action movie freak
John McTiernan (also directed Die Hard!)
The adventure of a
macho military rescue team dropped into an unknown jungle
scenario is the experience video games were invented to emulate,
and this is
the greatest of them all.
Each character was cool, different, and the sum total of their
skills and weaponry1
made the team seem unbeatable. The biggest part of that was that
they cast some larger-than-life
essential feature of the awesome '80s age of Action
Movies, and what is
too-often missing today: BIG MANLY MEN!
this movie over the top is even the monster is BAD ASS:
bigger, stronger, skilled, and armed to the teeth.
Each character was cool, different, and the sum total of their skills and weaponry1 made the team seem unbeatable. The biggest part of that was that they cast some larger-than-life Bad Asses—The most essential feature of the awesome '80s age of Action Movies, and what is too-often missing today: BIG MANLY MEN! What puts this movie over the top is even the monster is BAD ASS: bigger, stronger, skilled, and armed to the teeth.
DUTCH, his Rescue Team, and a former CIA operative
The General, a Hostage, and the Unknown Element
Heightening the suspense is the music (one of the best-ever Action Movie soundtracks). From the very first note, it stabs you with a shot of alarm, mystery, and anticipation, then becomes a take-charge military march as a helicopter approaches low over the ocean at sunset. This approach over water to join other military helicopters on a beach gives us a remote, secret location feel. With another helicopter's rotors spinning as they land, it makes it seem like there is some coming and going, like a base of operations. We see a man wearing a tie but with sleeves rolled up waiting with a two-star General in a dimly lit, crudely built shack, suggesting covert ops.
As Arnold's men dismount from the chopper there are poor villagers watching and an armed patrol. Arnold's men are in varying degrees of formal and informal civilian clothing, which makes us think they are former, not current, military. As the last man off the chopper, Arnold makes the Action-Hero BIG DOG Entrance lighting up a cigar. We know who's in charge.
They all get into Jeeps
(Arnold, the leader, protected in the middle Jeep of three), and
drive down the beach at surf's edge (haven't you always wanted
to do that?). The Jeeps carrying Arnold's men veer
away, presumably to unseen barracks, and Arnold is delivered to
meet with the General. We're hooked already.
Action Movie FREAKS
can't get enough of
all this paramilitary shit!
What happens next is Action Movie legend. Arnold recognizes his old buddy and the two 'shake hands' Action-Figure style. The competition for dominance begins. Arnold, as Dutch, is already demonstrating the characteristic wariness that will, ultimately, keep him alive. He got off the chopper last, he doesn't acknowledge Dillon until Dillon comes forward, he doesn't want the job if his team can't work alone, and when he finds out later there's no backup, says sarcastically "This is getting better by the minute." Of course Dutch wins the arm wrestling contest, and by now you've forgotten all about the space pod. He agrees to do the job, and is forced to let Dillon come along, and, supposedly, take charge.
next morning as the team heads into the jungle in helicopters,
armed to the teeth, we look forward to the inevitable gunplay
and the success of the "one-day operation". This is a team of
men at the top of their game, and all that muscle power makes
you feel sure of their chance for success. It's going to be
easy—they're big enough
and bad enough to take on anything, which makes it all the scarier
later when things start
Once the helicopters leave them in the jungle, the sound of the engines fading away is replaced by the soundtrack mixed with jungle noises of insects, wild animals, and native drums (genius!). We already feel out of place and in danger. Not to worry, we're with Dutch.
Poncho the scout, was the first to repel out and takes the lead. Dutch uses only hand signals to direct the men as they make their way through the jungle until they discover helicopter wreckage hanging from the trees! (This was pretty amazing looking for the time; talk about big trees and thick, strong vines!) We hold our breath a little as Poncho uses a grappling hook and rope to climb up and get inside. When he reaches the top, his exertion and the uncomfortable I-could-fall-any-minute look on his face really sells the risk in what he is doing. His examination reveals the chopper was shot down and stripped, the pilots executed. Poncho reports his assessment to Dutch, and it gives us an inkling that the job is not what they were told it would be.
Billy, the Indian, is the team's tracker. His tracking reveals a second team of men. "There were 12 guerrillas. They took the 2 men from the helicopter, but there's something else: Six men wearing US-issued Army boots. They came in from the north, and then they followed the guerrillas." The plot thickens. Dutch asks Dillon about this other team, but Dillon gives him a pat answer. I love how Dutch scoffs at Dillon's reply, then, as he passes Dillon, stares him down as if to say "bullshit".
seems a little creeped out and
asks Dutch "Do you remember Afghanistan?" Dutch answers
"I'm trying to forget it", acts casual, and smiles, but
once Poncho passes by him, Dutch seems afraid. This goes a long
way in putting the audience on edge too.
