EVERY PREDATOR MOVIE RANKED From Best to Worse
In 1987, Arnold Schwarzenegger was at the height of his action movie fame. Teaming up with Die Hard director John McTieren and Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black, they created the action horror extravaganza known as Predator. Taking a simple B-film grindhouse monster movie formula and elevating it into a masterpiece of sci-fi horror, Predator thrilled audience and gave birth to one of cinema’s most iconic movie monsters. An alien game hunter that travels the galaxy in search for the ultimate prey, with humans being one of their most favored targets. Thanks to a strong script with great characters, thrilling action scenes, powerful suspense and special effects provided by master creature creator Stan Winston, Predator went on to become a classic of genre filmmaking. The film is considered one of the best monster movies of the 1980s and sparked a franchise that has lasted decades.
With numerous sequels, comic books, novels, toys and video games, the Predator universe has an expansive mythology. Even crossing over with the xenomorphs from the ALIENS franchise, Predator has proven to be rich in storytelling that continues to unravel with fresh tales of adventure from this space hunter. With a new movie entering theaters, here is a look back at all the Predator films, putting them in order from best to worst.
1. PREDATOR – 1987
Of course the best Predator movie is the original 1987 film. Combining equal elements of horror and action, iconic 80s movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger leads a crew of muscular mercenaries into the South American jungle only to be stalked by a big game alien hunter who rips apart their bodies to collect as trophies. What could have been a cheesy 80s shlock fest turns into a monster movie masterpiece. Director John McTieran (Die Hard, Hunt for Red October) brilliantly stages the film with the use of intense pacing and a minimalistic approach to revealing the creature that created an unbearable suspense reminiscent to Jaws. Shane Black’s script was full of humor and one liners that are some of the most quotable movie lines ever. Alan Silvestri’s musical score has become just as memorable as Star Wars or Indiana Jones. Special Effects and creature creator Stan Winston managed to design another iconic movie monster that still holds up today. The film showed jaded audiences an alien concept they hadn’t seen before. The infrared thermal Predator vision, the superior weaponry and technology, and an alien whose intelligence and clever hunting skills made it much more dangerous than other cinematic extra-terrestrials. Watching these tough seemingly indestructible macho soldiers break down and become scared and fearful of this creature just made the movie so much more intense and terrifying. The thrilling climax when the Predator ditches all its weapons to go toe to toe with an unarmed Dutch just emphasized that this villain has a higher code of honor. Thus making the Predator one of cinema’s most bad ass warriors ever to appear onscreen.
2. PREDATOR 2 – 1990
There was no way to match the intensity or the terrifying suspense of the original Predator movie so the sequel just amps up the violence and gore and focuses on action. And even though the horror elements are not showcased as much, Predator 2 still manages to be a thrilling action movie. Based on the Dark Horse comic Predator: Concrete Jungle, the story moves from the South American forests to the inner city. This film has the intergalactic alien sportsman stalking big game during a gangland war in Los Angeles. Danny Glover plays Hartigan, a hard boiled cop investigating a series of murders where the corpses of gang bangers are being ripped apart in horrific unearthly ways. Predator 2 becomes just an insane thrill ride of over the top violence and cartoony heroes and villains. With over exaggerated portrayals of gangsters, more memorable one liners and Gary Busey’s hilarious take on Keys, the leader of a shadow government agency that has been tracking the alien since the events of the first film, Predator 2 is an absolute blast. The movie even manages to expand on the mythology that would be touched upon in later novels, comics and video games. Nowhere near reaching the excellence of the original film, Predator 2 is still loads of fun and the best sequel in the series so far.
