Six Degrees of Schwarzenegger Podcast – Predator Ep. 5

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Highlights from this section of PREDATOR

  • The group finds Hawkins’ remains, but can’t find Hawkins
  • Predator takes out Blain
  • The squad’s epic ammo dump
  • No one can agree on who or what is out there
  • They fortify their position; Mac says goodbye the Blain

In Soviet Union, PREDATOR watches you

This article and video from The New York Times describes how the proliferation of black market Hollywood bootleg videos in Romania helped inspire the people of that country to break free of the shackles of Communism.  While suffering under the repression of the Soviet Union, movie audiences were wowed not only by the over the top spectacle of Hollywood movies but also by the apparent opulence of life in the West.  It was obvious to the viewers that people in the West had it far better than they did in the East.  The American life depicted in these movies acted as a powerful reminder that life in the Soviet Union was less than free.

Our guest on this episode is Sam Krumov, who grew up in Bulgaria during the final days of the Soviet Union.  He says that American films such as PREDATOR and WILLOW changed his life as a kid and were a huge part of the culture where he lived.  He describes how some Hollywood  films played in theaters there while many more were available on the black market of bootleg VHS tapes. 

VHS tapes, remember those?  They were these plastic cartridges that contained a spool of magnetic tape that could hold video and audio information.  They could be played and recorded another archaic device called a VCR.  And two VCRs could be strung together to duplicate a VHS tape.  In Soviet Russia, VCRs were incredibly sought after and sold for a small fortune, especially in the communist economy of Russia where they sold between $3,300 and $5,500.  Illicit VHS tapes of Hollywood movies were sold and traded throughout the Soviet Union, and often times the only source of information about the outside world for the Soviet people.

Read more: The rise of VCRs and piracy in the Soviet Union

 

Let’s talk about guns

The website Range 365 compiled an amazing rundown of every major character’s guns from PREDATOR.  PREDATOR featured one of the most state of the art arsenals in movies at the time of its release in 1987, and its iconic weapons have aged like a fine wine.  For the purposes of this blog, we’ll just include the most memorable weapons from the film.

Dutch

“His primary weapon is an AR-15/SP1 or an M16 slab-sided rifle fitted with an M16A1 birdcage flash suppressor to appear like later versions of the platform” with a “paint-chipped M203 grenade launcher…  Dutch’s rifle includes a fixed A-shaped front sight, an M16A2 style carry handle with rear peep sight, and a fixed stock.”

Mac

“His primary weapon is a M60E3 light machine gun. The model is a shortened version of “The Pig” that made it’s debut in the U.S Military in the Vietnam War designed to be fired by one man from the hip. It has a foregrip and uses belted .308 Win. ammo fed from a 100-round ammo box Mac carries on a strap.”

Poncho

“Poncho’s main weapon is kept on his back in the event of a major engagement: a customized 37mm grenade launcher. According to imfdb.org, the launcher was created by the film’s armorers from a Heckler & Koch HK94 (namely the stock and grip) and parts from an AN-M5 aircraft pyrotechnic discharger (a giant flare gun).”

Blain

“Ol’ Painless is a hand-held General Electric M134 Minigun that has been heavily modified. A normal M134 is mounted on a helicopter or a plane, but to make it theoretically tote-able by a single person, an M60 handguard assembly was installed backwards beneath the rotating barrels and a rear pistol grip was added.”

And because it exists, here is NFL player Rob Gronkowski shooting a minigun:

The Predator’s plasma cannon

The Predator’s signature weapon is his shoulder mounted cannon referred to later works as a plasmacaster.  The plasmacaster shoots an explosive plasma bolt powerful enough to blast right through a man.  The weapon utilizes a targeting system that is linked to the Predator’s helmet.

Further reading: Early draft of PREDATOR screenplay

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