Written by: Cesar Perez, CC2K Staff Writer
There is only one good Predator film and we all know what it is, so this ranking of the films in the Predator franchise is more of a list ranking the worst to the less lousy ones until we eventually get to the classic 1987 Predator. Let’s get started.
6) Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
There’s so much to say about Alien vs. Predator: Requiem and none of it is positive. Plain and simple, AVP: Requiem is a mess from beginning to end. Within the first few minutes it’s clear that the franchise has completely abandoned every element of greatness that went into the original. Part high school teen drama and part B-level horror movie, AVP: Requiem is caught between two worlds that often feels like you’re watching two entirely different movies simultaneously. Filled with downright atrocious writing delivered by characters who have less personality than a cardboard box, it’s a struggle to get through the hour and a half runtime. There are plenty of showdowns between the Aliens and Predator, but what should have been the one redeeming quality is undercut by the fact that the action scenes are muddled in darkness, resulting in action you simply cannot see on screen.
5) Alien vs. Predator (2004)
The mindless action, the unnecessary slow motion, AVP is the prototypical Paul W. S. Anderson movie in the same vein as Anderson’s Resident Evil films. That is not meant as a compliment. AVP is unequivocally ridiculous. The Predator franchise spent the first two films setting up the Predators as the ultimate hunter of the human race, but by the end of AVP we have an environmental technician befriending a Predator as they work in unison to take down a Xenomorph. A bore for the first 40 minutes, the most exciting part is sighting Wolf “The Dentist” Stansson, the coach of the Iceland hockey team in D2: The Mighty Ducks. A pretty low standard of excitement to reach when your movie is filled with choppy awkward editing that frustratingly cuts away from the action right when the Xenomorphs and Predators are about to do battle. AVP adds to the mythology of the Predators, explaining that the extraterrestrials were worshipped as Gods that taught mankind to build pyramids. An interesting plot idea shoehorned in the film that sounds better in theory than it is implemented into the storyline.
4) Predator 2 (1990)
I remember enjoying Predator 2 as a kid. Give me a cool looking alien and I was all in. After revisiting Predator 2 one thing is evident, this film has some racist connotations. Caught in a turf war with the Colombians in 1990s Los Angeles, the Jamaican Cartel perform barbaric rituals that are no different from the savagery of the Predators when they flay and hang the dead bodies of their prey. What’s the difference between an extraterrestrial that kills for sport and the Jamaican Cartel? According to director Stephen Hopkins, not much. Predator 2 starts the trend of casting an actor who was the complete opposite of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Danny Glover is a fine actor, but he’s terribly miscast. Glover had no business going toe to toe with the Predator. There is one good thing about this movie and that’s Bill Paxton, far and away the only character with an ounce of personality.
3) Predators (2010)
Predators is technically a sequel. With the jungle setting, the ensemble cast, the return of Alan Silvestri’s memorable score, it’s a lazy attempt to repackage the feeling of the 1987 Predator without admitting it’s an obvious remake. Adrien Brody in the lead role of an ex-military soldier is another miscasting, but the casting woes don’t end with him. Topher Grace plays a psychopathic killer and even amongst a crazy ensemble cast, he still manages to feel oddly out of place. This could be a Topher Grace thing because besides playing Eric Forman in That ’70s Show, he feels miscast in pretty much every film he’s in. There is some intrigue in Predators though, the mistrust amongst the crew that rises up by virtue of each individual mysteriously appearing in the jungle via parachute, for example. Nevertheless, the lack of action and originality make for another less than stellar entry in the franchise.
2) The Predator (2018)
Just when you thought the ultimate hunter killed its prey for good, director Shane Black takes one last stab at revitalizing a franchise that hasn’t had any critical success since the Reagan administration. The Predator musters up some thrills on the action front, while Sterling K. Brown and Trevante Rhodes shine in their limited screen time. On the other hand, the raunchy humor doesn’t land, the novelty of the bigger and so-called advanced Predator wears off quickly, and the lack of any character development weighs down the film. The Predator franchise is consistently defined by disappointment and missed opportunities. Shane Black could have reignited a fan base clamoring for a solid sci-fi action film, instead The Predator proves the franchise needs to go the way of the dinosaur.
1) Predator (1987)
A strong case for the manliest movie off all-time, Predator is a slow burn as the ultimate hunter methodically picks off one U.S. Army Special Forces solider after another. It exudes ferocity and the essence of survival. The Predator’s infrared vision effects were revolutionary for the time and Stan Winston’s special effects have never been outdone. The intimidating and grandiose look of the extraterrestrial had the likes of Carl Weathers and Arnold Schwarzenegger scared to death as they fight an enemy they can not understand or detect. Predator’s final act is pure perfection and features the best trap setting scene topped only by Kevin McCallister in Home Alone. Predator provided us with the some of the best Arnie one-liners, “Get to the chopper”, “Stick around”, “You’re one ugly motherfucker” and is truly a gift from the cinema Gods.