3. THE PREDATOR – 2018
Shane Black returns to the Predator series to direct and co-write the script with Fred Dekker (The Monster Squad, Night of the Creeps, Tales From the Crypt) hoping to reignite the franchise. While it introduces a lot of cool ideas, the plot falls flat and becomes a retread of what audiences have already seen. A sniper witnesses a Predator spaceship crash and takes some of the alien tech only to be chased by the Predator and a secret government group out to recover the weaponry. Teaming up with a band of mentally unstable soldiers, they joke their way through a series of action set pieces, ultimately leading to a final bloody confrontation. The movie is convoluted with a lot of side plots that don’t really lead anywhere. The sniper’s son who has autism and learns how to activate the alien technology could have been an all new different take on the Predator mythology, however the film just settles back into the same old formula of a macho men acting macho movie. The latest Predator is more concerned with being a comedy than a horror flick. It actually has more in common with Guardians of the Galaxy than the original movie as the characters are constantly cracking jokes and witty quips and do not show an ounce of fear in the face of danger. Despite its flaws, there is plenty of brutal action and gory violence to make the movie entertaining. The new Predator also expands on the universe much more than any of the other previous films. It touches up on the governments involvement with the alien technology and give insights into the Predator tribal hierarchy. With plenty of nods and easter eggs to the old movies and even referencing comic books like Bad Blood, The Predator still manages to be a fun thrill ride. It may not be perfect, but it sets up what hopes to be a new era of Predator movies.
4. PREDATORS – 2010
The problem that most of the Predator sequels have is that they spend way too much time establishing a mystery that the audience already knows. We spend the first hour of the movie watching characters wonder what is happening around them, asking questions we already know the answer to. It’s like the filmmakers are trying to emulate the suspense and terror of the original Predator film, but it’s just not possible. With 5 movies into the franchise, the audience already knows what they’re getting into. Watching characters acting surprised to things we have seen before does not add any mystery or suspense to the movie. Instead, it just becomes boring. And unfortunately, that’s what Predators was for the most part. A long drawn out plot that has already been told that tries to build up to a disappointing anti-climax. Even with the film being set on another planet, there is nothing new introduced or anything that expands on the Predator mythos. The film follows a rag tag bunch of killers who are abducted from earth and dropped off on an alien jungle planet / gaming preserve to be hunted by the Predators. What could have been a simple effective story, just becomes a generic remake of the original movie.
5. AvP: ALIENS vs PREDATOR: REQUIEM – 2007
Dark Horse Comics published a series of sci-fi horror mash ups in the 90s that included, Robo-Cop, Terminator and of course Aliens vs Predator. Fans of the comics were eager to see a film adaption of these 2 space titans and in 2004, Aliens vs Predator was released to mixed reviews. However, the sequel, AvP: Requiem is an all-out B-Movie horror flick that was actually a lot more fun and action packed than its big budget predecessor. Instead of rehashing the same old Predator formula of banding together a mean group of soldiers fighting a monster, this takes a left turn into slasher flick territory. The movie follows a group of suburban teens who try to survive an alien invasion of their small town, only to have the Predators intercept the Aliens. Acidic bloody mayhem ensues. Complete with gory kill scenes, parents getting slaughtered in front of their children, and plenty of Alien on Predator action, Requiem is just a blast of campy grindhouse exploitation. Also, it manages to show audiences something they never seen before in the Alien Predator Hybrid. A cheesy display of sci-fi slasher flick horror, AvP: Requiem is just stupid, stupid fun.
6. AvP: ALIEN vs PREDATOR – 2004
Ever since Dark Horse first published the comics, the idea of a movie featuring Aliens and Predators engaging in war was a no-brainer. When the Predator 2 film was released in 1990 and featured an Alien Skull in the trophy room aboard the Predator’s ship, it seemed that these creatures would eventually meet in their own movie. In 2004, Uber Geek filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat) put a lot of thought and care into the adaption of Alien vs Predator. Fans of both series were excited to finally see their favorite space monsters do battle onscreen for the first time. Unfortunately, the PG-13 rating watered down the violence and again, like always, the movie spends way too much time setting up a mystery that the audience already knows. This flick doesn’t have much to offer other than some cool visuals and some great imagery that pays tribute to the original AvP comics. However, with a slow first act, minimal gore, cheap jump scares involving penguins, bulky Predator costumes, and awkward fight scenes that look like bad WWE wrestling matches, Aliens vs Predator is rather forgettable.