Article 5405 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by John McTiernan
Featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall
What it is: Action SF thriller
A team of commandos undertake a rescue mission in the jungle, but soon find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial sportsman.
I always considered Arnold Schwarzenegger a somewhat limited actor who became a star as a result of his shrewd choices for properties to work on; he didn’t really stumble until THE LAST ACTION HERO, but he never recovered from that one. This one I remember not being a big critical favorite, though it definitely was a popular one. Certainly, the compendium of action cliches that make up the first thirty minutes of this movie don’t really impress, but I do recognize the efficiency with which this part is handled (after all, there are some action movies that would have considered the story for the first third of this movie to be enough for a whole feature film), and I know that this section is just the setup for the main portion of the movie, in which the military team finds itself the target of an extraterrestrial hunter. The latter portion of the movie works very well indeed, as the team must discover the nature of their hunter and find strategies to defeat it before they’re all killed. Dialogue is kept to a very minimum during the very tense climax of the movie, though it could have been cut even further; at least once during this section, Schwarzenegger utters one of his trademark one-line quips that almost took me out of the movie. Still, the movie recovers quickly enough that no real damage is done. No, it’s not perfect, but it is very entertaining, and it serves as a good model for a science fiction / horror action thriller.