The film begins by showing a spaceship approaching Earth, then a group of US special forces led by Major "Dutch" (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent to rescue a minister gabinetel kidnapped by a guerrilla group outside the country. "Dutch" along with a former partner of Special Army Forces "Dillon" (Carl Weathers) and 5 more soldiers are transported by helicopter to the jungle.

Upon arrival, they discover the remains of a crashed helicopter in the area, and shortly afterwards found the bodies of soldiers of the US special forces flayed. Later they attacked a camp strongly defended by the presence of Soviet military. They destroy the whole camp except a guerrilla named Anna (Elpidia Carrillo) that is captured. "Dutch" discovers that the rescue mission was not so, but it had been sent to destroy the rebel camp. Dillon recognized that what they had found before where missing bodies of CIA agents.

As they head to the extraction point they are observed remotely by an unknown creature, which uses thermal imaging techniques. Two members of the group are killed and the survivors mysteriously begin to realize that there is something in the jungle that is watching. Anna tells them that he is an old demon, known locally for hunting and gutting human during hot summers. Despite attempts to locate and catch the creature, the group is reduced gradually, one by one, until only "Dutch" and Anna. "Dutch" realizes that the creature only attacks those who pose a threat, so he sends Anna to the evacuation point. "Dutch" accidentally is covered in mud, a circumstance that allows him to observe the creature without been seen by it, and discover that it is a camouflaged alien biped, so concludes that the alien has a thermal radar.

"Dutch" faces alien, using mud as camouflage and preparing a series of traps and improvised weapons to catch him. Striking the alien, but he is not able to find him. Still, he manages to capture "Dutch" but offers a final duel in which the alien unmakes electronic weapons. "Dutch" is cornered, but manages to activate a trap that had been prepared and manages to crush the alien, leaving him mortally wounded. The alien actives a device having on his arm launching a countdown, "Dutch" feels that there is something no good so runs away and gets to cover as a huge explosion devastates the jungle. Anna finally returns with the helicopter to rescue "Dutch".

Predator was number one at the box office the weekend of its release, grossing twelve million dollars and although the initial critical reaction was negative, over the years did justice to this film and in 2007 the Entertainment Weekly magazine named it as the number twenty-two on the list of the best action movies of all time. It also ranked at number fourteen on the list of "The Best Rock-'em, Sock-'em Movies of the Past 25 Years" (translated as the best films of "shake and hit" over the last 25 years). An example of this is the score at Rotten Tomatoes, 76%.  which would give the title of cult film.