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Film / Predator

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It's about hunting.
"If it bleeds, we can kill it."

Predator is a 1987 sci-fi action/horror film directed by John McTiernan. Its groundbreaking special effects, big-budget action sequences, and unique premise contributed to its success, which ultimately spawned the multimedia Predator franchise.

Major Alan "Dutch" Schaeffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his elite mercenary "rescue" squad are sent to retrieve a cabinet minister held hostage in a Banana Republic during the late years of the Cold War. After slaughtering a group of guerrillas, they discover the hostages are actually CIA agents and their employers have lied to them. But all of that takes a back seat once a mysterious, invisible enemy with weapons not of this Earth starts killing off Dutch's team one by one...

Predator is considered the manliest movie ever made, and it's hard to argue against the point: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, and Jesse Ventura had major roles in the film, and are all very big, strong guys who are prone to bleed and sweat (though one of 'em in particular ain't got time to bleed). On the other hand, the emphasis on big, sweaty men being macho with each other in the jungle also makes it one of the most unintentionally homoerotic films of all time, perhaps second only to Schwarzenegger's own Commando.

As a caveat to all of this, however, the film also puts the manliness towards a Genre Deconstruction, because it all vanishes in an instant when the soldiers are no longer the top predators.

Predator ain't got time for tropes:

  • Agent Scully: Dillon has the most trouble buying that anything non-human is after them until he sees it for himself.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Predator came to Earth simply to play "safari" with sentient prey. It taunts its prey with their own words several times. Then there's the fact that upon being defeated by Dutch's trap, it tries to blow both of them up with a self-destruct, mimicking Billy's laugh as it does so.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The Predator can record human speech, and plays some recordings back several times over the course of the film. It seems to either understand the speech or intuitively guess its meaning, given how appropriately it chooses those moments.
  • All There in the Script: Although they are never mentioned in the final film, the full names of the main characters in the original script are Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer, Staff Sergeant George Dillon, Sergeant Mac Eliot, Sergeant Blain Cooper, Sergeant Billy Sole, Corporal Poncho Ramirez, and Corporal Rick Hawkins.
  • AM/FM Characterization: The squad blares "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard during the helicopter ride.
  • Ammunition Backpack: Blain's gatling gun comes with an entire backpack magazine to feed it.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Dillon has an arm blasted off by the Predator, still firing the gun it was holding while still attached.
  • Art Imitates Art: Stan Winston was inspired by a painting of a Rastafarian warrior in the producer's office.
    "I saw that and I thought it was a great starting concept for the Predator. I started drawing and redesigning this alien character with quills that in silhouette would look like dreadlocks. During this same period of time, Aliens had come out, and Jim Cameron and I were flying to Japan to participate in a symposium about the movie. We were sitting next to each other on the plane, and I was sketching and drawing the Predator."
  • Artistic License – Biology: A creature that sees in infrared hunting during the day in a tropical jungle, where the ambient temperature is above 100 F, thus camouflaging any humans from his sight. This was lampshaded by McTiernan in the commentary, when he explained how they attempted to film the Predator's vision live on set, and discovered that it was basically like trying to film in backlit fog. In the end, they had to do it in post. The Predator's mask contains filters to focus on the heat it wants to see (that of living beings); in the climax there's a POV shot of the Predator taking its mask off, and the cool blue background transitions to everything being equally bright red.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Mac's threat to Dillon:
      Mac: You're ghosting us, motherfucker. I don't care who you are back in the world. You give away our position one more time, I'll bleed you, real quiet, an' leave you here. Got that?
    • Dutch's now famous declaration:
      Dutch: If it bleeds, we can kill it.
    • Before Dillon goes to fight the Predator:
      Dutch: You can't win this, Dillon.
      Dillon: Maybe I can get even.
  • Badass Crew: Dutch's team is an elite commando unit.
  • Badass Native: Billy and Poncho.
