Year: 1987
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: John McTiernan
Producer: Joel Silver/Lawrence Gordon
Writer: Jim Thomas/John Thomas
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, Shane Black, Kevin Peter Hall
Another of the reasons McTiernan was the action director of the 1980s. A beautifully simplistic idea, executed just as you'd hope, the result being a balls-to-the-wall action extravaganza.

What could be more photogenic, more worthy of the possibilities of the genre than a huge, scary humanoid alien arriving on Earth to collect human skulls, landing in the Central American jungle where a small platoon of battle-hardened soldiers are on a rescue mission?

As if the Austrian Oak wasn't swaggering machismo enough in those days, Stan Winston's gloriously ugly, Freudian and indestructible alien design (suited out on Kevin Peter Hall - formerly one Jean-Claude Van Damme) raises the bar several thrilling steps.

From such a simple idea, a good director could (and did) extrapolate a cool array of alien weapons and technologies, lots of explosive action and eye-popping death and an epic final fight scene and make a riot of colour, energy and movement.

Starring two future US state governors and with a director almost at the peak of his game (he'd reach it a year later with Die Hard), it's an enduring classic.

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