Predator: From the Best to the Worst
Since 1987, the Predator has become a horror icon. From facing off with Schwarzeneggar to Danny Glover to Adrien Brody, the Predator race keeps coming back to find new opponents. In the following article, I will list the films featuring Predator from the best to the worst.
I'm sure you've heard the phrase "the first is always the best", right? Well, in this case it's true. 1987 was the year we were introduced to the world's....or even the universe's....most dangerous hunter. The tension and climactic build-up was substantially more well-done than the other films, The inclusion of two of cinema's biggest bad boys (Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Carl Weathers) made the film feel like there were much higher stakes. If these guys couldn't take Predator down, who could? Smart move on director John McTiernan's part. I give the original Predator a good 3 out of 4.
#2: Alien Vs Predator
Even though Alien vs Predator isn't canon in the Alien series, it's still fun to think that it is canon in the Predator universe. Maybe the Predator series takes place in an alternate timeline or universe. Any fan of the X-Men films ought to be used to that kind of thing.
Alien vs Predator (or AvP for short) takes place in the year 2004 when Mr. Weyland of Weyland Industries has discovered some kind of pyramid beneath the icy surface of Antarctica. He gathers a team together to get down there and investigate, but what they discover is that they are not alone in the universe.
I enjoyed AvP. Sure the acting isn't exactly Oscar worthy but it's a fun film that combines two of the best monsters in horror history and pits them against each other. As the tagline for the film states: "Whoever wins, we lose." I give AvP a 3 out of 4.
Predators is the latest film in the franchise, following several specifically chosen people who are mysteriously brought to the Predators homeworld in order to battle each other. If the history revealed in AvP is correct, then Predators proving themselves worthy as skilled hunters is a sort of rite of passage to their species. Who better to hunt than the deadliest of our world: Adrien Brody, Danny Trejo, and....Topher Grace???
Predators had a good idea but the script had some cheesy dialogue and I personally think it was completely miscast. It is good for what it is, though, which is a slightly-above-mediocre monster film. I give Predators a 2.5 out of 4.
#4: The Predator
I wouldn't say I was bubbling with excitement for The Predator but I was looking forward to it. I've been a fan since I saw the original with Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Predator franchise hasn't done as well as Alien, but it has stood its ground nonetheless.
The film follows Quinn McKenna, a soldier on assignment who discovers a Predator and its spaceship (do we still not have a better word for that?). McKenna is the only one in his unit to survive the assault but is branded crazy and is loaded onto a bus full of vets who have their own issues ranging from Tourette's to anxiety to just plain good old fashioned crazy. They band together after the Predator shows up in an attempt to take it down. This isn't the usual Predator vs Human deal, however, as a bigger and more advanced Predator comes to earth to track and kill the other Predator.
There were equally things I liked and disliked. Shall we start with the positives? Yeah, sure, why not. I loved how there were so many nostalgic references to the first film. Arnold's infamous "Get to the chopper" line was used and of course the series' inside joke "you are one ugly mofo" (edited for younger readers) only this time, 'beautiful' was used rather than 'ugly'. There was a lot of great moments between the cast members, especially between Boyd Holbrook and Jacob Tremblay. There were some cool action moments with Predator, especially when the gadgets were used. Gotta love that alien tech. The best thing, though, was that we got to see something that hadn't been introduced before. We saw Predator dogs, which were literally four legged Predators. Yep, they had dreads too. Olivia Munn was a badass in this and I hope she's able to keep getting those types of roles. She showed some real range in this film, so top marks for her. Last but not least, the "surprise" ending gave some hope for the future of the series. I'll be interested to see what happens next, assuming the studio is able to continue the series now that Disney has bought Fox.
The negatives were mostly with the writing. Someone behind me in the theater said "That was funny!". And he's right, it was. But that's the problem. Predator films have never been comedic. Did they have one or two funny moments? Sure, but mainly for comedic relief. This film was written as a comedy first which took away from the entire experience. The film also couldn't decide if it wanted to make fun of illness or not. There was a ton of respect given to Tremblay's character who had Asberger's. Thomas Jane's character was the running joke with his Tourette's Syndrome. After learning that writer/director Shane Black also has Tourette's, it made me wonder if he was trying to make fun of the disease or himself. I understand wanting to use humor to get through a bad situation and the film never took it too far but rather skirted a line that's just barely in the acceptable range. Keegan Key was the worst part of the film and was a giant annoyance rather than a necessity.
Shane Black took the helm as both co-writer and director, proving once again after the financially successful but story-stale debacle that was Iron Man 3 that he seriously needs to stay away from franchises. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Nice Guys were both fantastic films but for some reason Mr. Black can't take sequels as seriously as he does his standalone work. I'm not sure why.
In conclusion, the film had its fun moments but overall was less than great. It was average, definitely in need of improvement. I loved most of the cast and most of the story, but hated the overly comedic tone and "handicap humor". Since there's equally things I loved and hated, I give the film an even 2 out of 4.
#5: Predator 2
Predator 2 thought it was being smart by putting Predator right in the middle of Los Angeles. From a literal jungle to a crime jungle, Predator takes on three or four different gangs and the cops too. The thing about this film is, it changed the Predator from a villain to a vigilante. He targeted the villainous gangs and gave them what they deserved. The cops that died were more or less just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If anything, Predator made Los Angeles a safer place. The only problem with that is, you can't very well be a horror icon if you're acting like a superhero. Good idea, bad execution. I give Predator 2 a 2 out of 4.
Worst - Alien Vs Predator: Requiem
In Alien vs Predator: Requiem, the Predator ship from AvP crash lands on earth, forcing the Predators to track and kill the Xenomorphs. Sounds like a pretty cool premise. The one thing wrong with it, and it's a big thing, is the no-holds-barred violence against children. If there's one thing I hate more than anything in this already screwed up world, it's children getting hurt. It was completely unnecessary and did absolutely nothing for the plot. I suppose the director wanted to show how ruthless the aliens were but you can do that without targeting children specifically. I suppose that's why AvP3 never happened, which really stinks considering this film ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. I give AvP:R a 1 out of 4.
Which Predator film did you like best?
For some reason, Predator hasn't been as successful of a franchise as Alien has. Is it the directors or the writing? Possibly both. One thing's clear though, you can't beat the original. Hopefully Predator will get a breath of fresh air from Shane Black's upcoming The Predator due to be released next year, assuming Black can refrain from any silly fake-outs.
© 2017 Alec Zander