Dir: John McTiernan
Star: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, Kevin Peter Hall

If you'd told McTiernan, when he was making this film back in 1987, that two of the stars would go on to become governors, I imagine he'd have looked at you very strangely. But that's the case here, with Arnie and Jesse both going on to make political marks that, in the latter's case at least, far surpassed anything they did cinematically. Not that this is at all bad. If the logical premise of Aliens was "Rambo in space", this is Aliens in the jungle, if you like, with the 'Nam metaphor (a few brave Americans facing an invisible enemy in unforgiving terrain) even more pronounced. That's about all there is here too: back-story is virtually absent. But hey, I guess plot is over-rated.

You don't see the alien hunter for a good forty minutes, and even then its camouflage largely leaves it a blurry heat-haze. But when it is finally revealed, Stan Winston's FX are truly brilliant, and you can only agree with Arnie's assessment: "You're one ugly motherfucker." Naturally, it all ends with the pair going toe-to-toe, in a manner which is totally ludicrous, yet perfectly fits a film where future governor Ventura recites the line, "Bunch of slack-jawed faggots around here. This stuff will make you a goddamned sexual Tyrannosaurus, just like me," with a perfectly straight face. Between that and, "I ain't got time to bleed," you can certainly argue Arnold doesn't get the best lines in this hyperviolent, relentlessly macho, and enormously fun piece of trash.

March 2005

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