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In the movie Predator (1987), near the climax, when the Predator finds Arnold, it did not try to kill him immediately. Instead, it goes near him and checks his head and removes its helmet (I am assuming that it would be its helmet).

Why did it not kill Arnold immediately as it killed everybody else? Did checking Arnold's head mean something?

  • 3
    Who knows why predator does anything he does? – sanpaco Jun 4 '17 at 6:01
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    The predator seems to hunt as a sport. It's sort of like how people fish and release them. If they really needed fishes, they'll use drag nets, or throw a dynamite into the water. – Nelson Jun 4 '17 at 18:30
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As shown throughout the film, the Predator has only killed armed opponents. At this point in the film Arnold has put up a great fight against the Predator and is currently unarmed. The Predator looks him over much like a hunter might take time looking at a prize kill before firing a shot. The Predator disarms himself and then fights Arnold hand-to-hand, a "fair" fight instead of just killing defenseless prey. (It's been a long time since I've seen the film, so can't remember exactly when/how the Predator stops using weapons).

  • It's during that scene. It appears as though the Predator is checking Arnold's head for some reason. Then it drops him. After letting Arnold go, it takes off it's gun and helmet and seems to advance on Arnold wanting hand-to-hand combat. – Phlegon_of_Tralles Feb 27 '18 at 14:57
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A couple of other reasons (besides the already mentioned one: Dutch was unarmed at the time so the Predator chose to disarm himself and to engage in melee combat):

  • Dutch was a fantastic adversary; he was clearly the strongest, the smartest, and he lasted the longest among all the preys. The delay in killing was in part to show some sense of respect.
  • Dutch was also the last of the group: the Predator was probably milking the hunt because if it killed Dutch, it wouldn't have another foe (for a while at least). In combination with the first point above: the Predator knew it wouldn't get such a great foe like Dutch again, possibly forever.
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    While Alien versus Predator is nowhere near canonical in regards to the first Predator movie; they do convey the same idea about the Predators. They hunt for sport, or showing hunting prowess. It's much more about the honor than it is about self defence or finding food. In AVP, Predator has specifically captured Alien (on Earth) because they consider it the most worthy game to hunt. – Flater Jun 2 '17 at 8:05
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As another line of reasoning:

The predator is sometimes mocked as the dentist-on-safari among alien invaders. With all previous kills it had more opponents. So it killed them off instantly and with all its high-tech gadgets to avoid the risk of being outnumbered/caught off-guard.

Dutch (Arnold's role) was alone in the end. So the dentist-on-safari Predator tried to prove to itself what great a hunter he is. And did it go well...?

Man, Predators really suck, if looking at them like this...

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    Haha dentist-on-safari, quite appropriate actually :p. +1 – yurnero Jun 1 '17 at 19:58
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    If you take the AvP comics and movies as canon, they deliberately seed entire worlds with Xenomorphs in order to have something interesting to hunt, never mind what it does to the local ecology or existing sentient species. A good hunter keeps careful track of the ecology and works to preserve it, if only so that their descendants will be able to hunt the same things later on. The Predators are just assholes. – Shadur Jun 2 '17 at 7:35
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    Dentist on safari? More like a redneck shooting signs. Then with Dutch, it was savoring the hunt and kill of a true trophy. – nothingisnecessary Jun 2 '17 at 12:37
  • @Shadur I haven't read all of the AvP comics (really just the first series), but AFAIK the Predators seed planets with 1. a limited number of xenomorphs (because they explicitly try not to seed it with a queen egg) and 2. without known sentient life. So if the Predators' xenomorph hunt is successful, they would kill all of the xenomorphs they seeded the planet with, which shouldn't be that disruptive to the local ecology. – jamesdlin Jun 5 '17 at 8:44
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You mean this scene?

The Predator collects the skulls of his prey as trophies, so he was probably checking if Arnold's skull was worthy of his collection.

After that he removes his helmet and goes without weapons, to make this hunt more challenging since he would be lowering himself to the technical level of his prey.

The others were way too easy to kill, so perhaps not as good as a trophy.

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    I don't think he was checking whether Dutch's skull was worthy, I think he was checking whether this creature that nearly defeated him was the same species as all the others that had been so easy to kill. – Nelviticus Jun 1 '17 at 15:16
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    @Nelviticus or that. Either way he was checking his new addition to the trophy collection. – Luciano Jun 1 '17 at 15:23
  • I think he was checking Dutch's skull to check that Dutch was healthy enough (and worthy of) hand-to-hand combat. – jamesdlin Jun 5 '17 at 8:51
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Answering the last part of your question: "Did checking Arnold's head mean something?"

I always thought that the predator examined Arnold to try to understand the reason why he wasn't able to see him (the mud).

Arnold still had sections of his face covered in mud so the Predator "wonders" how these sections are not visible to him and others are.

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