  • Bash Brothers: Blain and Mac served in the same unit in Vietnam.
  • Berserker Tears: Mac cries as he unleashes every bullet he has on the Predator following Blain's death.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Dutch uses stealth tactics to defeat the Predator, though it isn't enough to win outright.
  • Being Watched: While Dutch and his team head for the rendezvous point, the Magical Native American Billy senses the titular creature watching them from the trees.
    Billy: [staring to where the Predator is watching from] Do you see anything? Up there?
    Dutch: Nothing. What do you see?
    Billy: [after a moment of silence] I guess it's nothing, Major. [continues walking, with Dutch looking at him in confusion]
  • Better to Die than Be Killed:
    • Billy provides an interesting variation. Before he challenges the Predator to direct combat, he cuts his own body to deny the Predator the chance to claim first blood.
    • After the Predator is beaten and mortally wounded by Dutch, it decides to go out on its own terms by activating its Self-Destruct Mechanism to take out itself, its gear, Dutch, and a good-sized portion of the jungle.
  • Big Bad: The titular Predator.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Poncho says this ("¿Qué?") when Anna told him "the jungle came alive and took [Hawkins]".
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Dillon. He uses his Fire-Forged Friendship with Dutch to get everyone sent to South America to undertake a mission under false pretenses.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Dutch and Anna escape and the Predator is killed, but Dutch's entire team has been killed as well. The forlorn look Dutch gives at the very end makes it perfectly clear this sacrifice is too much for him.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted, technically. Though played straight From a Certain Point of View, as Shane Black's character does indeed die first!
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: The Predator's gauntlet comes equipped with a pair of razor-sharp Wolverine Claws. They're even somewhat pliable, since the Predator wraps them around Dutch's head while sneaking up on him.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Predator has a fairly perverse sense of hunter's honour. Easy kills are skinned and strung up in the trees to rot. Billy is quickly dispatched when he challenges the Predator in direct combat (and also cuts himself to deny the creature the chance to claim first blood), but he apparently earns the creature's respect, and it takes his skull back to the ship as a trophy after it kills him. The Predator doesn't target Anna because she is unarmed and relatively helpless, but when the Predator catches Dutch unarmed, it strips away its gear to fight him on the same technological level.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: A strange example from the film's production: Fox's insurance company demanded that Sonny Landham could only be cast if he was accompanied by a bodyguard. Not to protect him, but to protect everyone else from him.
  • Booby Trap: Honestly, this film contains so many painstakingly intensive (and almost fetishistic) trap-building montages that it could be called Traps vs. Predator.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. The team reloads a few times, but they never seem to run low on magazines, either. Zigzagged with Blain's minigun Ol' Painless. The gun is fired for a ridiculously long time, far longer than would be realistic, before it actually does run out of ammo and is left behind. Played Straight in the attack on the rebels. None of the team reloads for the attack, even Dutch isn't shown reloading his single-round grenade launcher.
  • The Cameo:
    • Bodybuilder Sven-Ole Thorsen appears as a Russian officer.
    • The helicopter pilot is the Predator himself, Kevin Peter Hall.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Hawkins starts off afflicted with this trope, though it doesn't help that he likes telling them to Billy, who seems to not possess a sense of humor at all. Averted later (somewhat) when he tells yet another vagina joke to Billy, who this time breaks character and lets loose a loud, hearty series of guffaws (which the Predator later mimics).
  • Cat Scare:
    • Billy gets startled by a flock of vultures a second after seeing skinned human bodies hanging from the trees.
    • Blain hears rustling foliage and readies his gun, only to have it turn out to be a small animal. He rolls his eyes and turns away... then promptly gets killed by the Predator's plasma gun.
  • Caught in a Snare: The team sets up a net trap to catch the Predator. It works, but not for long — it cuts itself free in seconds.
  • Cherry Tapping: While future films established Predators as a Proud Warrior Race culture, in the first film the Predator disarming itself to pummel an unarmed Dutch just comes across as toying with its prey.