It gets kicked up another notch. Billy tosses Dutch some dog tags from a pile of guts. Looking at the tags Dutch says "Jim Hopper. Mac, cut 'em down." He calls Dillon aside. "I knew these men: Green Berets out of Ft. Bragg. Now, what the hell were they doing here?" We realize Dutch doesn't know the whole story. If Green Berets failed, what were they up against? When asked again, Dillon lies again. Now everyone is on edge.
You begin to wonder what way will they die?
Dutch doesn't doubt Billy's observations at all. He just doesn't know what to make of them at the time. That the helicopter was on surveillance, got taken out with a heat seeker, and the Green Berets skinned alive, throws the "simple set-up" idea out the window, and now it's more an element of what have we gotten ourselves into, with a little bit of too late now. There's no going back. For all the action in this movie, the dialogue is even better. It's conversations like the one above (and, of course, the acting) that help to keep you jumpy, and illustrate Dutch's faith in the skills of his team (as contrasted with Dillon's blind skepticism and repeated boisterous fits of denial).
"We move, five-meter spread, no sound."
[God, I love that line.
I love the whole military-speak: So economical. Reminds me of a
game we used to play when I was a kid called "Hit the dirt!"3]
Dutch's leadership is unquestioned as the team works like a well-oiled machine, moving fast, except for Dillon who appears to be a little rusty, and slips in the leaves, giving away their position. He looks like he expects to be killed at any second, and we are treated to another of an Action Movie Freak's favorite Predator moments courtesy of so-cool bad-ass Bill Duke as Mac:
Stupidly, Dillon looks like he's about to reply or explain (which would be making more noise), but then thinks better of it.
Billy finds the guerrilla camp and when the team catches up, Dutch gives hand signals for the team to fan out left and right. Then, without having to say a word, without having to look back or turn around, Dutch holds his gun out to the side and Poncho is there to take it and place in Dutch's empty waiting hand a pair of binoculars. Again, so cool (well-oiled machine)! Plus, you know Dutch would only hand over his weapon once he's covered.
The team is perched on a ridge above a military camp. Dutch slides/crawls on his stomach down to a big fallen tree trunk where he can observe the guerrillas down below unseen. He assesses their strength, and is witness to the execution of a hostage. His face does not flinch when the man is shot, but as he turns around and accepts what the team must now do, you see the sadness and resignation in his expression. The execution, and his reaction to it, helps us to not feel sorry for the guerrillas later when Dutch's team shoots the shit out of them (and then some). (Without the execution scene, his team would have seemed like what Dutch said they weren't "We're a rescue team, not assassins".)
With another simple hand signal of making a circle with his index finger, his men know to slide down the ridge to where he is. As they all crawl on their bellies through the leaves, you can't help but feel like a kid again playing soldier with your friends. [And if that wasn't your idea of fun when you were a kid, you're probably not an Action Movie Freak today.]
Again, with few words, Dutch gives them their instructions and they hit the guerrilla camp/munitions dump and make it look easy. This is what they are used to and what they are good at. They find a trip wire on a booby trap near the sentry tower and cut it. Then they take out the guards with knives. No alarm will be sounded. Dutch gets the brilliant idea to use an old truck the guerrillas have rigged up for power (to pump water from a well) as a delivery device for his satchel charge (it looks like a canvas-covered lunchbox with an "on" switch). He gets to show off by deadlifting the back end of the truck and sending it on its way to roll right into some shacks and blow up.
The all-out attack begins as he starts throwing
grenades, and then comes the team's full range of firepower in
action: All kinds of shit gets blown up; men catch on fire;
there are multiple falls; they blow up a helicopter;
Arnold does his Commando 'walk-and-shoot'' to
great effect; and the stunt men wriggle and die awesomely. The
team decimates the guerrillas in very little time. Even the
guerrillas' guns seem puny by comparison. We get to see
Jesse The Body
use "Ole Painless". (Ole Painless back then seemed as much
overkill as the
and Blain delivers
maybe the most macho Action Movie line ever:
Dutch's team did accomplish their mission, even though it was not what they were sent in to do. So Dillon used them; CIA, Russians, guerrillas, doesn't matter anymore except that more guerrillas are about half an hour away and closing on them, and the team is refused extraction from that point. They have to high tail it out of there to meet up with the chopper someplace farther away, and safer.
