John McTiernan, 1987
The culture that comes from a piece of entertainment, I hate to call this “work” its entertainment, oftentimes obscures or makes the actual piece an opaque center. It’s own individual quality becomes lost in its popularity. Predator as its own thing is better as an artifact of its time. It’s Regannomical to its core. Big buff military guys operating in South America in secret, Grenada made awesome and right, fuck you Vietnam.
McTiernan is best known for this movie and Die Hard, two action classics living on different ends of its spectrum. This is about big buff men and their camaraderie and their ethics. They’re mercenaries, not assassins because Arnold can’t be that (Terminator) bad anymore. These are supermen fighting the creature from outer space. Die Hard was about one normal dude thinking around overwhelming odds and existed in much more physical reality than this.
It’s also the masculine response to Aliens which was the feminine response to the action films defined by Arnold Schwarzenegger. A cinematic version of the Pet Sounds story,i.e. The Beach Boys were influence by The Beatles to make Pet Sounds and The Beatles were influenced by Pet Sounds to make Sgt. Peppers. Aliens is the better movie but this is so tight and visceral it’s almost easier to prefer it. Predator has undeniable momentum. I wasn’t thinking about logic or reason or motivation here because I didn’t have time to. The thing is so bone simple and fast and fucking enjoyable…why would I want to do that?
-Daniel Von Egidy, 2011