  • Clifftop Caterwauling: Dutch, to attract the Predator into his trap.
  • Creator Cameo: Right after the alien blows itself up, the helicopter pilot commenting on the explosion is Kevin Peter Hall, the man who wore the Predator suit.
  • Crushing Handshake: When Dutch and Dillon meet after many years apart, they crush each other's hands in an competition of alpha male superiority. After the camera lingers on their bulging arms for a few seconds, Dillon finally surrenders.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dutch and his team wipe out the guerrillas early in the film. Then the Predator hunts down and kills Dutch's team one by one while suffering hardly a scratch. The battle between Dutch and the Predator also starts this way, as the Predator completely wrecks Dutch in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Daylight Horror: Dutch's team are all killed off in broad daylight, with only the finale taking place at nightfall.
  • Dead Man's Trigger Finger: A variant — the titular creature blasts Dillon's arm off with its shoulder cannon. The arm falls to the ground, with the dead hand still pulling the trigger of the weapon it's holding and the gun still firing.
  • Death by Looking Up: Technically, the Predator dies moments later when it blows itself up, but it is fatally injured by Dutch's trap when it looks up just in time for a suspended log to drop on its head, crushing it and leaving it a broken heap that has only enough strength left to activate its self-destruct bomb and laugh.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Mac goes through one of these after Blain's death. Billy seemingly resigns himself to death the moment he surmises something other than a human is hunting them.
  • Digital Destruction: The "Ultimate Hunter" Blu-ray release relied so heavily on DNR that its version of the film boasts no grain — but Arnold and Carl Weathers now look more like they got a fine wax job in a few scenes (especially the beginning).
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Our protagonists' trip into the jungle is first undertaken to rescue some men from a group of South American guerrillas. Soon after the camp is destroyed, a human-hunting alien shows up.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Many parallels have been made between this film and The Vietnam War: American troops fighting in a jungle against a stealthy, inscrutable fighting force.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Inverted. Hawkins' fumbling attempt to explain one of his jokes ("You see, because there's an echo...") is the only reason the joke works at all.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock
    • Blain does this after letting "Old Painless" out of its bag, by cranking the multi-barrels left and right (this is pure Rule of Cool — in reality, doing this would probably fire off any rounds that were already chambered).
    • Dutch hears Anna cock her pistol as she's sneaking up on him, giving him time to smack her in the face with the butt of his gun.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Billy is shown nervously fingering a pouch on a cord around his neck (presumably a medicine pouch) when he senses the Predator near. During his You Shall Not Pass! scene, he throws away his rifle, rips the pouch from his neck, and wraps the cord around his hand so his palm will have a better grip on the machete he then draws to take the Predator on.
  • Dwindling Party: The special forces team starts off with seven people and picks up an eighth with Anna. Then the killing starts. By the end of the film, there's only one of the original team left.
    • Hawkins: stabbed and gutted by the Predator, who hangs his body upside down in a tree
    • Blain: shot in the back by the Predator
    • Mac: shot in the head by the Predator, leaving his brains strewn all over the jungle floor
    • Dillon: arm shot off by the Predator, then impaled
    • Billy: Killed Offscreen by the Predator with unknown means and his skull taken as a trophy
    • Poncho: shot in the head by the Predator, which in his case is Bloodless Carnage
  • Dying Smirk: After being defeated, the Predator activates a mini nuclear bomb in his arm and gives a booming laugh as Dutch runs to escape the blast area.
  • Enemy Mine: Anna the rebel helps the team when she realizes they are all being hunted.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When the Predator approaches a defenseless Dutch, it passes him by. Dutch is puzzled by this slight, but then he looks at the mud covering him, and:
    Dutch: He couldn't see me...
  • Evil Laugh: The Predator gives one hell of a menacing cackle before it dies, especially since his laugh is a hideously distorted mimic of Billy's laughter. It's probably safe to say that this laugh will haunt Dutch for the rest of his life.
