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'Predator' was quite rightly one of Arnie's most successful films - big, macho, daft, over the top and quite well-made, with atmospheric direction and a very memorable villain inflicting horrible deaths on a group of beefed-up soldiers. It's a bit of an oddity in Reagan-era action flick, merging all the classic 80s action cliches with a bit of a creepy sci-fi/horror twist, and is all very enjoyable. Of course Arnie is Arnie, pumped up and good at killing things nonchalantly, but the premise of the movie is one that would make quite a cool video game even in the 8-bit era.
Except that this is one of the most rushed and awkward games of that era. Despite its sloppy programming and almost unplayable design, it sold lots of units and is fondly remembered by nostalgic video game afficionados as something of a classic. It isn't. It's dire, and here's why.
The version I played was on the BBC Micro, which was a fairly limited platform having only 32K of RAM, but skilled programmers could coax out all sorts of wonders from such limited space. Not that Predator wasn't programmed by a skilful designer - it was put together by one of Superior Software's main men, Peter Scott, who was behind numerous great titles. This was released for the Christmas market in 1988/9 (I think), and was so quickly rushed out one can almost smell the festive beers and hangovers lurking in the game code.
First off, it's a fairly ugly affair - the loadout screen is all garish, blocky reds and blaring yellows crashing together in a psychedlic, neon car accident. It's also tried to replicate Arnie's uber-macho pose from the cover of the film, but it looks a bit wrong, like he's been spliced with a selection of different apes by Dr. Moreau. The game controls looked fairly simple in the manual, with directional movements, jumping and, of course, the ability to fire guns, chuck grenades and punch things. All of which one would expect.
The game proper starts up, and you take the role of a very clunky-looking Arnie, who is stood gormlessly next to what I think is a helicopter. And since the screen scrolls in only ONE direction, that's pretty much your only course of action. That's right, Arnie don't retreat. Arnie don't go left, that's for those dirty jungle commies. If you try to, he'll just flail helplessly against the dead space at the left of the screen; curse you, invisible force-field of doom! You better get used to running in a straight line as well, because the control system is completely horrible. In theory, you can move up and down diagonally, but since movement in these directions is so painfully slow, and the strip between the endless, poorly rendered trees is so slim there's hardly any point.
This is supposed to be an action game, so therefore there's stuff to shoot at. This mostly consists of what look like guerrilla soldiers running at you or popping out of foxholes (read "blinking on and off screen randomly"), and also FLOCKS OF KILLER CHICKENS. I don't remember them being in the film at all. Maybe they're in the Director's Cut, or maybe the games designers though Alfred Hitchcock had directed the film and wanted to emulate the fear that Tippie Hedrun had once experienced. Or it's just stupid.
Anyway, you can aim your gun in three different directions, which means that most of the time you have to wait for these sprinting soldier-things to get close enough to you to hit them, by which time Arnie's already been peppered with bullets because he's such an unmanoeuvrable sack of meat it's almost impossible to dodge incoming fire. And birds of course. Lots of those. You get three lives (of course, this is a game from the 80s) but they're all snuffed out very quickly. Arnie can take less punishment than PaperBoy, and getting past the first level required a Herculean effort and the patience of a saint or two. He does however have quite an amusing death sequence, being flung to the left like a puppet on a fishing wire, only to explode in a haze of primary colour marmalade.
There are also three grenades at Arnie's disposal, not that they're much use as he has the throwing arm of a dyspraxic jellyfish and they invariably miss what you want them to hit. Guns also run out of ammo very, very quickly, and new ones can be found dotted around the jungle. They are however, really badly placed, as you can only carry one at a time and they all come close together, meaning that when you really need one there isn't one for ages. Which means you have to resort to hand-to-hand combat, or more accurately, "running full tilt at a pixellated group of enemies and hoping for the best". The controls are so clunky there's very little hope of getting your punches to connect with anything, so it's basically game over when your ammo runs dry.
And then there's the titular Predator. I thought I'd save the best for last, as if you've managed to put up with the above for more than five mintues, then you're in for a treat when crab-features turns up. Every now and again, the screen will turn blue and indigo (like the Predator's night-vision mode) and a crosshair will show up on the screen, and home in on Arnie. You can't return fire, so you just have to run for it. This interval will last about 3 seconds, and if it draws a bead on you, you will die insantly. I say 'if', it's really a matter of 'when' because the Predator aims so fast and Arnie, as we know, is about as slick as a sack of mashed potatoes, it will immediately zap you nine times out of ten. And you can't save your game. And there are no passwords to skip levels.
