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Clemenza's Corner

John McTiernan, USA, 1987
Rating 4.0

Posted: January 28, 2003

If you've gotta go deep into the thick, hot jungles of Central America to pull off a daring hostage rescue, outnumbered hundreds to one, who would you want with you? Chuck Norris is busy. Steven Seagal won't return your call. Let me up the ante. In addition to the arboreal terrors of the jungle and the impossible hostage rescue, an occasionally invisible 8' alien is hunting you as well. Who ya gonna call? You call the Terminator and Apollo Creed. Oh it's on now, baby! It's all over but the cryin'!

Here's the situation report: Action movie icon Arnold Schwarzenegger leads a commando team (along with Carl Weathers) on said hostage rescue mission deep into the jungle. Get the hostages, shoot the bad guys, and haul ass to the extraction point, got it? Here's the problem: The hostages are killed by their captors, the bad guys get unmercifully mowed down, and that alien "predator" starts killing off members of the team one by one. Kudos to future Minnesota Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura for toting around a G.E. minigun and redefining the meaning of "a hail of gunfire." And deepest sympathies for his character's untimely end. No, no, I'm not giving anything away. Let's refer to Clemenza film rule #13: If you are a member of a team headed by the star of the movie, you will be killed. Even Apollo Creed...I mean, Carl Weathers, isn't spared, although his final scene provides another drop of cinematic bliss as his severed arm falls to the jungle floor clutching a submachine gun still wildly firing off rounds.

The stage is finally set for Ahhnuld to go mano-a-creature with the alien. As mentioned earlier, the predator is about 8', I'd say a lean 415 lbs, sharp claws, armed with laser cannon, dreadlocks and really bad teeth. A "cerebral" Arnold figures out that he can successfully camouflage himself by smearing mud all over his body, thus defeating the predator's infrared vision. (If you're slimy and covered with filth, you can't be seen. Does this mean that Mickey Rourke would have been invisible to the predator as well?) An intergalactic jungle brawl ensues. And wouldn't you know it? Eventually, The Arnold successfully "puts the hurt" on the alien and everyone goes home happy (everyone left alive, that is, which basically means Arnold).

Predator offers a wealth of riches: patented Schwarzenegger action with Arnold in the prime of his blow-'em-up career, a worthy opponent (from outer space, no less), and the greatest jungle shooting scene of all time, as the commando team cuts loose with mini-guns, machine guns and grenade launchers into a wall of brush. Don't forget severed arms, spine removal, and the detonation of what appears to be a low-yield nuclear device. All of this places Predator just two lesbians and one car chase short of a new cinematic benchmark for excellence.

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 Clemenza's Ratings Key:

 5.0: A drop of bliss

 4.0-4.9: Touchdown!
 3.0-3.9: Close, but...
 2.0-2.9: Box of Rocks
 1.1-1.9: Time bandit
 0.0-1.0: Soul scarring
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