On the surface, 1987's #Predator is just another Aliens-esque beat em' up where hardened fighters square off against an alien menace. While Arnie was busy getting to the "choppa," his fellow commandos were busy being sliced and diced by the alien dreadlocked menace, is there actually more of a statement on masculinity than we first thought? While John McTiernan's film might seem like a gory romp through the jump, the deaths of the crew seem to be more of a symbolic representation of their overcompensating masculinity than first thought.
Redditor Bosola poses the theory that each of the six men who die during the film are done so in a manner befitting their "swagger," while #Schwarzenegger's more subdued Dutch is the last man standing. Bosola writes:
It’s a well-worn idea that Predator is a film about masculinity. You have seven men each competing for alpha status, showboating their strength, stoicism, roughness and physical power. I’d like to go a step further. I’d like to suggest that the trials of the film are a test of masculinity, and that each man who dies does so in a way that mocks his masculine performance.
So, let's take a look at how they did!
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Geeky radioman Hawkins was never long for this world as arguably the weakest member of the group. Many people forget that before he was the director of Iron Man 3, Shane Black was the doomed Hawkins in Predator. Hawkins's death scene is interesting on two levels: As he grabs and wrestles female guerrilla Anna, it is reminiscent of a male on female rape. It is therefore ironic that the predator is the one that strips Hawkins naked and disembowels him. Hawkins also makes that crude joke about how big his girlfriend's p*ssy is, so it is only fair that the predator pretty much cuts him one of his own through implied castration.
Blain was the uber-alpha with the big-ass minigun, he even named it Old Painless. Jesse Ventura himself was actually a Navy Seal before he went into acting, and it shows. Anyone that says "I ain't got time to bleed" was clearly going to get some sort of defiant hero's death in OTT style, but it is these words that ring true for Blain's demise. After being picked off by the lurking predator, we see Blain get a plasma gun fired right through his chest. Although there is some blood when he is first hit, the blast leaves behind one great big "bloodless" wound when he is found just moments after by Dutch and Dillon:
DUTCH: "...Just like the others...no powder burns, no shrapnel."
DILLON: "The wound all fused, cauterized...what the hell did this?"
I guess he really didn't have time to bleed.
Sure, Mac might not be the most memorable member of the troop, but he was definitely the most unhinged. After threatening Dillon, Mac said he would "bleed him slow and quiet." Mac gets that synonymous predator target etched on his head and BLAM — brains all over the jungle. Note that Mac also threatened the predator:
“I’ll carve my name into your skin."
Ironic then that the predator's sniper target was what we saw "marking" Mac's skin as it traced over his body and up to his head. Also, Mac's death is shown to be the most prolonged through a long cut-shot. He may have had his cranium blasted open, but we still see the bleeding body twitching in the undergrowth for a good few shots.
Dillon was there to assert himself, proving that he hadn't gone soft as he flew through the ranks. He greeted Dutch with that overly macho handshake/arm wrestle, so this one is an easy link to spot. The camera lingered on the shot of Dillon's hand being forced down in the arm wrestle, also mirroring his death when his sliced-off arm fell to the ground still firing its weapon. Dillon famously had his arm lasered off before being stuck like a pig by predator's claws.
Ramirez was pretty much there to blow people up and send them flying through the air in the camp raid scene. Do you notice how Ramirez himself is sent soaring across the ground when he is hit by the log trap? Ramirez is also the one who says to Blain, "you got time to duck?" While the rest of the team jumps under the log, it is only Ramirez who forgets to duck and is left limping toward the final chapter of the film. Ramirez is eventually killed by a bullet to the neck, if he had "ducked," he could have survived.
The predator is shown not to harm the unarmed, so is it any coincidence that Elpidia Carrillo's Anna survives the human hunting game? As we listen through the predator's POV, the men's cries are unusually feminine. Those who died were literally all talk and no trousers, whereas Dutch wasn't afraid to show his fear in front of the predator. But it was actually the intelligent route to take instead of beating his chest and showing how big his balls were.
As the only survivor, Dutch was the least outwardly macho of the group, so it is an argument of masculinity vs. machismo. Dutch's masculinity was within and he didn't need to show it, where the machismo of the others was the idea of parroting the masculinity around them so that they looked like a bigger man. Arnie is the one who reminds the guys that the are not hired as assassins, where the rest seem lost in a game of who has the biggest mini-gun. Basically, the moral of the story is tuck your nuts and throw down your weapons!
Check out the trailer for Predator, and don't forget our poll below!