Except on the BBC Micro emulator on which I played this, which allows you to save at any point. And even with that option, I wanted to hurl my monitor out of the window in ten minutes. I'm not too sure the nostalgia rush was worth it. Shall I perservere and see if I can defeat it... Sod it, crab-face can have the jungle and Arnie's skull as a trophy. Maybe the C64 version played better, but this port of the game was so rubbish it had me cheering the Predator on in subsequent viewings of the film.
Quite possibly one of my favourite films of all time. Predator is a action style science fiction movie which was released in 1987.
Predator is your typical hunter becomes the hunted type film in which a group of U.S commandos become pray to an alien humanoid like creature that has advanced hunting skills and techniques. Armed with multiple types of vision including night and infrared as well as vision enhancement and a stealth capable armour suit, the Predator is one of the most advanced hunters to be seen in any film. During the predator film we don't really learn much of the background about where they come from are what their purpose is. However after the movies success a sequel was released and later on 2 cross over films were released also in the forms of Alien vrs Predator and Alien vrs Predator Requiem. Its during the first Alien vrs Predator movie that we get to see just who these creatures are and their history about their world and why they come to earth.
Arnold Schwarzenegger as "Dutch"
Carl Weathers as "Dillon"
Elpidia Carrillo as "Anna"
Bill Duke as "Mac"
Jesse Ventura as "Blain"
Sonny Landham as "Billy"
Richard Chaves as "Poncho"
Shane Black as "Hawkins"
R. G. Armstrong as General Phillips
Kevin Peter Hall as The Predator and also the pilot during the end scene of the film.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was always first choice for the lead role but after meeting with producers the idea was slightly different to that which made the final production. Arnold didn't like the original idea of a single man going up against the Predator as he said it wouldn't be realistic and believable. He sat down with the producers and together they agreed that more cast members would be scripted in to form a group of commandos rather than a single marine.
As for the Predator itself funnily enough it was Jean-Claude Van Damme who was originally cast in the role with producers thinking that the martial arts action star would suit the role to give the Predator an agile ninja style persona. However when the Predator was compared to the likes of Schwarzenegger (Dutch), Weathers (Dillon) and Ventura (Blain) it was obvious that they needed to go for a more physical look in order to give the Predator the more terrifying build and presence.
Other stories also leaked out to the media which claimed that Van Damme was very hard to work with and complained on many occasions about the Predator suit being uncomfortable and too hot. It was also reported that he intentionally hurt a stuntman during the filming of the movie. Van Damme was eventually replaced by actor Kevin Peter Hall who went on to play the role with eases. He stood at an amazing 7 foot 2 and compared to Van Damme gave The Predator the physical appearance the producers were looking for.
The movie starts out where we see a unknown spacecraft entering Earth's atmosphere. The spacecraft appears to crash land on Earth. The film then takes us to the Coast of Guatemala where we see the U.S. commandos getting of the helicopters ready for briefing. The commandos led by Major Alan "Dutch" (Arnold Schwarzenegger) are ordered to infiltrate a guerrilla hideout hidden deep within the jungle to rescue a cabinet minister who had been kidnapped. Dutch and his team are joined by his old friend and now CIA agent Major George "Dillon" (Carl Weathers) as they head off to start the operation.
After drop off into the Jungle the team stumble across a crashed helicopter along with several men who appear to have been skinned alive. The bodies carrying dog tags are soon identified as a Green Beret special forces team which confuses Dutch into wondering why they were even here in the first place as no one had advised him of any previous rescue attempts. They trek through the jungle until they discover a heavily defended rebel base. Dutch spots several prisoners being executed by the rebels and organisers a counter strike between himself and his men. The team move in and kill the rebels and gain a prisoner themselves in the form of a girl named Anna (Elpidia Carrillo). After further investigation of the rebel camp Dutch becomes furious that the whole operation was a set up in order to get the team to wipe out the camp. It is revealed that the men from earlier were Dillon's men who disappeared during a failed rescue mission of CIA agents. Dillon admits to Dutch that he used him and his men to get the job done. Its during this scene we first witness the tension between the 2 Major's.
