Predator isn't a great film. I'm not talking about the newest film that released last week to extremely mixed reviews or the one before that or Predator 2 or either of the Alien vs. Predator movies (though each of those have their own issues), I'm talking about the original, 1987 John McTiernan film complete with its badass future governors bursting with testosterone, its "get to da choppa," and its creepy alien. In fact, the movie is more than a bit cheesy and more than a little over-the-top. So why do we love it anyway?
While Predator may not be a great film, it is a very good one. In fact, it may be one of the best B-movies ever made.
One ugly mother...
First, hands down, the Predator is one of the most badass aliens around. With its dreadlocks, high tech armor and gadgets, cloaking technology, and, of course, its distinctive mandibles, it is perfectly designed.
Apparently, an offhand comment by legendary filmmaker James Cameron led to the addition of the mandibles in the Predator design. If that's true, then we owe him a debt. The mandible make the creature distinct and purely alien. The addition of cloaking technology and "Predator-vision" add to that uniqueness and make the creature damned near impossible to find, much less kill.
The end result is that the Predator is as scary as they come, and definitely not something you'd want to meet in a dark alley or the jungle.
The Most Dangerous Game
But perhaps the coolest thing about Predator is the fact that, at its core, it is a loose adaptation of Richard Connell's famous short story, "The Most Dangerous Game." In both stories, the hunters become the hunted for no other reason than sport. The Predator isn't scary just because it's a creepy-looking alien with cool gadgetry, it's terrifying because it has no sympathy for a species it considers less than itself. In fact, it revels in the kill as much as any human hunter revels in taking down big game.
This lack of regard for humanity elevates what probably should be a forgotten B-movie to something more frightening and make it linger with you after the final explosion and credits roll.
What is your favorite part of the Predator series? Remember not everyone (including me) has seen the new movie, so no spoilers!