The one surviving guerrilla is a 'native' (Central American) woman named Anna, whom Dutch spared. Dillon wants take her along, but Dutch says she will give up their position every chance she gets, and the audience thinks so too. The movie was filmed in Mexico, but they use a fictional name. Where the movie takes place is relevant only to the fact that it has to have a remote jungle (a hunting ground for the Predator) inhabited by Spanish-speaking natives like Anna, for later when we hear her explanation of the legend of "el diablo casador de hombres".
As they leave the camp, Mac calls Dillon back to take a scorpion (he didn't know was crawling on him) off his shoulder, and then crushes it underfoot5 (nice little reminder that a tropical jungle is deadly).
From this, the Predator learns the words "Dillon", "turn
and "over here", and, how to laugh from Billy (Hawkins,
their communications expert,
makes a joke). The Predator is translating what the men say by
recording them and playing it back on some kind of voice
analyzer. It shows that he is advanced, and we hear his
weird mechanical alien voice. We know now that he is stalking
them and what he sounds like, even though the men don't, yet.
Sure enough, it isn't long before Anna tries,
unsuccessfully, to escape. This shows Dillon
really is rusty (he lost the
arm wrestling contest, he let Blain spit on his
shoe, his first team failed, and he gave away the real
purpose of the mission). With all the attention
they must have attracted by blowing up
everything, they seem to be moving more
cautiously than quickly. When Dutch said
"Double time it" to Poncho, I thought that
meant get way out ahead, but luckily, Poncho is
right there to stop Anna in her tracks with
another of my favorite Predator lines: "Ni lo
intentes!" (translation: "Don't even think about it!")
Though I Walk . . .
Dillon, impatient as usual, gets Poncho to watch Anna so he can go see what's going on up ahead with Dutch and Billy. Anna uses this opportunity to try to escape again, and whacks Poncho with a tree branch. She makes a run for it, and they are forced to give chase, dividing the unit. Arnold signals and whistles for the men to follow her. Hawkins is the closest. We see through the Predator vision how fast whatever it is watching them can move—like it was just waiting for its chance—as it swoops in to take advantage that two of them are away from the group. Hawkins tackles Anna and grabs her by the shirt and asks her to stop squirming. At that instant she stops, not because he asked, but because the Predator is right behind him. She sees and hears it, and now so do we, as we are introduced to its prism / camouflage effect.
When the Predator kills Hawkins, the blood sprays Anna in the face. One second Hawkins had ahold of Anna, and the next, the Predator kills him and drags his body away. We now see that it's Man-like, and how strong it is. Anna begins to crawl away. Poncho arrives and grabs her, pulling her up and turning her over. She's trembling, bloody, and "scared out of her mind". Realizing she's not going to go anywhere, Poncho follows a blood trail looking for Hawkins. The other men arrive. Dutch examines Anna's face, finding that the blood is not hers, as Poncho calls out . . . (what happens next always gives me goosebumps)
So where is Hawkins' body? They find only another pile of guts like with Hopper. Dutch tells Poncho to ask Anna what happened. Poncho fires questions at Anna. Anna tries to explain. "Selva se lo llevo." Poncho translates: "She says the jungle, it just came alive and took him." Dillon argues, but the funny thing is, you're thinking: that's accurate!
They start arguing about what happened and why Anna didn't try to escape until Dutch asks why Hawkins' radio and weapon are still there. Dillon makes the connection. "They did the same thing to Jim Hopper." Now they know it's not guerrillas. That changes the game. Guerrillas would have rescued Anna. There's a sense of inevitability and doom when Dutch says "I want Hawkins' body found. Sweep pattern. Double back. Fifty meters. Let's go." You just know they're not going to find it. They spread out.
We follow Dutch to a spot close to where blood is dripping from above onto some leaves but he doesn't notice it. The camera follows the trail of blood up some vines to Hawkins' gutted naked body hanging upside down very high up in a tree. We now know the Predator is what killed the first group of men, and that he is using the trees to move, but Dutch and his team still don't.
Firing until his gun runs of out ammunition, Mac throws it down and picks up Ole Painless. About this time the other men arrive and also start shooting.
