A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this macho sci-fi action adventure has lots of bloody violence -- not to mention artillery and gun fetishism (although, in the end, it's the low-tech death traps that prove most effective...). The villain is a laser-wielding alien that cuts down many of the heavily armed heroes, leaving hideously skinned corpses in its wake. Lots of strong language; some drinking, smoking, and drug references. The lone female character doesn't get much to do compared to star Arnold Schwarzenegger and his fellow male soldiers.
What's the story?
Set in the jungles of Latin America, PREDATOR follows a team of super-commandos on a U.S. military rescue mission to liberate hostages taken by leftist guerillas. Only after eliminating the guerilla headquarters do the swaggering heroes, led by Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) find out that their target was really a Soviet spy-invasion camp that the Pentagon wanted destroyed after an earlier Green Beret squad went missing. Meanwhile, an alien spaceship lands nearby and its deadly occupant observes the bloodshed. The creature is a tall, vicious extraterrestrial, and it was what killed the Green Berets. Now it's after the commandos, leaving Dutch to figure out how to overcome its invisibility and superior death-ray firepower. In the process, he runs out of guns and regresses to basic hand-made booby-traps and snares.
Is it any good?
Cited by those who keep track of such things as one of the ultimate "guy movies," Predator is a violent, militaristic, hyper-macho spectacle of biceps, bombs, and guns. It has plenty of catchphrases tossed out by bigger-than-life actors (for example, Jesse Ventura's oft-quoted line "I ain't got time to bleed!"). If you can appreciate its cartoonish aspects -- for example, the fact that the cast members, despite having been savagely slaughtered, reappear for the end credits to take a bow and smile -- you'll likely be entertained.
Predator definitely is more fun than its 1990 sequel, Predator 2, in which the alien went hunting gangstas and FBI agents in a stereotypically hyper-violent Los Angeles, with Danny Glover grievously miscast in the Arnold role as a one-man-army cop. After that, the creature mainly appeared in video games and crossover comic books (even Batman fought the Predator!) until Alien Vs. Predator came along and filled in some of the questions about the Predator's eons-old interaction with the human race.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of scary movies. Why is it fun to watch something that puts you on the edge of your seat? How do the scares in a movie like this compare to those in a typical slasher movie? Which do you find scarier? Why? Families can also discuss how the time period in which a movie is made affects it (beyond the quality of the special effects, that is). What political and historical events does the movie reference? If you don't know, how could you find out?
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