Review By Liam O Brien, 4 out of 5 ?f it bleeds, we can kill it?
Great news! The Aliens Vs Predator picture is not far off now! Finally, the Predator can return (we hope) and spawn some more violent but damn cool movies. Predator III anyone? A vs P will have to be damn good mind you, to break free of the Alien movies shadow of quality and that of this 1987 spectacle.
The ?ind of action movie they don? make any more?is such a film because of several things- one, Schwarzenegger is at the peak of his physical powers, totally taking over the picture until the showdown with the Predator at the blistering finale- two, the creature itself- a Rick Baker classic, totally memorable and completely deadly, three- Arnolds fellow soldiers, Carl Apollo Creed Weathers, Jesse Ventura, Bill Duke, Shane ‘wrote Lethal Weapon’ Black etc- all brilliant. Finally, reason four, John McTeirnan is directing- he too at the height of his power.
The film is basically one big action cue- the ?lot?being that Major Dutch Shaefer (Arnie) and his rescue team of muscle bound, gun totting heroes have been sent into the South American jungle to track down a kidnapped cabinet minister. One ?lot twist?later and the hunters have become the hunted- stalked by cloaked titular alien, picked off one by one in various violent/gory and amusing ways.
The real strength of this film is that the pace never slows. Alan Silvestri? score is about as subtle as an air raid in a cemetery, but it sure as hell works and it keeps the blood pumping. McTiernan shows the flair and feel he used to great use in Die Hard and The Hunt For Red October, giving each character plenty to do- each is a loss when there inevitably blown away by the creature. The script is peppered with quotable one liners (? aint got time to bleed? every one has their favourite soldier- mine has to be Ventura? gatling gun wielding, tobacco spitting Sgt Blaine.
But in the end this is Schwarzenegger? show. Only he, in his prime could realistically win over the Predator (anyone who has seen Danny Glover’s showdown with the alien in Part II will agree) only he could carry the twenty minute finale saying only a few lines. When the bone crunching final reel does come, the full force of each blow can be felt. The end is neither upbeat or happy, even though Dutch beats the baddie and survives a nuclear blow out, its still ending on a downer.
The effects are good for the late eighties- the cloaked Predator still looks good- another plus point, the use of an invisible villain and the now famous ?redator vision? seeing through the heat spectrum what the creature sees is a masterstroke. Overall this is simply a pitch perfect action adventure- the jungle provides a great setting, the cast, small as it is are all perfectly cast, the many action cues (the guerrilla bas ambush, seeing Carl Weathers arm getting blown away, the final one on one) still kick ass, and in the Predator, a villain that is so good, he? coming back in Aliens Vs Predator.
THE DISCS: The first disc offers a directors commentary- in Mc Tiernan, I have discovered possibly the film worlds answer to The Fast Shows Rowly Birkin QC- the man mumbles his way through the whole film, but does drop a nice little titbit of Predator related info along the way. Disc two is well filled out- a nice documentary ?f It Bleeds We Can Kill It?with contributions from several cast members from 2001- sadly though, Arnie appears only through archive material. Seven nice featurettes (that can be watched as an hour long feature) fill out the disc, with topics ranging from the camouflage paint used to ?ld Painless?Blaine? gatling gun. The package is completed with outtakes, a deleted scene, sfx segments, Predator camouflage testing, photo galleries and a profile on the creature? weapons and gadgets. Overall a great package- would have been nice to have a trailer or two though. ANY GOOD?: Classic action cinema. Schwarzenegger and his team kick ass, but the Predator itself kicks more. And now he? the Governator ? it? a timely reminder of how good the Schwarz actually is. Nice extras, great film. Brilliant. 4.5 OUT OF 5