Predator (1987)
Soon the Hunt will Begin

  Predator is a 1987 American science fiction action film directed by John McTiernan, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, and Kevin Peter Hall. It was distributed by 20th Century Fox. The story follows an elite special forces team, led by 'Dutch' (Arnold Schwarzenegger), on a mission to rescue hostages from guerrilla territory in Central America.

Unbeknownst to the group, they are being hunted by a technologically advanced form of extraterrestrial life, the Predator. Predator was scripted by Jim and John Thomas in 1985 and was originally titled Hunter.

Filming began in April 1986 and creature effects were devised by Stan Winston. The film's budget was around $18 million and when the film was released in the United States on June 12, 1987, it grossed $98,267,558.

Initial critical reaction to Predator was mixed, with criticism focusing on the thin plot. However, in subsequent years critics' attitudes toward the film warmed, and it has appeared on a number of "best of" lists.

Two sequels, Predator 2 (1990) and Predators (2010), as well as two crossover films with the Alien franchise, Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), have been produced.

Silver and Gordon first approached Arnold Schwarzenegger with the lead role. Schwarzenegger said, "The first thing I look for in a script is a good idea, a majority of scripts are rip-offs of other movies. People think they can become successful overnight. They sat down one weekend and wrote a script because they read that Stallone did that with Rocky.

Predator was one of the scripts I read, and it bothered me in one way. It was just me and the alien. So we re-did the whole thing so that it was a team of commandos and then I liked the idea. I thought it would make a much more effective movie and be much more believable. I liked the idea of starting out with an action-adventure, but then coming in with some horror and science fiction."

To play the elite band of mercenaries, both Silver and Gordon, with co-producer John Davis, searched for other larger-than-life men of action. Carl Weathers, who had been memorable as boxer Apollo Creed in the Rocky films was their first choice to play Dillon, while professional wrestler and former Navy UDT Jesse Ventura was hired for his formidable physique as Blain.

Native Americans Sonny Landham and Richard Chaves, and African-American Bill Duke, who co-starred alongside Schwarzenegger in Commando, provided the ethnic balance.

As a favor to the writer of Joel Silver's blockbuster Lethal Weapon, the studio hired screenplay writer Shane Black not only to play a supporting role in the film, but also to keep an eye on McTiernan due to the director's inexperience.

An alien spacecraft enters the Earth's atmosphere and jettisons a pod, which descends to Central America.

Some time later, Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) arrives in Guatemala with his elite team for an operation to rescue three presidential cabinet ministers abducted by guerrilla forces in Val Verde.

Dutch's old military buddy, CIA Special Agent George Dillon (Carl Weathers), steps in as a liaison and joins the team: Sergeant Mac Eliot (Bill Duke), weapons and ordnance specialist Blain Cooper (Jesse Ventura), trackers Billy Sole (Sonny Landham) and Jorge "Poncho" Ramirez (Richard Chaves), and radio man/medic Rick Hawkins (Shane Black).

The team is inserted into the jungle by helicopter and begin their hunt. They soon find the wreckage of a downed helicopter, and later, the remains of several skinned bodies identified to be an Army Special Forces unit, whose presence in the country mystifies Dutch.

They track the guerillas to a heavily defended rebel encampment, and Dutch's team takes out its inhabitants, except for a woman named Anna (Elpidia Carrillo) whom they take prisoner. Dutch is enraged when Dillon confesses the rescue mission had been a ploy to get his group to destroy the camp and that the men they found earlier disappeared in a failed rescue mission of two CIA agents.

As the team make their way to the extraction point, they are observed from afar by an unknown creature using thermal imaging.Anna briefly escapes, but, when Hawkins reacquires her, he is savagely murdered and skinned. Moments later, when the team is looking for Hawkins' killer, Blain is killed by the creature, alerting the team that they are being stalked by something in the jungle.

Anna offers the team insight into the creature; a predator, which has apparently become a local legend for hunting humans for sport. The team sets a trap to ambush the Predator, but it avoids capture, severely wounding Poncho in the process. Mac and Dillon are killed during the ensuing chase, and Billy is slain while making a stand to allow Dutch and Anna time to carry off the injured Poncho.

If it Bleeds we can Kill it

The Making of Predator

The Predator catches up to Dutch and engages in a short shootout with him, during which Poncho is shot and killed. Realizing the creature only attacks those possessing weapons, a wounded Dutch sends Anna unarmed to the extraction point.

Dutch narrowly escapes the creature by inadvertently masking his body's heat signature with mud.

He witnesses the Predator's true form when its active camouflage fails after being exposed to water.

Dutch then applies more mud, improvises various weaponry and traps, and baits the Predator into coming out of hiding by starting a large fire. Hearing Dutch's war-cry, the Predator soon arrives to investigate and eventually traps him.

It challenges Dutch to a final duel in hand-to-hand combat, discarding its electronic weaponry and revealing itself to be a monstrous, 8-foot-tall-hulking-alien before brutally beating him.

Once in the alien's grasp, Dutch manages to drop the counterweight from one of his traps, which falls and crushes the creature.

As Dutch asks the mortally wounded alien what it is, the creature mimics his question in garbled English and then activates a self destruct mechanism on its wrist device while laughing, gradually increasing its laugh into a human-like pitch. Dutch barely escapes the massive explosion and is later rescued by helicopter along with Anna as the only survivors.

Jean-Claude Van Damme | Predator | The Real Story

Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast as the Predator creature, the idea being that the physical action star would use his martial arts skills to make the Predator an agile, ninja-esque hunter.

When compared to Schwarzenegger, Weathers, and Ventura, actors known for their bodybuilding regimens, it became apparent a more physically-imposing man was needed to make the creature appear threatening.

Additionally, it was reported that Van Damme constantly complained about the monster suit being too hot, causing him to pass out.

He also had allegedly voiced his reservations on numerous occasions regarding the fact he would not be appearing on camera without the suit. Jesse Ventura's autobiographical book also alleges Van Damme intentionally injured a stunt man.

Van Damme was removed from the film and replaced by Kevin Peter Hall. Hall, standing at an imposing 7 foot 2, had just finished work as a sasquatch in Harry and the Hendersons.

Peter Cullen was invited by Fox to do creature vocals, and was initially reluctant since his throat was injured when he voiced King Kong for the 1976 film, but accepted the job after seeing the unmasked Predator. Cullen said his main inspiration were horseshoe crabs, which the Predator face reminded him of.