Dutch orders his men to pack up and they fall out to head for the extraction point. During this time however they are unknowingly being observed by an unknown creature (The Predator) who is using infrared vision to spy on the commandos.
As they begin to trek towards the evacuation point one of the commandos (Hawkins) disappears after chasing down Anna who tries to escape. As the team try to find him they come across what only seems to be traces of him and start to suspect something is a miss.
When Blain turns up dead shortly after the commandos become aware that there is something else out there stalking them and waiting for them. They interrogate Anna due to her being the only one there when Hawkins disappeared and she tells the group that the jungle came alive and took him.
The group attempt to set a trap for The Predator and its during this scene that Anna tells a story of when she was growing up and a hunter would come to the village to claim the heads of villagers as trophies. The trap is a failure and as the commandos are killed off one by one soon it remains only Dutch and Anna to survive the Predator. After Dutch discovers the creature seems to be only killing those armed with weapons he sends Anna off to the extraction point unarmed while he attempts to escape the creature.
Dutch manages to escape the predator after accidently covering himself in mud which hides his body's heat temperature making him invisible to the Predator. Its during this point Dutch gets to see the Predator in true form.
The scene is set for a final showdown with Dutch and The predator as Dutch uses the mud to camouflage himself improvising with some weapons made from the jungle such as a bow and arrow. Dutch sets a trap for The Predator but it doesn't quite work as expected. The creature loses its cloaking ability but manages to survive the trap. It chases Dutch down after his camouflage begins to wear off and captures him. After a brief stare down between human and alien The predator challenges Dutch to a final fight to the death in hand-to-hand-combat.
One on One Dutch is no match for The Predator who brutally beats him to within an inch of his life. Dutch somehow manages to crawl to another one of his traps though and as The Predator assumes it has trapped him, Dutch trips the counterweight sending a massive tree like log falling from above and crashing down on The Predator. The Predator is wounded badly but still alive. As is about to finish the creature he asks it what it is and the creature mimics the same question to Dutch before activating a self destruct time bomb which has Dutch running for cover. The bomb goes off causing a huge explosion throughout the jungle. The final scene is shown with Anna on the helicopter as they finally arrive and we get a shot of Dutch standing in the fog and smoke wounded and injured but still alive. They are flown out of the jungle as the credits roll to signal the end of the film.
During The Filming
The original schedule of the movie was actually delayed by several months due to other working commitments from Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was reported that this delay however gave the producers enough time to come up with the re-write for the movie moving away from the original script of Schwarzenegger being a 1 man army.
During the filming of the movie Arnold Schwarzenegger and director John McTiernan lost a total of 25lbs. If you get the special edition DVD there is interviews with the cast and there is one in particular where Carl Weathers mentions that the actors would secretly wake up at 3.00am to begin a workout before the days shooting. He also mentioned that he treated his body as if it was sacred to himself and that he would only work out when no other actors were around. Weathers also advised that Sonny Landham (Billy) was so unstable on set that a private bodyguard was hired to keep things in order. This was not to protect Landham from the rest of the cast but to protect the rest of the cast from Landham.
The filming was reported to have taking its toll on the actors and was deemed very demanding. The location of the film deep in the Mexican jungle meant the cast had to endure very cold temperatures as well as filming on very rough terrain. Schwarzenegger in particular mentioned about the scene where he is chased by The Predator saying that the water was foul, dirty and full of leeches. As for The Predator himself Hall admitted that he could not see out of the helmet meaning he had to memorize where everything was and often caused him problems during the fight scenes with Arnold.
In my opinion with exception to Terminator 2 this is by far one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's greatest movies. This is the kind off stuff that he was born to do. He is built and suited for action roles and being cast as the lead for this movie was pure genius. He plays the character brilliantly showing both his military side but also a different side to his fellow commandos who he doesn't just see as fellow team members but also as friends.
