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200 words about Predator
They say if you're not a socialist at 20 you have no heart, and if you're not a conservative at 40 you have no brain. But the opposite's true for me. When I first saw Predator, it felt like truth incarnate. These were Men handling a Situation, Strongly. But viewed today, in the sweatpants of old age, I see chaos. Animals are murdered, abused. A village is slaughtered. One character is defined by insulting his wife. Another by the size of his Gatling gun. They hate the jungle, each other; they live to kill. And they deserve to die. They deserve a biblical nemesis. A thing invisible in the trees, its vision a psychedelic montage, all insect breath and drones. They eulogize each other malely -- "Goodbye, bro" -- and whisper revenge at the moon. But everything has time to die, here. You don't even realize until the action starts that it is an exhalation: that first explosion is relief. The squibs pop for us all, eventually. The film ends with a mushroom cloud, Arnold smoldering in the ruins. Like him, the movie is polygonal, absolute, perfect. I changed. The world hardens the hearts of some men, and softens others.