With the release of Shane Black’s The Predator, I thought it would be fun to go back and give you all an overview of my thoughts on the series as a whole. Here are my mini-reviews for all the movies in The Predator series!
“Get to the Chopper!”
Plot: 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 off one at a time. [Source]
Predator is the beginning of director John McTiernan’s hot streak in the thriller genre. He would follow up Predator with The Hunt Red October and then Die Hard. Predator is not a bad start to the high point of his career.
Predator is a thrilling, suspenseful and quotable action/sci-fi/thriller. The characters are memorable for what they say and how they say it rather than who the characters are themselves. This is among Arnold Schwarzenegger’s better films (and better performances) in his filmography. I do tend to think the creature of the Predator is a bit more memorable than the some of the movie itself but never the less this is a really fun time and worth a viewing.
If you had to compare to the Alien series I don’t think Predator is on the level of Alien. But then again, few things are and this easily remains the best in the series with good atmosphere and a villain that is hard to kill.
Predator 2 (1990)
“You can’t see the eyes of the demon, until him come callin'”
Plot: Ten years after a band of mercenaries first battled a vicious alien, the invisible creature from another world has returned to Earth – and this time, it’s drawn to the gang-ruled and ravaged city of Los Angeles. When it starts murdering drug dealers, detective-lieutenant Mike Harrigan and his police force set out to capture the creature, ignoring warnings from a mysterious government agent to stay away. [Source]
If anyone was hoping for Predator 2 to be the Aliens of this franchise than prepare to be disappointed. Predator 2 is a poor follow up to a mostly well done first outing. Trading in the lush jungle for the urban streets of LA is an uninspired change with some horribly out-dated stereotypes of early 90s street gangs. This lacks the suspense and the carefully crafted tension of the first movie. Instead of pushing forward the story of Predator forward it chooses instead to repeat the first movie with a different setting, worse characters, and bad writing. Predator 2 is a bad sequel with only Danny Glover giving it his very all to make it all work.
I know Predator 2 has it’s fans but I can’t count myself as one of them. Predator 2 has a poor script but it also lacks a really creative and fresh director. Director Stephen Hopkins (who would remake Lost in Space) isn’t up to the task of following in John McTernan’s footsteps. A Predator in a city should be a terrifying prospect but it is Predator 2 lets us know that it is actually pretty boring.
AVP: Alien VS Predator (2004)
“Hey. Hey, hey, come here, take a look at this”
Plot: When scientists discover something in the Arctic that appears to be a buried Pyramid, they send a research team out to investigate. Little do they know that they are about to step into a hunting ground where Aliens are grown as sport for the Predator race. [Source]
I almost considered not putting this on the list. Let’s face it the AVP films are not canon to either The Predator films or the Alien films. But, I think these films are well known and talked about enough to warrant some discussion.
I will admit I resisted watching this for years because I wasn’t interested in the concept. But I did give it a shot, to be honest, this isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.
Then again my expectations were pretty low. Director Paul W.S. Anderson clearly has a love for both franchises and that does come through in the movie. That being said the movie isn’t fun enough as a “VS” movie, lacking the bloody glory of their franchise contemporaries and doesn’t have a single memorable character outside of the Xenomorph and the Predator themselves. In all honesty, I feel like the Alien franchise is above this (I realize I am coming across as an Alien fanboy throughout this article) but it is what it is and I am glad this movie is treated as “Elseworlds” story.
I could see this being a guilty pleasure of people but I didn’t have enough fun with it to add it to my collection of guilty pleasures. Still, it isn’t that bad.
Aliens vs Predator: Requiem (2007)
“This plan is stupid. Let’s just leave town now.”
Plot: A sequel to 2004’s Alien vs. Predator, the iconic creatures from two of the scariest film franchises in movie history wage their most brutal battle ever – in our own backyard. The small town of Gunnison, Colorado becomes a war zone between two of the deadliest extra-terrestrial life forms – the Alien and the Predator. When a Predator scout ship crash-lands in the hills outside the town, Alien Facehuggers and a hybrid Alien/Predator are released and begin to terrorize the town. [Source]
Okay, this is the movie I thought I was getting with the first AVP movie.
Aliens vs Predator: Requiem is one of the worst crossover movies and one of the worst written mainstream studio blockbusters of all time. This is proof that just adding gore and an R-Rating doesn’t make a movie good. Yeah, the first movie lacked the gore but it was a much better put together movie.
If you are going to make shlock go all the way with it. Requiem never figures out what it wants to be. One moment it is riffing on the series and the next it is darkly serious. I think even the first movie (as much as I didn’t love it) knew what it was. You can’t even see what you are looking at half the time! This is a major studio release I do expect them to have a proper lighting crew.
Instead of being a good combo of Sci-Fi/Thriller and a monster movie this almost acts completely as a teen slasher flick. Why?
“You’re one ugly motherfucker”
Plot: A mercenary reluctantly leads a motley crew of warriors who soon come to realize they’ve been captured and deposited on an alien planet by an unknown nemesis. With the exception of a peculiar physician, they are all cold-blooded killers, convicts, death squad members… hunters who have now become the hunted. [Source]
Thankfully 20th Century Fox wised up after the last AVP movie and went back to the original series.
Predators is probably the best sequel to the original Predator. This is much darker and retains the graphic, bloody nature of the original film. This also has a much more ensemble cast. Adrian Brody probably shouldn’t be an action star but he does a decent enough job as the lead. I also really liked Alice Braga in this movie.
But what this movie lacks is a strong direction. This movie is quite frankly pretty boring. There is plenty of action but it isn’t all that engaging. There are some good effects, the premise is decent and the cast is great. Despite all of that I never felt locked into the movie. Predators lacks suspense and tension to really make this movie feel worth the time spent with it. Director Nimród Antal definitely stages some of the action well but he forgets to really add in the atmosphere that the first Predator had.
This could have been pretty good. Predators does have its moments but it is pretty “meh” compared to the first movie.
This is my overview of the entire Predator series! Want to know what I thought of the latest Predator film? Click here to find out!