  • Fair-Play Villain: The Predator doesn't attack the unarmed, given they're not much sport; it spares Anna because she has no weapon. It later gives Dutch a better shot at him by stripping off its mask and shoulder cannon even though it had him at its mercy. It comes across more as sadism than honor in this context, however, as the Predator's subsequent beatdown of Dutch is almost entirely one-sided.
  • Fast-Roping: Used at the beginning and justified because the helicopter doesn't have enough room to set down in the dense jungle.
  • Flaying Alive: Sort of. The Green Beret team at the beginning was skinned, but given the Predator's methods of taking trophies, it was almost certainly done after death.
  • Gatling Good: The famous GE M134 minigun "Ol' Painless", wielded by Jesse Ventura, was the first handheld minigun ever to be used on film (or in any fiction for that matter). The actors who fired it had to be braced just off-screen, lest the recoil knock them on their ass. And that was just firing blanks. They also had to connect it to an external power source off-screen via a wire that went down his pants. Jesse himself has stated that while the gun was suspended from an off-screen crane in early takes, he later managed to fire it without the crane's help:
    Jesse Ventura: You just had to grit your teeth and hold on. It's like firing a chainsaw. It's fucking ridiculous. Why the fuck would anyone want to use something like that?
  • Genre Deconstruction: Of the 80s action movies. Go to the "Analysis" page for details. This is definitely the first, and possibly only, movie where audiences get to see Arnold Schwarzenegger in a hand-to-hand fight where he gets absolutely thrashed.
  • Genre Shift: The film starts off as the usual Cold War military shoot-em-up action flick with hostages and CIA spooks, but morphs into sci-fi action/horror halfway through.
  • Give Me a Reason: Anna (the captured guerrilla) tries to escape from Dillon, her captor. After she's recaptured, he says to her, "Try it again...please," a threat of what he'll do to her if she does.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns:
    • Dutch's squad is outfitted mostly with "upgraded" and/or modified Western military firearms. Dutch uses a modified M16 with a under-barrel M203 grenade launcher attachment, Billy also uses a modified M16 with an under-barrel pump-shotgun attachment, and Mac uses a short-barrel M60E3 light machine gun, while the rest of the squad initially use what are supposed to be MP5s (really heavily modified civilian HK94A3 prop guns). Big Guy Blain switches to a M134 Minigun prior to assaulting the rebel base, while Poncho uses a customized Grenade Launcher as a secondary weapon. Their use of typically "bad" "advanced" weapons is Justified across the board, as the movie runs on Rule of Cool and Rated M for Manly, while also establishing just how much of a threat the titular alien hunter is as it cuts down the squad members one by one.
    • The Banana Republic rebels naturally use a variety of AK and Dragunov variants, clear "bad" guns.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first act is dedicated to the mission to rescue Dillon's crew. Then the Predator attacks Hawkins.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Anna throws a handful of leaves in Dillon's face while trying to escape.
  • Hand Cannon: Dutch, Poncho, Mac, Billy, and Hawkins all carry Desert Eagle handguns, though no one ever uses them.
  • Hand Signals: While traveling through the jungle and in combat, Dutch uses gestures (along with an occasional whistle) in lieu of speech to give information and instructions to the members of his hostage rescue team.
  • Hand Waved: The fact that the Major in charge of the most trusted rescue squad has an incredibly strong Austrian accent strikes something of an odd note (yes, they're mercenaries, but they're all former soldiers. "Dutch" was stationed in Fort Bragg), and even more so when one considers that absolutely no one mentions it. He's affectionately called "Dutch", and that's the end of the matter. If he was supposed to have spent some time abroad... surely "Deutsch" would have been a better choice? Maybe "Dutch" is a slightly butchered pronunciation of "Deutsch"?
  • Handy Cuffs: The captured rebel Anna has her hands tied in front of her, and takes advantage of it to escape. Somewhat justified because the team is traveling through steep, rough terrain, and she needs her hands in front of her to hold onto things and avoid falling.
