator is simple, yet effective. It’s clear when we’re looking through the eyes of the Predator, and putting us in the shoes of the antagonist is a great idea. The CGI still holds up for the most part, which is pretty amazing for a film from the ’80s. The best part, though, has to be the now-iconic character design of the Predator. The beast is absolutely bad ass, and it’s clear to see why he’s such a popular tattoo. McTiernan knows how to make things go boom, and feels like the 1980s and 1990s version of Michael Bay. That wasn’t a dig, either, I promise, as I enjoy most of Bay’s work.
As loud and big as everything is in this film, there are enough intimate moments to make this stand out as a true gem of cinema, and not just a general action film. It isn’t winning any awards, obviously, but what it does, it does extremely well. It’s detailed, thrilling, and big. That’s an impressive combination that I would take over many “classics” any day.
I’ve seen this three or four times, and it gets better every time. I will never stop watching this.
Predator is a classic of the action genre, and should be a staple in every action fans rotation. Schwarzenegger is in his prime here, as is Weathers, and it makes for a remarkably fun time. If you’ve missed this somehow, and you like when things to boom, you need to check it out as I’m sure you’ll enjoy yourself.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.