Carl Weathers also gives an outstanding performance as Dillon. He gives the same sort of showing as his character Apollo Creed in Rocky. Both characters have similar attributes in that they are rash ego crazy and both thinking they are always in the right. The chemistry with Weathers and Schwarzenegger is fantastic in this movie and the relationship changes between the two throughout the movie. The reunion at the start gives you the sense of best friends being reunited after so long. We then see the tension and distrust between the two after Dutch finds out that Dillon has set them up. The tension between the two is immense with both actors trying to get one up on the other during the remainder of the film. Its not until near the end when Dillon runs off to hunt down the Predator and tells Dutch to get his men to the chopper. its during this scene that we see a sign of mutual respect for both characters towards each other.
The rest of the cast each fill their roles perfectly. Each of the other commandos all have their different personalities and personas and this works well for the movie. I have always said I prefer film where there is a group of commandos rather than a single man. This only works though if every person in the team is unique. Predator pulls this off and is one of the only films that I have seen that allows each actor to make their character their own. Aliens is the only other film which I have seen being able to pull this off but Bill Paxton gave a huge helping hand towards that movie.
There is one part in particular which is one of my favourite parts in which the team are busy taking care of the rebels in the camp. Richard Chaves (Poncho) finds Jesse Ventura (Blain) hiding out below an enemy bunker nest. Poncho glances over to Blain and says "You're bleeding, man". Blain replies "I ain't got time to bleed". Poncho then proceeds to shoot a bunch of grenades up to the top of the nest before saying "You got time to duck?". Throughout the film there are some brilliant quotes by the different characters. If you were to sit down and go through all the characters and think if I had to choose one then who would I take out, then you would be stuck as it would be impossible to remove anyone. All the actors played an important role in the film and they played off each other brilliantly.
Overall Predator is and always will be one of the all time great science fiction action movies. The sequels did not do the original any justice and I would advise anyone who has seen the sequels but not the original to check it out as its easily 10 times better.
If you have never seen the movie then I advise you get a copy of it as soon as you can as its definitely not one to be missed.
Predator is a wholly unique film combining several different genres including action, tension, adventure and horror. The basic storyline concists of a specialist group of marines led by "Dutch" (Arnold Schwarzenegger) are recruited by the CIA to enter the Central American jungle and rescue hostages held by guerrilla fighters. However- once in the jungle the soldiers begin to encounter strange and horrific things such as soldiers skinned alive hanging in the trees and others with their heads removed. After a spectactular action sequence where Duch and his 6 comrades storm and destroy an entire guerrilla outpost involving a particularly large gatling gun in true Schwarzenegger style it becomes evident that they are being stalked buy and unseen thing in the trees. The Predator uses several hunting techniques that are common the human hunters. For example stalking and mimiking are used by humans that hunt animals. Also camoflage is used and exaggorated in the Predator with the awesome effects of being invisable- but not quite. Another trait of hunters is the hunt the most dangerous animal- and to and alian to earth that would be the human combat soldier. One of the most interesting parts of the film is the weaponry used by the Predator, including the infamous shoulder cannon- a small lasar guided plasma launcher mounted on the Predator's shoulder, and the retractable wrist blades on his right arm. Another unique part of the movie is that unlike most homicidal aliens, the Predator lives by a sendce of "honour" and does not kill any unarmed prey that can not fight back- since there is no sport in doing that. It also picks Dutch's men off one by one taking their skulls and spines. One of the most famous scenes from the movie is when the character "Hawkins" played by Shane Black is killed by the Predator, and "Mac"(Bill Duke) sees the alian walking away. He then opens fire, and so does the rest o
f the team when they find him. They contiruosly fire at an enemy that may not even be there for minutes on end- mowing down the jungle, especially that gatling gun named Ol' Painless. After seeing how they made the film it is interesting to see that in real life the gatling gun would be mounted on attack helecopters and would only be able to fire a 5 second burst before running out of ammo if it were held by a soldier. The spectacular "predator vision" which is shown throughout the film is one of the coolest things that I have ever seen and it adds to the feeling of the Predator being alien. To the Predator all it can see is the heat given off by its prey using thermal vision. If you like action, adventure, horror, or just films with amazing special effects then this is most definatly the film for you. I have yet to see a movie with such originallity and imagination- as well as the action and horror thrown in as well in a perfect blend. I would reccomend getting the DVD special edition, that shows how the film was made, has a special directors commentry version and has other special features such as deletec senes and Predator camoflage and costume tests. Along with the Aliens versus Predator game- which is exellent.