This is WHAT WE LIVE FOR:
Big Men with Big Guns
Mac tells Dutch "I saw it". Expecting to find they killed someone, Dutch sends the men ahead to look around. Dutch and Dillon examine Blain's wound.
Dutch now asks Mac "Who did this?" The fact that Mac is so speechless that he doesn't answer, twice in a row, when Dutch says his name is pretty intense. Mac's shook up; all he can say is he saw something. The men return to report in. [Poncho is standing there and you can see Billy in the bush behind him. I have to say I love how in so many shots they show more than one team member. It gives a sense of space, relationally, and makes the unit seem cohesive, like they are aware all the time of where everyone else is.]
Again, Dutch's reaction makes the audience afraid. He seems incredulous and stands slowly. The music changes as he looks out into the jungle as if it's a new game, and they don't know what they are up against.
It's unbelievable that that much firepower
killed nothing but trees. They don't know yet, as the audience
and Anna does, that the Predator was wounded and is bleeding.
Dutch asks Dillon to radio in (I was thinking to tell them there will
be a delay, but Dillon is asking to be picked up early), and has the men set up a defensive position for
them to spend the night. He also says to put Blain's body
in his poncho and take him with them. The whole retreat has changed. They might have kept
but now they need to create a defense. They break out
the Claymores, trip wires, flares, etc., and make booby traps,
and we, and they, feel
safe . . . for a while.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell—But Everyone Knows
They cut to Anna as she touched the green blood left behind on a leaf. Dillon, oblivious as ever, barks at her. Wiping it off on her pants leg, she says nothing to him about the blood.
Mac included, get busy creating the defensive hold Dutch asked
for. Mac reports in to Dutch when the work is done. The
ever-vigilant leader on watch, Dutch acknowledges the closeness
between Mac and Blain. "Mac, he was a good
soldier." Mac replies "He was . . . uh, my friend."
At this point, Dutch (up in a tree) turns to look down at Mac. Mac may have just been saying Blain was his
friend, but it seemed
to me a little like a admission, and a lot like love,7
and I imagine that it would never have
'come out ' except in death. Now, Mac has a score to settle.
They cut back to Anna looking terrified. Everyone seems to have heard it but Dillon, who is barking orders into the radio. "Blazer One, I repeat: Extraction Necessary!" The men, however, are denied extraction and have to make it through the night. Dillon asks Mac what he saw. Mac really can't say more than it was camouflaged, the eyes he saw disappeared, and that he drew down and fired point blank at it emptying a full pack on the mini gun (200 rounds) and hit nothing. "Nothing on this earth could have lived; not at that range." (on this earth) Doesn't give them much to go on, so they turn to Anna. Dillon presses for more and demands Poncho question her. Poncho does not obey Dillon but looks at Dutch to give him permission (love that). After Poncho questions Anna in Spanish, he replies in English to Dutch, not Dillon.
Billy Bad Ass thinks they're all gonna
die!! Let that sink in too! True to their
characters, Dillon is afraid and he retreats into
denial, but Dutch is more accepting, more aware.
"You still don't understand, Dillon, do you? Whatever it is out
there, it killed Hopper, and now it wants us."
Hunting Season's Open
This realization is a game changer. Now is Anna's moment. Until now, maybe she was Dillon's "baggage", but Dutch, a great leader, knows he needs all the information he can get. He grabs Anna. When he demands answers, suddenly she speaks English and explains what she saw.
Dillon is still in denial, still naysaying. Asking her name, Dutch cuts Anna free with a warning that whatever it is, is hunting them all. This empowers her to save herself, and his trust makes her part of the group. It also terminates any semblance of Dillon's leadership. Dillon's only been playing at being in charge. Dutch is the real leader ("I need everyone").
When Dillon wisecracks, "So, what are you gonna try next, cheese?", Dutch
gets the idea to step into the 'mousetrap.' Dillon is so afraid, he
doesn't even want Dutch to be brave. Again, the
difference; Dillon would probably have sent one of the men, but Dutch steps up and goes himself. (Of course,
as he creeps along they have to show him almost
tripping on a wire so you realize he is inside the trap.)
He is there barely seconds, and nothing happens, so everyone,
including us relaxes, and you wonder for a split second, where
do they go from here? But then, just
as Dutch lowers his gun and turns around (of course) the thing was
sneaking up right behind him. The trap is sprung and the
Predator is hoisted up in a net so close to Dutch, he flinches. We all look to see what's in the net but it appears to be empty.