  • Hard-Work Montage: Two; the team preparing traps to catch the Predator, and Dutch for their one-on-one confrontation.
  • Heal Thyself: The Predator has an advanced medkit that it uses on itself after Dutch's team opens up on it in a massive More Dakka barrage. It dodges out of the way at the beginning of the salvo by jumping into the trees, but still takes one bullet near its knee. Notably, the medkit isn't lasers that automatically regenerate tissue — it's more advanced, but has recognizable analogues to a human medkit. The Predator is not amused when it has to cinch the wound closed.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Dillon.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • "I'm gonna have me some fun... I'm gonna have me some fun..." Mac keeps it more or less together for the most part after Blain's death, but the Heroic BSoD doesn't kick in until Poncho is nearly killed, causing Mac to snap.
      "I got you, motherfucker! I got you! [runs after the Predator] I'M COMIIING!!"
    • Anna has this when Hawkins is killed in front of her, splattering his blood on her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Billy makes a last stand on a log bridge to give the rest of the team time to escape.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Blain and Mac.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: While widely considered the Trope Codifier, it's actually something of a subversion -– not only are both sides of different species, but one is more advanced technologically than humans, much like humans are to actual Earth animals.
  • I Call It "Vera": Blain's portable minigun "Ol' Painless".
  • Inevitable Waterfall: After Dutch falls in the river, he immediately is shown falling down a series of waterfalls.
  • Invisibility Cloak: The Predator uses advanced technology that renders it practically invisible.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • When Dillon gets angry that no one's going to cross the border to exfiltrate them, Dutch reminds him that they are "expendable assets", just as Dillon said to Dutch when justifying him sending them out on false pretenses.
    • Both the squad and the Predator itself get scenes where they're firing blindly into the jungle in the vain hope of hitting their target.
  • I Work Alone: Justified, as Dutch says that his team works alone; even though Dillon is an old Vietnam War buddy, he's not used to working with them, and Dutch and the others like it even less that he's in charge of the mission.
  • Jump Scare: After coming out of his hiding place to draw out the Predator, Dutch is about to turn back when the (still invisible) Predator suddenly gets caught in their trap.
    Dillon: SHIT!
  • The Ketchup Test: Possibly justified, considering Predators bleed fluorescent green.
  • Killed Offscreen: Billy's death isn't seen, and only his scream is heard. Later, we see his body as the Predator takes his head and spinal cord as a trophy.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The Predator's presence is dealt with very seriously, and drains quite a bit of the campy comedy out of the movie when it arrives. It's rather fitting, considering the team members are in their comfort zone against human opposition, hence their general levity, but once the Predator turns up and makes it clear they're outmatched, they find themselves in a much more dire and unfamiliar scenario.
  • Laser Sight: A variation where the Predator uses a three-dot version to triangulate the aim of its shoulder cannon. From its point of view it appears as three red lines intersecting to form a triangle at the moment of firing.
  • Lured into a Trap: Dutch attempts this after retreating from the Predator by trying to lure it into an obvious choke point lined with sharpened wooden stakes. The Predator doesn't fall for the obvious Schmuck Bait, but in avoiding it unknowingly steps right underneath a counterweight trap he had previously constructed, allowing Dutch to spring it and crush the Predator.
  • Magical Native American: Billy senses the presence of the alien long before anyone else does. Justified as he is their scout. Still played straight, however, as Billy's reactions indicate that he somehow understands the otherworldly nature of their foe.
    Billy: I'm scared, Major.
    Poncho: Bullshit! You ain't afraid of no man.
    Billy: There's something out there waiting for us. And it ain't no man. [cocks his gun] We're all gonna die.
  • Majorly Awesome: Major Dutch, our hero.
  • Man on Fire: At least two guerrillas are shown being set ablaze. One tries to shoot Dillon, who shoots him dead. Later, after he and Dutch shoot a helicopter trying to escape and blow it up, one of the pilots gets out screaming before succumbing to the fire.
