Director: John McTiernan, 1987
Pros: surprisingly good frame story, fascinating characters (each with their own quirks), great special effects (especially for the time), suspenseful
Cons: little to no explanation as to why the predator is there or why it's chosen to hunt this team
After watching Aliens vs Predator my husband was shocked to learn that if I have seen Predator, it was so long ago I no longer remember it. So we watched it, to clear up my ignorance. :)
As with AVP, I was surprised by the complexity of the frame story. I expected the predator to just randomly be hunting people in the jungle for no reason. Luckily that wasn't the case.
Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his crew are hired by the CIA to rescue hostages held by guerrillas in Central America. He quickly realizes that something's not right about the mission but the extent of the deception shocks him.
It's just after this revelation, when they prepare to leave, that the danger level ratchets up. Somehow they've turned from hunters to hunted.
You're given half the movie to get to know the members of Dutch's team so when they start dying, it's not only shocking, it's heart wrenching. There were a few I didn't mind seeing die and others I was hoping would survive. The movie did a good job keeping the suspense high. The humans were clever in their defense and offense strategies.
The invisibility cloak the predator wears was brilliantly done. The special effects hold up pretty well considering when the movie was made. It's obvious a lot of care was taken with regards to the predator's costume and abilities.
The only downside to the movie, aside from the quality of the film (it is old and the copy we had wasn't remastered, so it showed the deterioration) was that the predator's presence was only explained as a myth, that sometimes during hot years the strongest men in the surrounding areas often disappeared in the jungle. Granted, since the movie was from the human's point of view it would have been hard to work in a better explanation. In the end, simply thinking this alien comes to earth to hunt thinking prey works. And is what the AVP franchise is based on.
It's a good movie and if you haven't seen it yet, you should.