The only thing we see besides falling leaves is flashes of light
when the Predator starts firing his weapon. He gets free and
turns the tree branch they used for support on the net trap into
a weapon against them as the tree trunk is cut loose it swings
free and slams poor Poncho. The Predator takes to the trees with
incredible speed and ease, like
gravity has been deactivated for him. (Talk about a game
Another Trap is Set
We see the Predator's full shape for the first time: a huge, muscular lizard with a helmet on and some kind of reptilian dreadlocks. He re-camouflages himself and gets away. Hell bent on revenge, Mac takes off after him.
Thankfully, there is some comic relief in a classic Whiner moment as Billy tells Dutch that Poncho is "busted up pretty bad" and Poncho pipes up "I can make it. I can make it." Oh yeah, they're not leaving him behind if he can help it!
Mac picks a spot to stop and set up. Dillon is not far behind, he is coming through the bush with guns up and ready in both hands. When he stops with his back against a tree trunk to take a rest and look around he keeps both guns up and ready to shoot. This is probably the last moment his full-on fear is keeping him alive.
It's interesting how we hear the Predator's clicking 'voice' and Mac's 'voice' say "Turn around". This is a trick no doubt. What if Dillon had turned around? The Predator was probably right behind him at that moment, but then we hear Mac's real voice say "Over here" twice and Dillon ignores the command to turn around and moves toward the "over here".
Where Mac is holed up is fairly well concealed/protected. He reaches out and covers Dillon's mouth and pulls him back into his hiding spot. Mac has spotted the Predator. It's perched on a tree branch out in the open, rocking back and forth like "Here I am, come and get me". So, was it there the whole time, can it throw its voice? Was that Mac saying "turn around"? Could it have left the branch and gotten back that fast? These questions add to the what-are-they-up-against fear that has been building since the first skinned bodies were found.
Why Mac didn't try to shoot it right away when he first spotted it, I don't know, but when Dillon catches up to Mac, they decide to try to flush it out and sneak up on it. Of course, the Predator knew they could see him.
When Mac and Dillon split up to execute their plan, the Predator moves in so quickly, Mac's barely in position before the Predator takes him out with a headshot and almost no sound. There is an awesome blood-covered camera shot, and up angle on the Predator as Mac's leg twitches.
A little ways away, Dillon hears something but has no idea what, and keeps moving.
They cut to the remainder of the team, hightailing it through the underbrush. When Anna tries to help by taking Poncho's weapon, Dutch advises her to leave it because the Predator has not killed her until now because she was unarmed "No Sport". Another game changer. We thought the Predator might be killing for food, but if it's just a hunter killing for sport . . . that means it won't rest when it's full. It's not about being fed, it's just playing.
Dillon gets into position but sees nothing and nothing happens so he goes back to where Mac was and calls his name. Then he sees Mac's lifeless body as the Predator whispers, in Mac's voice "any time". Like I can take you at any time. He even flashes his eyes to show Dillon where he is. Alas, Dillon has made yet another mistake (this time it's fatal). His weapon was lowered. In the time it takes him to raise it and start firing, the Predator shoots off his arm. The severed arm keeps firing8 as Dillon screams. The second weapon Dutch gave him had been shouldered and with his remaining arm there isn't time to get it over his head and into firing position (he must be in incredible pain). The Predator is now upon him and he stabs Dillon with two wicked-looking, spring-loaded wrist blades. The blade pop out clearly visible but the rest of the Predator stays cloaked. That makes it extra scary. Dillon gets off a single shot as he pathetically stabs at the Predator with the gun then lets out a all-out blood curdling scream and fires up into the air.
They cut to the
distant sound of Dillon's death scream as the retreating group hears.
Dutch is so sadly resigned it's heartbreaking.
A Sporting Chance
The Predator is incredibly
fast and utterly ruthless. There is no hope. What we thought
started out as a romp-'em-and-stomp-'em epic has become a who-dies-next. Only four are left.
Although (you and) Mac and Dillon thought they had a fighting chance when they went off to kill the Predator, before it even gets to Billy, he already knows there's no chance. When the group hears Dillon's scream, Billy is bringing up the rear halfway across a fallen tree forming a bridge over a river. Billy discards his backpack, his gun, and his vest. Barechested, he wraps the neck-cord protection pouch around his right hand and pulls out his knife. (It's considered a machete although it has a oversized knife shape.) The music here is a real funeral march.
