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starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Bill Duke
screenplay by Jim Thomas & John Thomas
directed by John McTiernan
by Walter Chaw Appearing the same year as Stanley Kubrick's great, enigmatic, dangerous Full Metal Jacket, the brilliant neo-noir of Alan Parker's Angel Heart, John Hughes's devastating Planes, Trains & Automobiles, and what many feel is the quintessential film of the 1980s, Wall Street, John McTiernan's Predator is, in plain truth, one of the two real quintessential films of the decade, a distinction it shares with Back to the Future--pictures, both, that initially appear to toe the Reagan era's line of worship at the altar of Eisenhower's mythological Americana only to reveal that lost wars cannot, in fact, be re-fought and that the Good Old Days were always a little violent and randy. It's a film, this Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle all of oiled musculature and technological fetishism, of unusual kinetic power and intelligence, one that sets out to sate the popular audience's hunger for such entertainments in the age of the modern blockbuster before leaving its hero battered, broken, frightened, alone. Its kinship is to movies from the period like Aliens and, yes, Rambo: First Blood Part II--films that understand that when Shane rode away at the end, he was probably just looking for a place to die.