Come on in. Ol’ Painless is waitin’

Predator (1987)

Shooty score: 5/5 Kicky score: 3/5
Enjoy with: Jägerbombs. You’ll need some manic inducing magic sauce to propel you through this firestorm. For one serving, pour a third of a can and a single measure (25ml) of Jägermeister into a glass. I recommend preparing 3-6 bombs per person before the film so you can toast to the movie’s milestones. In the review I suggest when you might want to slam a bomb, but I’m not your fucking mother.

For those unfamiliar with the “Predator” universe, the 1987 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is the first in a series of films about an alien trophy hunter out to collect bits of humans to mount on its alien mantlepiece. It’s widely considered one of the 100 greatest action films of all time, filled with military bravado, gunfire and congealing corpses.

In preparation for the latest reboot, “The Predator” (2018), I’ve revisited the original to remind myself why it was so brilliant and to taper my expectations for the new one.

So, unbuckle your belt and get ready for “Predator” to take you deep into the jungle and shower you with its impressive load.In just two minutes you’re knee deep in the ultimate US special forces wet dream. Take a shot, sit back and revel in the exhilarating madness.

The film begins with a helicopter landing on the beach carrying a slew of bar-brawl men. One by one they pile out, falling away from the shot like muscle clad wrapping paper until you get to the oh so sweet centre. Shades, cigar and triceps. The opening line takes the words right out of everyone’s mouth, “You’re looking good, Dutch”.

Down that first fucking bomb and salute your Major. Arnie is here to wrap you around his vein pulsing arms and squeeze you like a frube.

As the leader of a top-class rescue squad, Dutch and his men are sent deep into a central American jungle. Their mission is to retrieve a couple of diplomats who’ve crashed on the wrong side of the map, accompanied by an old pal of Dutch’s, Dillion (Carl Weathers and his moustache). Silently they navigate their way through thick foliage until the team’s bloodhound, Billy (Sonny Landham) strays to discover the corpses of three skinned men. The bright red intricacy of the exposed flesh stuns in the green-grey murk of the jungle. The artistic work here gets a well deserved lingering shot letting your eye adjust with a promise that it’s going to be excellent and bloody here on out.

Keen to keep to the mission, they push on with such gentleness you prepare yourself for an expertly executed stealth manoeuvre. You couldn’t be more wrong. In just two minutes you’re knee deep in the ultimate US special forces wet dream. Take a shot, sit back – maybe stick a hand down your pants – and revel in the exhilarating madness of grenade launchers, rifles and fireballs.

The only sounds to break the jungle’s living orchestra are the screams of blood spilling and timeless one-liners.The sequence is pleasantly long with mercenaries regenerating just in time to be shot up in flames. Waltzing through, the team seems almost impervious to damage until a quick hit cuts Blain (Jesse Ventura). But as he straddles the second biggest monster in this film, a six-barrel rotary gun called “Ol’ Painless”, he epitomises the American spirit, “I don’t got time to bleed”.

With the job done, the team slides back into the jungle, taking with them Anna (Elpidia Carrillo) a guerrilla hostage. Unaware they aren’t the only thing sneaking in the bushes, the movie wastes no time and thrusts you from military parade in the park to silent, skin pinching sci-fi thriller as one by one Dutch’s men are hung, drawn and quartered by an invisible clicky assassin.

The sparse dialogue lets Alan Silvestri’s score and the sound of the jungle carry the hunt while Director John McTiernan use of the shadowy landscape helps layer on the suspense. Dug in like an Alabama tick, the camera keeps us on the powerful movements of the film’s thick built men, swerving and shrinking around them as they look and listen out for their lives.

Throughout the chase, the only sounds to break the jungle’s living orchestra are the screams of blood spilling and timeless one-liners – which you probably struggle to hear because you’re already slamming bombs and screaming “Get to the choppa”!

The nail-biting suspense is gratifyingly rewarded as the bodies begin to pile up and Dutch is tested to his absolute primitive limits. Culminating in his half-naked, fire-wielding war cry that ignites the films final showdown.

Satisfying bullet and bloodlust, this film ends without needing to explain itself or dedicate any energy to ‘what next’ moments. Even Dutch’s final words to his Alien foe, “What the hell are you,” is left unanswered. But who the hell cares. Things get blown up to fuck, guts are spilt and Ol’ Painless pumps you up with adrenaline so good you’ll want to take it to bed. And that’s all that really matters.

Run Time: 107 mins
Certificate: 18 – Violence, violence, violence
Dir: John McTiernan
Writers: Jim Thomas and John Thomas