In doing this, Billy gives his life to buy time for the others. Maybe he hopes he will live, but he kicks the bravery up a notch by going hand to hand, no doubt thinking if he can get the creature that close to him he might do some damage. He dies like a warrior (or so we assume—they don't show it). You have to image what pain it takes for someone as brave as Billy to scream like that.
When the remaining three
hear it, Dutch and
Anna exchange a
moment of disbelief (us too) and fear (Poncho's gun shakes as he
points it back down the trail). You have to give them credit. They
spun around guns up and ready. With the death of Dillon and
Billy, you feel how completely out of their element the team is and
expect everyone, even Dutch, to be killed.
You marvel at how quickly the Predator closed the gap from Dillon to Billy. Then, faster than you imagine is possible, the Predator is already right next to the remaining three in a tree. Anna sees it first. It shoots Poncho in the neck, knocking him out and effectively taking him out of Dutch's grip. Anna tries to shoot back using Poncho's gun. Dutch stops her and knocks the weapon away spraying gunfire where the Predator used to be. You know that her arming herself is a natural reaction, but Dutch saves her by disarming her. "No sport." Remember? The Predator fires a shot to Dutch's shoulder, knocking him down and knocking the gun out of his hands. The Predator at any time could easily have killed Anna and Poncho, and Dutch, but he doesn't. Then Dutch's leadership skills take over and he screams to Anna delivering the most often-quoted screamed line from this movie:
"Run! Go! Get to the chopper!"; (in Arnold-speak: "Runnnnn Gooooohh. Get tooda chappppaaaaaa!")
His survival instinct is in hyperdrive, but he expects to die at any second. Leaving the weapon behind, at first he crawls but then he gets up and makes a run for it.
The Hunter becomes
The hunting may have seemed easy for the Predator up to this point, but for the creature to go to such lengths to follow Dutch, you know he is relentless. The mud saves Dutch because it camouflages his body heat. Now who's got cloaking! (I don't think the audience needed the dialogue "He couldn't see me." We got that message after the Predator moved on when Dutch wiped some mud off and stared at it.) The Predator wanders off.
We got our first good long look at the Predator after his camouflage got turned off as he got out of the water, and in realizing he has a weakness, we know he is not invincible. Dutch has a chance. Now begins another mini movie within the movie: Dutch versus the Predator. The chase is over and now it's a battle. Dutch uses his "Boy Scout bullshit" to set up traps and make weapons. I can't say enough about how cool it is that after all was said and done with all the other BIG MEN and their BIG WEAPONS, it boils down to the primitive!
Boy Scout Bullshit
Now Dutch uses a scream and lit torch to call the Predator out. You're not really sure how Dutch's trap is supposed to work exactly but you assume it's straightforward. He lights a bonfire, climbs a tree for a vantage point, lies down on a branch, and waits. The Predator takes the bait but Dutch has to change his plan because the Predator (oblivious) climbs the very same branch Dutch is hiding on practically on top of him. Dutch has a back-up plan here too and uses a vine to swing to safety in a nearby tree. The Predator knows he was there but can't see where he went. This gives Dutch time to get his arrows out (including one incendiary one he made with gunpowder from a shotgun shell). When the Predator starts to walk across the fallen tree over the bonfire Dutch made, Dutch shoots a fire strike right in front of him. Maybe he needs him to go in the other direction, maybe he missed intentionally, but the Predator retaliates by shooting off his shoulder cannon (aka "the blowdryer") like crazy. Dutch is forced to fall to the ground to get out of the way and hurts himself (there is blood in his mouth).
Now the Predator is attuned to movement and looks for clues to Dutch's whereabouts. There is a little chase. By now we have seen how easily and quickly the Predator can leap from object to object without worrying about weight or balance and he is there on top of Dutch in an instant. Dutch hides under a log and gets away. His next move is to throw a rock to bait the Predator so he gives away his position. Dutch throws some a spear he made and we hear the Predator cry out.
It appears that the Predator was wounded because a green blood trail appears. Dutch is baited into following the trail but the Predator has used his blood as bait. Dutch gets out of this bad position by setting off a homemade flare as a distraction so he can get away, but his movement still gives him away and the Predator's shot breaks the branch Dutch is swinging on and, whoops, Dutch falls into a creek and no more cloaking.
