There’s always some confusion when it comes to the clawed, futuristic dreadlocked aliens that Arnold Schwarzenegger encountered so many years ago. There have been what feels like a dozen movies featuring them, or them fighting the aliens from the Alien franchise, and they’re all bleeding together. Now that Shane Black is rebooting the franchise, I thought it would be helpful to give everyone a brief refresher on all things Predator. Strap in.
Predator (1987): The one that started it all, and really the only objectively good Predator film. Directed by the great John McTiernan with a script that was patched up by Shane Black (who also co-starred as Hawkins). Starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, and Jessie Ventura, in one of the weirder casts ever assembled. But damn, it’s so good. Most well known for “You are one ugly motherfucker” and the obvious gay subtext between Dylan and Dutch.
Predator 2 (1990): Directed by Stephen Hopkins (who would go on to direct the enjoyable Ghost and the Darkness), this one is… fun. But not good. It’s rife with ethnic stereotypes and Bill Paxton playing Bill Paxton. But it also has Reuben Blades and Maria Conchito Alonso in supporting roles, so all is not lost. Most well known for trying to convince us that Danny Glover is a tough guy, mostly through wearing ill-fitted suits.
Aliens Vs Predators (2004): After a long-ass hiatus, the Predators returned. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, the cleverly nicknamed AvP is a hopeless sack of shit featuring ancient alien pyramids in the Antarctic or some other nonsense. Starred the leftover pieces of Lance Henrikson’s soul, and Sanaa Lathan (the only redeeming part). Most well known for shitting on the legacy of two franchises.
Aliens vs. Predators: Requiem (2007): At least it tried something different. It took the ancient aliens/predators conflict and set it in the American heartland, where a bunch of randos in rural Colorado had to fight them. There was a weird teen sex drama angle to it, and a cast of nobodies. It’s a terrible movie that I will confess that I weirdly enjoy. It’s directed by the Strause brothers, whose only other directing credit is the abominably bad Skyline (the only good thing that came out of Skyline was Steven Lloyd Wilson’s masterful takedown of it). Most well-known for the random appearance of the Yutani Corporation logo at the end, and being forgotten by 99.9% of the population who saw it.
Predators (2010): This was an oddball ensemble piece that starred Adrian Brody, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Alice Braga and… Mahershala Ali? What? Really? Holy shit, I never even realized it until now. Anyway. Its “bringing earth’s badasses to an alien planet” plot is enjoyable, but not in a way that really makes you feel good. Fishburne goes Full Bananas in it. And Adrian Brody is woefully miscast. Directed by Nimród E. Antal, it’s most well-known for signifying the beginning of the end of Brody’s career, and showing that nobody really has any idea what the fuck to do with this franchise.
The Predator (2018): Coming this September and directed by Shane Black, it’s got a beastly good cast — Boyd Hallbrook, Olivia Munn, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown, Yvonne Strahovski, Alfie Allen, and Thomas Jane. That’s a lot. The first trailer looks… eh. But I’ve got hope.