If you need to vaporize an entrenched base of vaguely South American guerilla fighters whom do you send in? That would be Dutch (Schwarzenegger, Batman and Robin) and his squad of elite super-soldiers, dudes with filthy mouths, twitchy trigger fingers and arms larger than overpass support beams.
Dispatched to retrieve a captured diplomat, Dutch, along with his pal Dillon (Carl Weathers), drops into a sweltering jungle to track down the bad guys and track them down they do and unleash a stunning fusillade of extra-large caliber ammunition and blow up lots of unsuspecting guerillas.
Following this muscular display, the team melts into the jungle to rendezvous at the extraction point. But it’s not long into their jungle trek until each team member meets a grisly end. Dutch and his boys are being tracked and hunted by an extraterrestrial visitor that’s arrived to collect some human skull trophies and flay a few Green Berets. By the time the end credits roll, only one man will walk out of the jungle alive and that man is (SPOILER!) Arnold Schwarzenegger, the star of this movie.
With a group of Alpha males this sweaty, veiny, and mustache-laden, there’s only one thing that can out-macho Dutch and his soldiers and that’s the Predator, one of the all-time greatest creatures ever crafted for the big screen. Years before it was neutered by half-assed crossover features (I actually quite like the sequel, Glover and all), the Predator turned the idea that visitors from another world are cute and cuddly and like to ride in bicycle baskets on its pronounced forehead and unleashed unparalleled brutality and bloodletting.
Granted, the Predator does most of his slaughtering 50 yards away with his laser-guided missiles and under the cover of his alien camouflage and that takes away a little from his ballsy luster, but when he goes toe-to-toe with Dutch at the end and pops off that mask and ditches the missile launcher and twitches his ugly-ass mandibles and you know it’s on, this movie officially enters the eternal pantheon of ’80s excess action-fests.
But then again, you knew that, right? Is there anyone besides my wife that has never seen Predator? Do I have to explicitly lay it out why this movie is among the most magically delicious testosterone experiences ever? You want an itemized list? Here’s your itemized list:
The Top Ten Reasons Why Predator Is More Macho Than Your Dad
10. Lopsided Gender Roles. The guys can all bench-press Kia Sportages and constantly rip on each other and shoot inanimate objects with impressive tenacity and the lone female sweats a lot and doesn’t wear a bra.
9. Billy’s Knife Fight. The team’s Native American tracking specialist decides to make a stand against the Predator with just his knife. The fact that we never actually get to see what happens detracts from the awesomeness.
8. Mac’s Blubbering. Okay, this is decidedly un-macho, but seeing Bill Duke try to emote about the loss of his BFF Blain is cringe worthy and is jarringly out of place. Emotions? Sentimentality? Not when there’s a gigantic alien’s head to drop logs on!
7. Dutch Meets Dillon. What do you do when you see a friend you haven’t talked to in years? Grab his or her hand and enter into an impromptu, bicep-bulging arm-wrestling match? Well, you f — — — should!
6. The Helicopter Ride. Here is where we’re introduced to our heroes. This sequence includes jokes about a girlfriend’s abnormally large genitalia, shaving, tobacco-spitting and the term “sexual Tyrannosaur.”
5. The Vulture Kick. It’s not often in a movie that you see a live bird booted in the head.
4. The Rolling Pickup of Death. Bypassing a stealthy incursion into the enemy’s camp, Dutch chooses to go with the classic military move of tossing a bomb in a truck and pushing it into a tent full of napping bad guys.
3. Jesse Ventura. The guy takes a fairly early departure, becoming intimate with the business end of a photon torpedo, but not before uttering such meat-headed observations like “You lose it here, you’re in a world of hurt!” and mowing down indigenous floral and fauna with a minigun.
2. Carl Weathers’ Last Stand. I’m not even going to bother with the “disarmed” joke.
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger and All That Entails. “Stick around.” (following a knife impalement) “Knock, knock!” (following a kicked-in door and a hail of bullets) And who can forget the timeless “You are one ugly motherf — — -.” Add to that his ability to heal quickly from pectoral trauma following a point-blank missile shot to the chest and his resistance to tactical nuclear bombs and Dutch is an action icon for the ages.
What’s the verdict for the hi-def debut? Good, but not mind-blowing. When the scenes are dark, the picture quality is soft and not much of an improvement over an upscaled standard DVD. But the daylight jungle sequences are considerably better. Detail sharpens and the color levels grow stronger. The green of the foliage — and the hyper-green of the Predator’s neon blood — looks vibrant on the enhanced resolution. Overall, I’d say the upgraded clarity ranges from slightly better to noticeably improved, depending on how light or dark the scenes are. The sound (DTS 5.1 master lossless) is active but didn’t blow me away. The LFE wasn’t very deep, translating into an audio mix that’s not very robust. The discrete channels get a nice workout, however, especially during the action scenes and Alan Silvestri’s bouncy, memorable score.
And the extras? MIA.
Knock, knock. Not guilty.