The second Dutch crawls onto dry land the Predator uses the wristblades to pin his head down. He picks Dutch up like he weighs nothing, slams him against a tree, and we see the height difference as he examines Arnold's skull features then drops him. The Predator was wounded. We see blood bleeding from his ankle as he walks away. We don't know why he didn't kill Dutch but we soon find out. He removes his weapons and his helmet and we see his face.
The Predator does his version of "bring it" and Dutch's response is "You're one ugly mother fucker." Dutch tries to hit it across the face with a log. What follows is kind of funny as Dutch tries different moves on the creature and it copies them in retaliation. When Dutch punches the creature, learning fast, it punches him back. The acting here is great through all that makeup. Now we see the fight alternately from outside and from the creature's vision. He toys with Dutch and beats the crap out of him. There is still some fight in Dutch though as he crawls toward his homemade trap. He gets into position and baits the creature but the creature catches on, and you think Arnold's trap is not going to work. Now we see that the log weight is supposed to spring the thing he set up with sharpened stakes. The Predator is not that dumb. He circles around to the side and Dutch, looking up, sees that the trap will still work in this position without the stakes and kicks loose the stick that was holding up an enormous log so it falls and squashes the Predator . . . but he's not dead yet. Arnold is about the smash his head with a rock but it looks so pathetic he drops the rock (mistake!), and asks "What the hell are you?" The Predator's reply is one for the definition of racism: "What the hell are you?"
The Predator still has one trick up his sleeve, a self-destruct mechanism. The countdown display reminded me of The Police's "Ghost In The Machine" album cover from 1981.
When he activates it, it takes Dutch
a second to catch on, but then he runs for his life as the
Predator laughs with Billy's laugh—how creepy is that?
Dutch makes it far enough away and the chopper nearby sees the
explosion. How they managed to find Dutch they never say.
How much time elapsed between when Anna and Poncho got picked up and
now . . . (just overnight?). The one and only bad thing about
this movie is how bad the bomb explosion looks, but nothing is
perfect (except this movie in EVERY other way). I would like
to see another movie this good someday, but until then, I will watch
it over and over and over. The soundtrack cannot be
overpraised in adding to the feel of this movie (toward the end
soundtrack reminded me of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf").
I love the look of appreciation in the faces of the General and Anna
when they see Dutch standing at the rendezvous point. You can
only imagine that they were leaving but saw the explosion and went
back to check for him.
I love this movie. It's got to be #1
or #2 on my TOP 5 with
The Rock, and
The Chronicles of Riddick :D. [And yes, I know JCVD was
supposed to be the Predator, but he wasn't blah blah blah.]
Kevin Peter Hall (7 feet 2 1/2 inches) did an
excellent job (RIP), I think they should have included his real
appearance in the credits . . . So here he is. He passed away
in 1991 at the age of 36 (he got AIDS from a blood transfusion
administered during surgery on critical wounds sustained in a major
car crash) leaving a wife and two children.
You have to recognize the ability to switch between
a number of weapons in video games was influenced this movie. Check
out how many weapons there were. This list is from the impossibly cool site
(Internet Movie Firearms Database).
(If you love this movie, this
site is like concentrated awesomeness and will give you a new
appreciation for what goes into weaponry making/modifying for movies.)
Somehow the dead
scorpion gets turned around 180 degrees while under his shoe.
7 It was no coincidence that they used the song "Long Tall Sally". When you hear it in the helicopter, you don't think anything of it until later. In the helicopter when Blain offers his chaw around and gets refused, he counters that "This stuff will make you a God-damned sexual tyrannosaurus" and Poncho jokes back "Strap this on your sore ass, Blain". That was my first inkling that there might be some man-on-man love going on. Later, when Mac starts singing the song while prepping for revenge on The Predator for killing Blain, the words hit home. "Gonna tell Aunt Mary about Uncle John . . . " (It's hard to understand the next words and there are many versions of the lyrics out there but I hear:) "She claims she doesn't use him but she has a lot of fun." I think Aunt Mary is Little Richard's gay alter ego and Uncle John is any gay man he's having sex with. When he says "Long, tall Sally, she's real sweet, she's got everything that Uncle John needs." I heard penis is real sweet and has everything the man Richard wants to have sex with needs (a promise to satisfy). "Well, I saw Uncle John with bald head Sally. He saw Aunt Mary comin' and he ducked back in the 'alley'. Do I really need to explain that? Anyway, no big surprise that this much manliness is going to bring in some homosexual subtext. If you think I'm reaching, check out this article that takes it waaaaay further.