Six Degrees of Schwarzenegger Podcast – Predator Ep. 2


Highlights from this section of PREDATOR

  • The squad finds the crashed helicopter
  • The demise of Captain Jim Hopper
  • Introduction of “Old Painless” and Predator-vision
  • Mac punks Dillon

Grappling hooks: practical or just a movie trope?

From BATMAN to STAR WARS, grappling hooks are a tool that movie heroes always seem to have when they need it.  And PREDATOR is no exception.  When our heroes find the crashed helicopter up in the treetops, what are they to do?  Scale the easily climbable tree?  Hell, no!  Poncho whips out his handy grappling hook.

What is it about grappling hooks that capture the imagination of movie fans?  Is it the swashbuckling Errol Flynn origins of the device?  It certainly does bring that sense of old fashioned adventure to a movie any time it makes an appearance. 

But is a grappling hook actually practical?  Imagine having a giant fishhook with rope attached getting tangled with the rest of your gear in your pack.  And how many times is a grappling hook going to be the right tool for the job?  As the video on the link below shows, a grappling hook just might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Using a grappling hook is much harder than it looks like in movies.


What exactly is Jesse Ventura’s military history?

There are many conflicting accounts about whether Jesse Ventura was truly a legit, active Navy SEAL, and the Internet doesn’t do much to clarify the debate.

Jesse Ventura will be the first (and second, and third) person to describe himself as a Navy SEAL.  He does it repeatedly in his autobiography I Ain’t Got Time to Bleed (which of course takes its name from Ventura’s iconic line from PREDATOR), but opinions seem to be mixed about whether he’s actually earned that right or not.  Some say that anyone who graduates Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUD/S) training course (which Ventura did) can rightly call himself a SEAL.  Others say you’re not truly a SEAL until you’ve completed the advanced training courses and a 6-month deployment with an active SEAL team (which Ventura apparently didn’t).

It seems the most black-and-white method of determining if Ventura was indeed a SEAL is to look at the Navy’s own classification, which denotes a person’s warfare specialty.  The Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) for a Navy SEAL is 5326, and Ventura reportedly never made it past 5321, the designation for an Underwater Demolition Team member.  A more clear way of explaining it might be to say that every Navy SEAL is a BUD/S training graduate, but not every BUD/S training graduate is a Navy SEAL.  So if you’re a stickler about this sort of thing, Ventura was never classified as a SEAL by the Navy.

See links below for some differing opinions on Jesse Ventura’s military service: – “(Ventura was a) Vietnam vet – 4 years active duty, 2 years reserve, member of Underwater Demolition (SEAL) Team 12.” – “Jesse Ventura graduated with Basic Underwater Demolition Class 58 and, like it or not, he earned his status. Some say he’s a UDT (Underwater Demolition Team), and not a “SEAL,” but that’s bullshit.  The UDT’s and SEALs are essentially one and the same. It’s why the UDT is still part of the training acronym BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL).” – “Ventura is still entitled to use the title of Navy “SEAL,” for his service in the UDT and SEAL teams, and his successful graduation from (BUD/S).” – (excerpt from an interview with a veteran who went through BUD/S training with Ventura:)

Jesse ever in a SEAL Team?

“Oh, no. Spent his entire time in Team 12. Never had a SEAL NEC.”

Could you explain about an NEC, what it means?

“Means Navy Enlisted Classification. It’s a code all enlisted guys have that tells what their warfare specialty is. UDT guys were 5321s and SEALs were 5326s. Had to serve in a SEAL Team for at least six months before you qualified as a 5326.”

(interview with another veteran who served with Ventura)

Jesse ever in the shit like you?

“Oh, no. At least not that I heard of, and I probably would have known if he’d been in anything serious. But I don’t hold that against him. He was a good teammate. Just a little loco.” – “Janos (Ventura’s birth name) had not been a SEAL but merely a member of Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) 12 who had been stationed in the Philippines and not Vietnam.”


A note on the cast’s other veteran

Richard Chaves, who played Poncho, was an Army veteran of the Vietnam War.  Chaves joined the army in 1970. He served 3 years with a tour of duty in Vietnam.  After the Army he moved to Los Angeles to begin his acting career.

Further reading: 15 Killer Facts About PREDATOR