Dutch and his group of commandos are hired by the CIA to rescue downed airmen from guerillas in a Central American jungle. The mission goes well but as they return they find that something is hunting them. Nearly invisible, it blends in with the forest, taking trophies from the bodies of its victims as it goes along. Occasionally seeing through its eyes, the audience sees it is an intelligent alien hunter, hunting them for sport, killing them...
One that's equipped with explosive laser weapons and sharp knives. That mission detail wasn't explained in the briefing.
The alien is a predator because that's how it kills—steadily and stealthy. Like a hunter it targets each member of the crew one by one.
On the bright side, it sets a vibrant contrast to the exquisiteness that is about to unfold.
What follows is one of the best filmed descents into hell that I have ever seen. McTiernan’s tracking shots through the jungle are a true thing of beauty.