"There's something out there waiting for us, and it ain't no man. We're all gonna die."   - Billy

release year: 1987
genre: sci-fi/action
viewing setting: home DVD, 3/31/19 and 5/28/18 and 10/15/17 and 5/29/16 and 2/11/15 and 6/1/14 and 7/15/13 and 3/24/10 and many other times, including theater in 1987

synopsis: An elite commando unit goes into the South American jungle to retrive some missing diplomats, but is eventually stalked by a hunter who's not from this world.

impressions: This is a military action movie for the first part, a monster movie for the second part, and a one-on-one survival contest for the third part. The directing style is superb, as are the suspense and the action scenes. The characters are pretty much all larger than life, and the mix of "regular" action and science-fiction works really well. This is a defining movie of both genres, and comes damn close to being the perfect film.

activation point: 18:30 - this is when it becomes obvious that there's something else lurking in the jungle

body count: 49 humans, 1 scorpion, 1 Predator

something this movie has that no other movie has: Arnold, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, and Sonny Landham all in the same place at the same time. That's a lot of testosterone.

acting: Arnold Schwarzenegger is more muscle than acting, as the leader of the special forces unit, but he has tremendous screen presence here, plus some great lines. Carl Weathers is the former operative turned desk jockey who has his own agenda. Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, and Sonny Landham have good, memorable supporting roles as tough commandos.

trivia: Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally supposed to be the one inside the Predator costume, but he quit and the filmmakers went with a different look.

final word: This is a classic that very successfully spanned two genres, and then led to numerous sequels and spin-offs in other media (books, comics, video games.)

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