The beauty of Predator (which other reviewers pointed out) is that it truly is a B-Movie type monster flick but made inherently better by a solid director and the incredible star power of Arnold Schwarzenegger. It truly was brilliantly made given the budget for the time and they managed to jump start an iconic series that has lasted almost three decades! Honestly, the first part of the film, the first hour is really a 6/10 B movie shlockfest that is entertaining but really nothing spectacular. Then, the Predator makes himself known, and the last twenty minutes or so when its no holds barred Predator vs Arnie it just amps this film up to action film legendary status. The setting for the film is perfect, the thick lush jungle giving way to the ideal place for all the insane kills and violent war scenes. They even manage to open the film with a battle against soldiers that has essentially nothing to do with Predator and yet makes the film even more interesting and fun and sheer entertainment. I think for its time the special effects are pretty decent, and hold up even now. And of course you can't ignore the iconic one liners "Stick around!" and my personal favourite "Get to the Chopper!" No matter how you shake it, this is an action film classic.
Much can be said about Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting. The thing that can't be denied is his incredible screen presence. He is larger than life and has this chemistry when he is on screen. Predator also solidifies Arnold's status as a complete bad-ass. His roars of war and his campy line delivery and he stills looks like the meanest SOB and the only man who can take on this alien monster. While the supporting cast are really mostly just fodder for the Predator the writers actually gave them some solid personality and characters. 80's sidekick legend Carl Weathers is his usual serious and glaring self as Dillon. The scenes between him and Schwarzenegger are perfect and the side story of their long time friendship and the betrayal is well placed. Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham and Richard Chaves are all good rounding out the rest of the team. The one character I would have liked to have seen more from was Sonny Landham whose character Billy seemed to have a lot of depth and a back story that would have been interesting to explore a little bit. Elpidia Carrillo plays the only female in the film and she does alright. I think she was basically put into the movie to have a female presence but its mostly unnecessary. There is no romantic story between her and any of the characters (which is good) and her performance is okay but un-needed ultimately.
Whatever happened to John McTiernan? How did this guy start two of the greatest action franchises in history plus a handful of other top notch action flicks and then nothing else for almost a decade? This was McTiernan's second film and his talent is obvious. He knows how to tell the story and utilize the characters perfectly. The man is an action genius. Predator might not have been the first film to combine distinct recipe for action with a horror flare but its probably one of the best. The special effects are decent as I mentioned but the Predator, that's where the money shot is. He is impressive and disturbing and overwhelmingly awesome. In one of my favourite all time scenes when the Predator throws down his weapons and removes his mask to challenge Scwarzenegger's Dutch...his appearance is simply outstanding. It actually made my skin crawl and as only Arnold can put it "You are one ugly..." If you love 80's action, if you love Schwarzegger and sci-fi and horror...this is truly one of the greats!! 8.5/10