In a series of comic books, video games, and films, the famous Alien xenomorphs have been pitted against them, but by most common cinematic metrics, there isn't much of a competition. Every director of an Alienmovie (except for the Alien vs. Predator side series) has been nominated for at least one Academy Award.
ThePredatorseries has no such reputation. It is described as something of an odd-ran: one of those unkillable franchises that is still chasing the glory of the classic original. Like many other latter-day Predator movies, its reviews suggest that maybe this time theyve made a worthwhile sequel to Predator.
What if I told you that every Predator film, like the Alienseries, is worth seeing? And, further, that each one, for the same reasons as its distant Alien cousins, is worth seeing: because each one shows off the filmmaker's style, skill sets, and preoccupations. Each one starts over, giving a different filmmaker a chance to experiment with the notion of an 8-foot alien race that's apparently devoted to hunting other animals for sport.
Predatormovies aren't a high-minded film; they're not burdened with low-level entry titles like the Alien, Terminator, or RoboCop series. In their modest and low-stakes manner, theyve become a model for what a reliable yet varied franchise should be; it's a relief that this remnant of 20th Century Fox, a proponent of R-rated sci-fi and horror, survives its menacing acquisition by Disney.
With the first Predator, Director John McTiernan followed that up with Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October, both films have remarkable action-movie versatility, and that versatility is evident in Predator itself. It shifts from a confrontational guys-on-a-mission movie to stalker/slasher dynamics to a final mano a mano presentation for star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also directed several classics in the wake of this film, including Total Recall and Terminator 2.
The novelty of the first sections second-tier machismo is both part of why the film has remained popular, and why Arnolds Dutch is the only Predator who is at risk of becoming overrated at all. The real juice comes in the last 40 minutes of the film, where Arnolds Dutch starts becoming aggressive towards his alien foes, although it appears to be the framework that fits his clean-line action and physical performance.
Predator is now available on Hulu for viewing.
Predator 2 (1990)
It's difficult to decipher a lot of explicit thematic concerns from Stephen Hopkins' films since he and Renny Harlin both directed successive Nightmare on Elm Street sequels in the late 1990s. But the thing is, early-90s studio-action journeyman does have a collective authorship of its own, an MTV-influenced slickness that now appears almost classical for its relative clarity and coherence.
The films depiction of warring gangs, including a Voodoo-themed enclave, are far from culturally sensitive; then again, its difficult to discern which, if any, characters are worthless in the Predators' initially unreliable decision to pursue officers and gang members in Los Angeles, which is a powerful weapon of collective action.
Predator 2 is now available on Hulu.
Alien vs. Predator (2004)
Although some of our current franchise obsession was planted back in the 1990s, this was also a time when horror and science fiction franchises were permitted, nay, to lie dormant when faced with a creative and/or financial impasse. The fact that the Predators vanished from movie screens in the early 1990s served to confer retroactive slasher-movie status upon them.
Alien vs. Predator, a low-rent film, is recognizably auteur-driven. Anderson is well-known for his distinctive blend of horror and science fiction films, most famously the Resident Evil series. Lathan gets a rare action-hero role as an Arctic travel guide forced to do what no one else in the series has done before or since.
None of this applies to Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, a misbegotten 2007 sequel that sucks despite including the potentially awesome idea of a Predator-incubated Predalien. Thankfully, its versus status makes it feel like it doesnt belong to either film.
Hulu has released Alien vs. Predator for watching.
After making Predators and directing several TV programs in his native Hungary, Nimrod Antal ceased to be a professional filmmaker of contained thrillers. Though his films Vacancy or Armored are more expansive, the characters remain confined; they wake up mid-freefall and are thrust onto an alien planet where two factions of Predators will fight to stalk and kill them.
The alien game preserve concept is a clever inversion/imitation of the original film, which Antal demonstrates in other 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 and splitting them apart at crucial moments. The obvious but welcome not-even-subtext of this face-off is that the humans all professional-grade killers of some sort or another are themselves predators, forced into a reckoning with
Predators is a well-rounded sci-fi thriller that combines a pleasant, B-movie tinge; Oscar nominees Adrien Brody and Mahershala Ali; wacky character actors Walton Goggins and Danny Trejo; and, just to round things out, a former sitcom star (Topher Grace) and a mixed martial artist (Oleg Taktarov).
Hulu has made Predators available for viewing.
The Predator (2018)
The Predator, meanwhile, embraces the lineage: co-writer/director Shane Black appeared in the original film, did uncredited rewrites on the script, and shamelessly attempts to reclaim a form of contemporary franchising, with an end that teases more than it resolves. It's also a bit of a shambles, with some confusingly circular geography, an obviously revised third act, and a tasteless portrayal of an autistic kid (Ja
Even a condescending view that people on the spectrum represent an evolutionary leap for humanity fits with Blacks' enthusiasm for misfit, cynical, or otherwise irreverent characters seeking redemptive heroism. (He gets some of the details wrong, its because hes such a loving screw-up himself.) Thats the core concept behind Blacks Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys, which have been expanded into a group effort when McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), the father of
The characters' unruly behaviors mirror the overcomplicated tale of a regular Predator coming to Earth in an effort to warn humanity about a new (and encroaching!) species of predators. Other strong performances from Holbrook, Munn, Brown, and Keegan-Michael Key, among others, yammering and rat-a-tatting around the violent action.
The Predator is available on FXNow or for digital rental or purchase on VOD platforms.
It's a little redundant for the Predator series to get back to basics. Even the most ambitious of the previous films dont shy away from a giant armored alien killing humans. Trachtenberg reduces the Cloverfieldseries to a small scale for 10 Cloverfield Lane, and attempts to do the same here, with a similarly feminist touch, with a determined Comanche woman named Naru (Amber Midthunder) in for Schwarzeneggers Dutch.
Naru goes looking for the Predator, not only to impress Dutch and his crew, but to imitate it in some small way. Because Prey is a fascinating example of our country's predator past, it's prudent to keep going around and not let these silly, illogical franchises slip into a rut.
Prey is available to watch on Hulu.
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