  • Meaningful Echo: At the beginning of the film, Mac's friend Blain plays a tape of Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" on the chopper flight to the drop zone. Much later, during Mac's Heroic BSoD, he repeats the lyrics in an insane mantra.
  • Missed Him by That Much:
    • After Hawkins is taken by the Predator, the team go searching for his body. The camera pans upward, following a trail of dripping blood, to reveal his naked body strung from a tree above their heads.
    • On the villainous side — during the climax, the Predator climbs down through the trees to investigate the fire Dutch has set...and thanks to his being coated in mud to mask his body heat, it doesn't even realize it passed him by. Or rather, crawled right over him, in a rather harrowing shot where the audience is treated to the alien's camouflage effect moving across Dutch's mud-covered body.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Almost every male character is shirtless at some point, and all are well-built and muscled. Dutch in particular spends the climax of the movie shirtless.
  • Neck Lift: The Predator grabs Dutch by the neck, picks him up, and presses him against a tree, examining him closely before administering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Notably averted. In his DVD commentary, director John McTiernan makes a point of noting that the scorpion that Mac stabs and later stomps was a real one. Also, earlier, one of Dutch's men kicks a vulture.
  • No Waterproofing in the Future: The Predator's cloaking device immediately shorts out if it ever comes in contact with water.
  • Nonindicative Name: As wouldn't be addressed until the fourth film in the franchise, calling the antagonist a "predator" is technically a misnomer. It doesn't actually eat the enemies it kills, just skinning them and taking trophies. Rather prominently, there isn't a Title Drop when they discuss the alien, instead referring to it as a hunter instead of a predator.
  • Noodle Incident: At least two:
    • At the beginning, when Dutch and Dillon are introduced:
      Dillon: I heard about that little job you pulled off in Berlin. Very nice, Dutch.
      Dutch: Good old days.
      Dillon: Yeah, like the good old days. Then how come you passed on Libya?
      Dutch: We're not assassins.
    • When attacking the guerrillas:
      Poncho: Do you remember Afghanistan?
      Dutch: Trying to forget it.
  • Not Enough to Bury:
    Dutch: Did you find Hawkins?
    Poncho: I... can't tell.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: It's an Arnie movie, so that's not much of a surprise really. See Hand Waved above as to why that's a bit strange here, though.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Predator is very slowly revealed, and at first all we see are its victims and first-person thermal images of it stalking the main characters. Unfortunately, the exact nature of the enemy is kinda spoiled for us immediately with the opening shot of a clearly inhuman spaceship.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: By the end of the film, Dutch and the Predator are the only ones left, playing a primal cat-and-mouse game with traps. Upon its defeat, Dutch walks up to its fallen form and says...
    Dutch: What the hell are you?
    The Predator: What the hell are you?
  • Not So Stoic: The Magical Native American Billy is portrayed as The Stoic, but he out-of-character guffaws at a vagina joke in a Late to the Punchline moment.
  • Novelization: The film was novelised by Peter Monette. More details here.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • While Blain is sneaking into the guerrilla camp, he nearly triggers the tripwire on a claymore mine.
    • In the finale, when the Predator smashes a log used by Dutch with its bare forearm.
  • Ominous Adversarial Amusement: After Dutch incapacitates the title creature, it activates a device on its wrist and starts laughing at him. Dutch realizes the device is a Self-Destruct Mechanism and starts running.
  • One-Word Title: Predator.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Dutch and his team have everything under control, until an interplanetary hunter with technology, skills, and physical strength beyond any of them arrives.
  • Plot Armor: At one point, Dutch takes a shot from the Predator's shoulder cannon. While the same weapon effortlessly slices through other characters in gruesome ways, Dutch only suffers minor damage because the shot hit his gun instead, causing him only minor wounds.
