You know, for a time, Predator movies used to be the most "masculine," testosterone-fueled films at the multiplexes. Big guns (both of the muscle, and weapon variety), a horrific monster, and men running through the jungle were always seen as MANLY STUFF. But, that was back in the '80s and '90s, when the whole concept of "masculinity" was pretty much spelled out as being one distinct thing.
But now, with movies like Prey, we live in an era where badass action movies aren't a boys only club anymore defined by gender. We thankfully now live in an era where notable female action characters can't just be counted on one hand anymore. Yes, we still have a long way to go, but we've made some progress, if even just a little.
And, while I'm aware that some people might scream "WOKE!" to this intro, I mostly think it's just cool that the Predator franchise has been able to adapt and change over the years, much like the titular predator itself. That said, with 7 Predator-related movies out there, which is the very best? Well, you're about to find out.
7. Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
Directed by the Brothers Strause, and acting as a direct follow-up to the original AvP, this dismal sequel is about an alien/predator hybrid on the loose (A pred-alien, if you will), and a single Predator who needs to wipe out any aliens (and people) who get in his way.
Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, which I reviewed many moons ago, is rated-R, but I don't know why since you can barely see anything. I mean, seriously the lighting in this movie is atrocious! That said, everything else around the awful, poorly lit fight scenes is also terrible, as the human characters stink, the setting is bland, and the plot is yawn-inducing. I recently watched all of the Predator movies again a few weeks ago in preparation for Prey, and I legit forgot that I even watched this movie again before writing this list. That's how forgettable it was.
6. The Predator (2018)
Directed by Shane Black, who was actually in the original movie, 2018's The Predator tried to do something different, but ended up falling flat on its monstrous face instead. Starring a pretty great cast of Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key, Boyd Holbrook, and many others, The Predator features a plot where predators have enhanced themselves with human DNA, but they come to earth when a boy wears their armor as a Halloween costume. I'm dead serious.
The Predator is by far the most polarizing film in the entire franchise. Some, like our very own Dirk Libbey, said in his The Predator review that it was an "entertaining enough sequel," while others feel it is the absolute nadir of the series. Personally, I'm somewhere in the middle.
The plot, which revolves around everything from autism to climate change, is a mess. But, it has its highlights, like some of the humor and the action. That said, much like the Fantastic Four movie with Michael B. Jordan (which I actually kind of like), the movie falls completely apart in the third act, destroying all the fun in the earlier parts of the film. Oh, well. It's bad, but not Alien vs. Predator Requiem bad since at least I can actually see what's going on in this movie.
5. Alien vs. Predator (2004)
Written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, this dream match that began in the comics (uh, hullo! I'm still waiting on my RoboCop vs Terminator movie crossover), the aliens and predators fight each other in the cold at a pyramid. What else do you need to know?
AvP's shortcomings come in the fact that a) it holds a lot back with its PG-13 rating, and b) its setting doesn't really benefit either character. It's also a huge let-down given the hype of these two legendary franchises coming together. Whenever anybody asks me how I feel about AvP, I always give them the same response: Freddy vs. Jason did it better. And they did. AvP is mid at best, and bottom of the barrel at worst.
4. Predators (2010)
Directed by Nimrod Antal, and starring Adrian Brody, Alice Braga, Mahershala Ali, and many others, Predators finds a mercenary (Brody) and a bunch of other dangerous people on a distant planet where Predators (hence the title) try to kill them. Pretty standard stuff.
Actually, maybe too standard as Predators is pretty middle of the road for me. I know there are some people who find Predators to be underrated, and it definitely has its moments -- I especially love the startling way that the movie opens--- but overall, it's just fine. I don't hate it, I don't love it. It's just a movie. With Predators in it. Next.
3. Predator 2 (1990)
Directed by Stephen Hopkins and starring Danny Glover, Gary Busey, and Bill Paxton, Predator 2 takes place ten years after the first movie, and a Predator, having witnessed a gang confrontation with the police, takes his abilities to the streets of LA to get in on the action. I'm not the first person to make this joke, but this Predator is in a new jungle this time -- THE CONCRETE JUNGLE. Yeah, it wasn't very clever the first time, either.
Predator 2 was my second favorite Predator movie until just recently, but honestly, that's not saying much given the other films. Still, Predator 2 has a lot going for it, as the urban setting is effective here, and the Predator effects are really cool in this movie. I also love Danny Glover as the protagonist, as he's a sharp contrast from Arnold in the original. Predator 2 is schlocky and silly, and for that, I really dig it. It's fun.
2. Prey (2022)
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, and starring Amber Midthunder, Michelle Thrush, and Dane DiLiegro, Prey takes the series way back to 1719, where a Comanche tribe is attacked by fur trappers. Oh, and a Predator. Fur trappers and a Predator. In the midst of all of this is a female Comanche warrior (Midthunder) who kicks their asses to prove to both herself and also to her tribe that she is the most badass of them all.
Prey is, without a doubt, the second best Predator movie. In fact, our very own Dirk Libbey opined in his review that Prey is "the best Predator movie in years, possibly ever." And I agree… that it's the best Predator movie in years. It's just so refreshing. Putting it deep in the past and showing a Predator on earth in its own first hunt provides a great counterbalance to our heroine's story arc. The setting is also phenomenal, making me want more Predator movies set in the past. Prey is excellent, but really, only one Predator movie can be the very best.
1. Predator (1987)
Directed by John McTiernan and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura (meaning it starred TWO former Governors), and a few others, the original Predator is about a group of alpha males who go into a jungle on a rescue mission, only to find that they're being hunted by a deadly alien. Simple, but effective.
I know how I went on a screed earlier about how the whole concept of masculinity is kind of dated in 2022, but yeah. Predator is a super manly movie. I mean, there is a whole scene where two grown ass men arm wrestle in the air to prove their toughness. How much more of a pissing contest do you need? And the thing about the first Predator is that it commits to that idea of masculinity, even making it important to subverting the plot. Because in this movie, Arnold, who was the biggest action hero on the planet at the time, wasn't the predator, but rather, the prey, and it really made you nervous for a guy who could probably deadlift an SUV back in his prime. Like, if this hunk of beef can't take down a Predator, who can?
This contrast, and the fact that the Predator takes such a long time to actually reveal itself, makes this film legendary, and ultimately, the greatest Predator movie of all time. And I honestly have a hard time believing that any other Predator movie, no matter how good it is, will ever surpass it.
And, that's the list. But, what's your favorite Predator movie? For more news on all things Predator-related, make sure to swing by here often!
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.