In one of the manliest of mannish films, we have the action hero's take on a creature feature. What calls for popcorn more than that of a mysterious alien from a distant planet who comes to Earth to hunt, only to go toe to toe with our favorite action star? This is a prime example of the subgenre that is action horror with a sci-fi twist. To this day, in my humble opinion, it stands as the second best "Alien/Predator" movie in existence ('Aliens' being in my top spot), if only because the plot of it is so simple, and it delivers exactly what we want. Maybe it's just me, but I'd say it's almost a perfect action movie.
Army Special Ops soldier and Vietnam Veteran, "Dutch" (Schwarzenegger) and an elite rescue team are given a quick in-and-out mission by Dutch's former commanding officer, General Philips. Among the team are Mac (Bill Duke), an expert tracker named Billy (Sonny Landham), the testosterone-fueled Blain (Jesse Ventura), Poncho (Richard Chaves) and the company's resident jokester, Hawkins (Shane Black). With them, comes CIA officer Dillon (Carl Weathers) - an old friend of Dutch's. As the mission gets underway, the team finds such strange things as three skinned corpses with no sign of approach from any side.
After carrying out their mission, and without getting into too much spoiler territory, the team comes across a surviving guerrilla named Anna (Elpidia Carrillo). She's shaken up, and claims things like the forest coming alive to kill people. As they head to their extraction point, they soon they realize they are going up against something that poses a much bigger threat than they signed up for; something that hunts them from the trees using heat vision and the ability to become transparent with its camouflage. As one can imagine, things go pretty much how you'd expect with a look of pretty violent kills in the process. Predictable however it may be at this point, however, it all leads to one of the greatest showdowns in cinematic history.
By now, we're all pretty familiar with the Predator. He's become a pop culture icon who sits alongside the Alien. He's the Jason Voorhees to Alien's Freddy Krueger. But this was back in a time before anyone understood what the Predator was, and Schwarzenegger was the real draw. At the time of its release, it looked like it was gonna be another 'Commando', and though the trailer offers brief glimpses of what the Predator looked like, it just wasn't the main focus. Here we have what one might call "dude porn" - a cast of "manly" men doing "manly" things like violence and mayhem and killing. It really delivers on that aspect right down to making the Predator itself throw down his arms just to have a one-on-one fight with Schwarzenegger. It was a unique way to have the world's strongest man meet his match in brawn for once.
A line here and there is perhaps a bit dated, but honestly, not enough to ruin things. This is still one of the best action movies ever made, as far as I'm concerned. I have seen it a bunch of times, and I'm still just as entertained by it as ever. It carries some special effects with it that still look great by today's standards, and further go to show that CG doesn't necessarily have things on the same level as practical effects. This one was even nominated for an Oscar for these effects, losing to 'Innerspace', and at the time, it was only between those two films. However, as far as I can see, 'Predator' still stands as a sort of landmark in the action genre, and it introduced a character who would live on for decades. I could watch this movie in my 90s and still think it's great, no holds barred entertainment.