  • Private Military Contractors: Dutch and his team are mercenaries; however, they specialize in hostage and rescue operations, turning down assignments that only involve killing people. Accordingly, when Dutch learns that Dillon fabricated the hostage situation to trick Dutch into wiping out a rebel compound, the mercs are not happy.
  • Punched Across the Room: At the beginning of the final fight between Dutch and the Predator, it gives him a backhanded slap to the face and knocks him back several yards.
  • The Quiet One: Billy and Mac.
  • Rated M for Manly: It's a bunch of badass soldiers versus an alien hunter who's even tougher than they are.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: After Dillon captures the female Central American guerilla Anna, she and other members of Dutch's rescue team repeatedly speak to each other in Spanish without any translation for the audience.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer:
    • Despite being a mercenary, Dutch doesn't think so, and has turned down numerous high-profile jobs for this reason.
      Dutch: We're a rescue team, not assassins.
    • Dillon tells him that's not his decision to make.
      Dillon: You're an asset. An expendable asset. And I used you to get the job done, got it?!
      Dutch: My men are not expendable. And we don't do this kind of work.
  • Red Herring: Early on in the film, much is made of the Predator's ability to mimic human speech. Specifically, it is shown analyzing and duplicating Mac's dialogue "Turn around. Over here." Over an hour of screen time later, Dillon hears Mac's voice beckoning him with the exact same words and tone. At this point, the entire terrified audience believes that the Predator is baiting him, only for it to turn out... it really was Mac after all. The Predator never does use that gambit. After Mac gets killed, the Predator taunts him with Mac's "any time" dialogue, so it is employed as psychological warfare.
    • An early version of the script had the Predator trying to lure Dutch using Anna's voice (note that she's shouting at Dillon right before the "Turn around. Over here," scene), but Dutch is alerted when the Predator then uses Mac's voice.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Notably averted. Despite exploiting the Predator's heat vision to his advantage, Dutch's low-tech approach fails to beat the alien. It's only when the latter decides to "even things out" by removing its multi-purpose helmet and shoulder gun that Dutch stands a slender chance. And even when he wins, it's in no small part due to luck and the Predator's strange blend of arrogance and honor.
    • Also, Dutch quite literally grabs a large rock to use as a weapon at the close, but drops it when he sees the Predator has already been mortally wounded by his log trap.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Hawkins.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Most everyone that dies, Blain in particular.
  • Sanity Slippage: Mac isn't all there during his final confrontation with the Predator. Billy's Senseless Sacrifice might be a result of this as well.
  • Satchel Charge: Dutch uses a satchel charge to destroy some trucks used by the guerrillas in the opening battle.
  • Screaming Warrior: Dutch lights a torch and screams into the night, beckoning the Predator to come to him.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Predator has a device on its wrist that can destroy an area of about 300 city blocks.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Dillon and Billy. It's even lampshaded by Dutch and acknowledged by Dillon in the former case.
    Dutch: You can't win this one, Dillon.
    Dillon: I know, but maybe I can get even.
  • Shirtless Scene: Dillon, Billy, Poncho, and Dutch all get at least one. Dutch acts as a Walking Shirtless Scene for the climax.
  • Shoulder Cannon: The Predator comes equipped with a Plasma Caster, a laser-targeted shoulder-mounted plasma-cannon.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" being played by Blain on the chopper flight to the drop zone.
    • Unintentional: though Alan Silvestri's work usually sounds different from movie to movie, half the score here is very similar to his Back to the Future score, making it hard to take those parts of Predator seriously.
    • The sitcommy cast credits play over dark, pounding ending music, further adding to the Mood Whiplash.
  • Stab the Salad: Dutch's prisoner Anna has her hands tied in front of her. He pulls out a knife and then slashes down with cut the ropes securing her wrists and free her.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Mac threatens Dillon with a knife, but uses it to stab a scorpion on his shoulder instead. This moment is the Trope Namer.
