Thursday 18 June 2009


Arnold Schwarzenegger leads a team of elite, steroid inflated, troops into the jungle - accompanied by a pen-pushing CIA agent (Carl Weathers) - to rescue some soldiers who are being held captive.

After a failed attempt to rescue the hostages, Schwarzenegger and his team learn that they've been set-up by Weathers. They also learn the first rule of action films: never trust a CIA agent wearing a suit and tie.

Anyway, as they make their escape, the team find themselves hunted ruthlessly by "something like the chameleon".

Everyone dies, apart from Arnie who defeats the Predator by covering himself in mud and using advanced cub scout skills.

During the attack to rescue the hostages, Arnie converts an old broken down truck into a rolling bomb. As fighting breaks out across the enemies lair, one of the rebels attempts to make a getaway in a helicopter.

The doomed pilot flips switches inside the cockpit. As the rotor blades begin to slowly turn, Arnie steps forward and fires an RPG into the grounded whirlybird.


A nicely handled explosion. For a fraction of a second the cockpit appears to contain the entire explosion and we see the pilot momentarily writhe in the inferno.

The explosion then balloons out swallowing the machine. The rotor blades continue to turn before folding slowly towards the ground.

The scene exposes one of the limitations of helicopters as escape vehicles - when they are stationary they are utterly ineffective for swift getaways.

Number of exploding helicopters


Artistic merit

The helicopter is consumed rather than blown apart by the explosion. The pilots doomed bid to escape and the slowly turning rotor blades add a touch of elegant fatalism.

Relevance to plot

Very little. Whilst not integral to the plot the helicopter makes a brief but plausible appearance.

Exploding helicopter innovation



Helicopters play a pleasingly vital role throughout the film.

We first meet Schwarzenegger and his team arriving in a helicopter. Arnie particularly appears to savour the experience, lounging in the rear of the chopper as he languorously lights a massive cigar before getting out.

Later, Arnie’s team are flown into the jungle in a helicopter, during which we're treated to one of the greatest male bonding scenes ever filmed.

And finally, Arnie is ultimately rescued from the jungle by a helicopter after bellowing the immortal, “Get to the chopper!”

There's a lot of great helicopter related dialogue in Predator and Exploding Helicopter has actually pulled together a list of it. You can find it over on our Tumblr site.


During the film Schwarzenegger’s men find a helicopter shot down by the Predator. Unfortunately we don’t get to see this mouth-watering incident.

Interesting fact

Jean Claude Van Damme was originally cast as the Predator. However, he quit after a couple of days filming apparently unhappy that he would only be seen in the film as a glorified special effect.

Review by: Jafo

Still haven't had enough? Then listen to the Exploding Helicopter crew discuss Predator on the Exploding Helicopter podcast. Find the show on iTunesPodomatic, Stitcher, or YourListen.


  1. Dear oh dear you are slipping.

    There is actually another exploding helicopter in the film. When Arnie goes in rebel camp he actually grenades a chopper with some rebels in it about to take off.

    Rare example of helicopter not in flight exploding.

  2. I think we need to sit down and watch this together. There is only ONE exploding helicopter in this film. Have you even read this piece? How can it be rare that a not in flight helicopter explodes when that's exactly what I've described?

  3. Predator is a glorious film. Educational and taught me how when busy one has not got time to bleed.