Even Arnold gets scared sometimes.
In 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman famously asks the Man of Steel, “Do you bleed?” Twenty-nine years earlier, in the Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer Predator, the then future Governor of Minnesota answers, “I ain’t got time to bleed.” And hence the most uneven, bloody, and absolutely addictive action sci-fi thriller franchise was born in the jungles of Mexico. It’s since spawned four sequels–the most recent being this year’s streaming hit Prey–or six if you count the Alien Vs. Predator crossover spinoffs. And now the original film is racing up the streaming charts on Hulu. It entered the streamer’s Top 10 streamed movies list at the bottom spot on Wednesday and jumped up to #8 on Thursday.
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Dutch in Predator. The cigar-chomping soldier is the head of a special ops team packed with the best of the best. They’re recruited under false pretenses by the CIA’s Al Dillon (Carl Weathers) to wipe out a group of Soviet-backed guerrillas in an unnamed Central American country. But enemies from one side of the Iron Curtain or the other is the last of the concerns Dutch has to worry about. While bringing along the captive Anna (Elpidia Carrillo), the only surviving rebel, Dutch’s group is picked off one-by-one. Dillon is convinced it’s either Anna or some sneaky insurgents doing the damage, but Dutch and his men are quickly convinced of the truth — that they’re being hunted by something not of this world. Armed with high-tech weaponry, armor, and a cloaking device that helps him blend in with his surroundings, the Predator (Kevin Peter Hall) is a trophy hunter from outer space and he doesn’t plan on leaving any survivors.
Predator was directed by John McTiernan–who would go on to helm action classics like Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, and The 13th Warrior–from a script by the brother writing team of Jim and John Thomas (Executive Decision). Like the antagonist of Steven Spielberg’s classic Jaws, part of what makes the Predator such a wonderful villain is what we don’t see. McTiernan only reveals bits and pieces of the alien for much of the film; a hand, an outline, a brief glimpse of his helmet. We don’t see the entire creature revealed until Arnold Schwarzenegger finally goes head-to-head with the bloodthirsty predator.
The cast of Predator is kind of amazing when you stop to think about who came out of it. Shane Black–who plays the radio operator Hawkins–would go on to direct films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys, and Iron Man 3. In fact, it was Black who helmed the 2018 sequel The Predator. Carl Weathers was of course mostly known as playing Apollo Creed from the Rocky films before he played Dillon, and would later become a hit playing himself as a freeloading acting coach on Arrested Development. The late Bill Duke continued to be one of America’s most recognizable character actors in projects like Black Lightning, X-Men: The Last Stand, Gaslit, Red Dragon, Battlestar Galactica, and more. Meanwhile, not one but two of the musclebound prey–Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura–would later go on to become US Governors. In fact, Sonny Landham–who plays the tracker Billy–likewise ran for Governor of Kentucky in 2003 but lost, and later tried and failed for both a State Senate seat and a U.S. Senate seat.
While it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger who leads the cast of Predator, its current streaming success is no doubt largely thanks to the release of Prey. Released earlier this month, the prequel turns the clock back to the early 18th century and moves the action to North America’s Northern Great Plains with the Comanche warrior Naru (Amber Midthunder), her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), and Naru’s loyal pup Sarii taking on a different Predator. Released exclusively on Hulu, Prey quickly became a hit and so far the most critically hailed entry in the Predator series. Along with helping the first film in the series make a revival, Prey is also helping to boost the popularity of the 2010 sequel Predators. Starring Adrien Brody (The Pianist) in the lead role, Predators is currently two spots behind Predator, as Hulu’s tenth most streamed movie. Predator 2 is also streaming on Hulu, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see that climbing the chart soon as well.