  • Symbolic Weapon Discarding: After hearing Dillon's death scream and sensing that the eponymous hunter is on their trail, Billy tosses his gun off of the log bridge the survivors are escaping across. He draws his knife and symbolically cuts himself, denying the Predator first blood, while also pulling a Dramatic Necklace Removal with his medicine pouch. After calling out to him once, Dutch realizes that Billy is going to perform a Heroic Sacrifice to buy the others more time to escape. By discarding his gun, he ensures an up-close and personal fight with the Blood Knight alien. He is still Killed Offscreen, and the Predator takes his skull as a Battle Trophy.
  • Taking You with Me: After being pulverized by Dutch's deadfall trap, the dying Predator tries to take its enemy out as well by initiating a self-destruct sequence that wipes out an enormous swath of jungle. This also prevents its advanced weapons and stealth tech from being recovered.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Blaine's reaction when the others refuse to chew tobacco like him is to scoff at them and boast about the manly benefits of his tobacco habit.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • Dutch gives a sardonic "This is getting better by the minute," when Dillon tells him they have no backup after they cross the border.
    • Dutch's expression after the Predator walks around the death trap he was trying to sucker it into. Subverted seconds later, when he realizes that by moving around the spikes, the Predator put itself underneath the trap’s deadfall weight, which Dutch promptly crushes it under.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare:
    • Anna goes into shock after seeing the Predator kill its first (on-screen) victim.
    • Dutch has one in the exfiltration helicopter after everyone in his squad is killed and the Predator's subsequent suicide.
  • Throwing the Distraction: During the final confrontation with the Predator, already hard to spot thanks to the mud covering him, Dutch throws a rock to distract the alien hunter and gets a chance to spear him.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: In this case, a machete. "Stick around!"
  • Trail of Blood: At various times throughout the film, Dutch and the alien track each other by following bloodstains.
  • Trap Master: Dutch's entire team is incredibly skilled at laying out exhaustive trap networks, from log deadfalls and net snares to tripwire-activated claymores. Dutch himself embodies this trope during his final battle with the Predator.
  • Video Credits: In a big contrast to all the preceding tension (and the action theme playing in the background), the actors appear smiling and laughing, except for a very scared Dutch.
  • Villain of Another Story: The Soviets and the guerrillas they were advising are the initial foes for Dutch's team and the CIA to take down before the Predator steps in.
  • Vine Swing: While Dutch is hiding in a tree, the Predator climbs by him, so he uses a vine to swing to another tree.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Dutch is this for the climax.
  • Wham Shot: Throughout the early portion of the movie, the group is shadowed by something watching them through thermal vision. After raiding the insurgent base, Mac stabs a scorpion that was crawling on Dillon. After wiping it off and the group leaving, their mysterious stalker approaches to examine the scorpion, a monstrous clawed hand reaching out to pick it up, revealing that the stalker is definitely not human.
  • "What Now?" Ending: How will Dutch explain the death of his entire team? That an alien killed them then blew itself up and half the rainforest? What if the government doesn't believe him? What if they do? Both Predator 2 and Predators indicate that the story was taken seriously but obviously hidden from the public. The final fate of the survivors remains unclear in light of this.
  • The Worf Effect: The entire team takes out an entire base full of guerrillas so that when the Predator starts killing them, it's clear how dangerous it is.
  • Worthy Opponent: The Predator recognizes Dutch as one, taking off its plasmacaster and mask for a one-on-one fight at the end.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The team are very competent commandos in a 1980s action film. Unfortunately, the movie turns into a sci-fi slasher film around halfway through.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Billy makes his last stand against the Predator to give the rest of the team a chance to escape.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Predator 1


What The Hell Are You?

After being mortally wounded by Dutch, the Predator activates its final weapon: a wrist-mounted explosive powerful enough to blow up a good portion of the jungle. As Dutch runs for his life, the Predator lets out a warped, echoing version of Billy's laugh that it had heard previously.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / SelfDestructMechanism

Media sources: