July 1, 2022

behind the muscular war film, the perfect survival

With his big muscles and his big beast, Predator is still today one of the peaks of action cinema of the 80s, while managing to hijack its principles.

When it was released in 2018, The Predator was received quite coldly by fans of the alien hunter. It is true that the tormented production of the project saw itself on screen, to the point of lessening the impact behind the camera of Shane Black, former actor and script doctor of John McTiernan’s inaugural masterpiece.

Nonetheless, in revisiting the cult franchise to which he contributed, Black brought to the center of his film a wonderful idea: a cast of soldiers with varying degrees of post-traumatic stress. An enlightened proposition, which has never been explored by the other sequels of the first film. And it’s astonishing, since Predator carries with him a fascinating look at the military trauma.

Arnold Petit will grow up …

Welcome to the Jungle

To better understand this reading of the 1987 feature film, it is important to go back to its origins. Produced in the heart of a proud and patriotic Reagan cinema, Predator was first born out of a studio joke, judging that Rocky Balboa could no longer have a serious opponent after the fourth installment of his adventures. Some producers had fun saying that the boxer should at least fight an alien, which a handful of writers ultimately took seriously.

Once king producer Joel Silver was hit, John McTiernan was hired following the success of his feature film Nomads. Predator will be the first blockbuster of his career, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is not long in joining the merry gang, convinced by the concept of this war film bending towards science fiction. However, the presence of the former bodybuilder brings with it some unspoken rules, in particular related to the cardboard Commando. Nagging action and well-felt one-liners, this is what must contain Predator.

Predator : Photo Arnold SchwarzeneggerThe last chance at the last moment

However, the great mischief of the film is to achieve precisely hijack the codes of the “Schwarzy movie”. With his badass introduction and epic music by Alan Silvestri, Predator starts off on hats, and inhales testosterone by sublimating a handshake that turns into an arm wrestling and other keké attitudes of his special forces squad. Here we are in a certain comfort zone, alongside characters who assume themselves like cinema beings, soldiers self-convinced of their immortality. The hypertrophied muscles of Dutch, the protagonist played by the future governor of California, are the most obvious symbol of this.