Predators are vying for the Alien franchise's iconic xenomorphs in a series of comic books, video games, and films, but by most common cinematic metrics, there isn't much of a contest. Every director of an Alienmovie (apart from the Alien vs. Predator side series) has been subsequently nominated for at least one Academy Award.
ThePredatorseries isn't a household name. It's a pseudo-random one of those unkillable franchises that continue to pursue the greatness of the classic. However, its reviews suggest that this time, theyve created a worthwhile sequel to Predator.
What if I told you that every Predator film, as with the Alienseries, is worth seeing? For the same reasons as their distant Alien cousins, each one displays the filmmaker's style, skill sets, and preoccupations; each one starts over and allows a different filmmaker to experiment with the notion of an 8-foot alien race that lives exclusively for sport.
The Predatormovies aren't just high-minded; they're also free of any early entry near-perfection issues like the Alien, Terminator, or RoboCop series. In their modest and low-stakes manner, they've become a model for what a reliable yet varied franchise should be; it's a relief that this remnant of 20th Century Fox as a purveyor of R-rated sci-fi and horror thrives into Disney's menacing
With the original Predator, director John McTiernan followed that trend with Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October, and that versatility is evident in Predator itself. It transforms from a tense guys-on-a-mission thriller to stalker-slasher tension to a mano-a-mano performance for star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also directed several classics in the wake of this film, including Total Recall and Terminator 2.
The thrill of the first two sections' second-tier machismo is both part of why the film has remained relevant in popular opinion, and why Arnolds Dutch is the only Predator in danger of becoming overrated. The real juice comes in the final 40 minutes of the film, where Arnolds Dutch begins to become aggressive towards his alien foes.
Predator is now available to watch on Hulu.
Predator 2 (1990)
Thematic concerns from Stephen Hopkins' films are difficult to decipher due to the timing and style of his career peak, and they both directed successive Nightmare on Elm Street sequels in the late 1980s. But the fact remains, as a journeyman, the film does have a collective authorship that now appears to be almost classic for its relative clarity and coherence.
Some of the films depicting warring groups, including a Voodoo-themed enclave, are so stylized that they fall somewhere between comic book splash panels and abstract art. It's hard to distinguish which, if any, characters are without dignity in the Predators' initial inexplicable decision to hunt cops and gang members in Los Angeles as its supposedly top-tier big-game targets. Maybe this one has a sophisticated sense of collective action recognizing that all people in Los Angeles are
Predator 2 is now available on Hulu.
Alien vs. Predator (2004)
In the 1990s, some seeds of our current franchise obsession were planted, nay, allowed to lie dormant when faced with a creative and/or financial cliffhanger. The fact that the Predators vanished from movie screens in the early 1990s served to confer retroactive slasher-movie status on them.
Alien vs. Predator is a unique action hero film that reflects Paul W.S. Anderson's distinctive aesthetic in film and videogames, most famously the Resident Evil series.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is a misbegotten 2007 sequel that sucks despite including the potentially awesome idea of a Predator-incubated Predalien in it. Fortunately, its versus status makes it seem like it does not belong to either.
On Hulu, Alien vs. Predator is available for viewing.
After making Predators and directing several TV programs in Hungary, Nimrod Antal decided to refocus on directed films like Vacancy or Armored, which he calls Tight Spot Cinema. The characters still feel trapped; they wake up mid-freefall and are thrust onto an alien planet where, eventually, two factions of Predators will compete to stalk and kill them.
Antal's alien game preserve technique is a clever inversion/imitation of the original film in ways that go beyond fan service. Like McTiernan, he has a knack for blocking and framing his ensemble in the jungle environment, bringing them together at crucial moments and splitting them apart at obvious points.
Predators is a muscular, stand-alone sci-fi thriller that features Oscar nominees Adrien Brody and Mahershala Ali, witty character actors Walton Goggins and Danny Trejo, genre veterans Alice Braga and Laurence Fishburne (riffing on Apocalypse Now, no less!)
On Hulu, Predators is available to watch.
The Predator (2018)
The Predator, meanwhile, embraces the lineage: co-writer/director Shane Black appeared in the original film, did uncredited rewrites of the script, and shamelessly attempts to foresee more of contemporary franchising, with an end that isn't very appealing, and a portrayal of an autistic kid (Jacob Tremblay) that borders on sappy.
Even a crude notion that people on the autism spectrum represent an evolutionary leap for humanity fits with Blacks' dislike for misfit, cynical, or otherwise irreverent characters finding redemptive heroism. (If he gets some of the details wrong, its because hes such a loving screw-up himself). Theyre joined by a biologist (Olivia Munn) and chased by a ruthless government bad guy (Sterling K. Brown).
The predator's stuttering dynamics contrast with a complex narrative about a regular Predator sending to Earth in an effort to avert humankind's evolving (and encroaching!) species of bigger, badder Predators. Along with strong performances from Holbrook, Munn, Brown, and Keegan-Michael Key, the male bonding here is almost touching.
The Predator is available for viewing on FXNow or for digital rental or purchase on VOD platforms.
The Predator series is a bit redundant since even the most ambitious of previous films dont go too far from a giant armored alien killing humans. Here, Dan Trachtenberg goes back to the original with a similar feminist bent.
Naru is determined to prove her loyalty to the Predator, unlike Dutch and his crew or any other characters in the Predator series. It's a clever move to keep jumping around and not letting these nutty, twisted tales stay stuck in franchise mode.
Prey is now available on Hulu.
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