Like many other franchises that were born in the ’80s, Predator is one that has endured, even if some of the sequels haven’t been all that great. The franchise now falls under the ownership of Walt Disney Pictures, and there’s already a new Predator sequel in the works, titled Prey (2022).
This means that it’s time to look back on the entire franchise so far, which is six-entries strong if you include the two spin-offs that crossover with the equally-popular Alien movies. So here are all the Predator movies ranked worst to best…
6. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
The sequel to Alien vs. Predator (2004) takes place in a small mountain town where the Predator spaceship from the previous movie has crash landed. And emerging from the wreckage is the literalized movie-hybrid, the ‘Predalien’ (although it’s not actually named in the movie), which begins a trail of gruesome mayhem while spawning several xenomorphs in its wake.
While the first crossover movie wasn’t met with the most favorable reception, by comparison with Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), it’s fair to say that it’s an absolute masterpiece. Taking the main criticism for the first movie on board (the PG-13 violence and the fact that the Predators were too friendly), the filmmakers made the sequel as gory and as nasty as they could.
Dull characters, dreadful storytelling, and a really mean-spirited script, it feels like Requiem was only made so that the first movie would seem much better (perhaps the directors owed Paul WS Anderson a favor). Thankfully, though, the film is so inexplicably dark (and we mean literally dark), that you can’t really see any of it! We’ll take that as a blessing.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem stars 24‘s Reiko Aylesworth (Kelly).
5. The Predator (2018)
The Predator (2018) sees Quinn (Boyd Holbrook) encounter a Predator, from which he steals the creature’s cloaking device. But once the authorities catch up with him for tampering with top-secret stuff, he’s forced to join a team of rag-tag military convicts to battle not only a regular Predator, and not only a ‘super‘ Predator, but also two… well, two Predator dogs.
When it was announced that Shane Black would be directing the fourth installment in the main Predator series, fans rejoiced. Not only has he directed movies such as Iron Man 3 (2013) and The Nice Guys (2016), he actually starred in the original Predator (1987)! Sadly, though, it didn’t take long for disappointment with the sequel to sink in (a few minutes, to tell you the truth).
We’d be lying if we said there’s no fun to be had with this movie, though, but it definitely demands that you leave your brain — and your love for the original — at the door. But unlike the suspense-fuelled 1987 classic, The Predator is essentially a full-blown comedy horror. On purpose. But if you think that’s bad, it also tries to explain things like the alien warriors’ dreadlocks…
The Predator also stars Thomas Jane (Casey), Olivia Munn (Casey), and Keegan-Michael Key (Coyle).
4. Predator 2 (1990)
Predator 2 (1990) gets as many things wrong as it does right. Switching the setting from a South American rainforest to the urban jungle of Los Angeles is a wise and respectable move, and helps the movie not feel like a retread of the original film in its entirety. With that said, at least the jungle in Predator was a lot quieter and, somehow, far less chaotic.
We get it — the sequel is trying to portray downtown LA as a jungle in its own right, which is supported by the fact that the Predator has, on this occasion, chosen LA, during a visibly scolding-hot summer, as his hunting ground. But there comes a point in Predator 2 when the whole thing just feels like an assault on your senses.
Frankly, the film is too loud, frantic, and messy to be even remotely suspenseful, and doesn’t seem at all interested in creating any sort of tension. There are, however, moments of intrigue during the backend of the film (mostly aboard the Predator’s spaceship), but ultimately, Predator 2 just makes you want to take a vacation to the jungle.
Predator 2 stars Danny Glover (Harrigan), Gary Busey (Peter), Adam Baldwin (Garber), and the late Bill Paxton (Jerry).
3. Alien vs. Predator (2004)
There was a time when fans would have scoffed at the idea of not seeing Alien vs. Predator at the bottom of a list, but Requiem helps to remedy most of the flaws with the 2004 crossover movie — though certainly not all of them. Nevertheless, director Paul WS Anderson’s efforts aren’t entirely wasted, as there’s still some fun to be had (but not much).
Say what you will about Alien and Predator’s first joint outing, but above all, the film’s choice of setting is pure genius. The Antarctica-based, subterranean pyramid feels like the perfect compromise for a crossover between the Alien and Predator franchises, which you’d normally find in deep space or a deep jungle. It’s an alien setting in its own right, and very atmospheric too.
Unfortunately, the plot isn’t all that great (although the concept is pretty neat), while the human characters are paper-thin at best. And it just isn’t scary to see them hide from xenomorphs whose own survival is on the line. It’s still pretty entertaining stuff, though, and it’s fun to watch cinema’s most iconic extra-terrestrials silently argue over whose franchise is the best.
Alien vs. Predator stars Sanaa Lathan (Alexa) and Lance Henriksen (Charles Weyland).
2. Predators (2010)
Predators (2010) is one of those sequels that quite often gets mistaken — perhaps deliberately — for a reboot. And while the reason might be obvious, seeing as the film retraces the steps of the original 1987 classic, there’s a lot in Nimord Antal’s film that tends to get overlooked, whether it’s the fact that it builds upon existing lore, or introduces some new threats along the way.
The third entry in the franchise is hardly the most beloved film in the series, and is generally considered an underwhelming affair altogether. But hopefully, in the wake of 2018’s The Predator, the threequel has garnered a bit more appreciation. Nevertheless, even if by this point you can’t see the franchise getting any better, there’s still a lot to love about Predators.
Adrien Brody (Royce) and Danny Trejo (Cuchillo) are among a band of humans who are literally dropped on a jungle planet, which they soon discover is a game preserve that the Predators use to hunt creatures from all across the cosmos. While it might not go to great lengths to distance itself creatively from the original, this well-intentioned sequel definitely deserves a second chance.
1. Predator (1987)
John McTiernan sure knows how to direct an action movie. Before the incredibly talented director gave us Die Hard (1988), he delivered Predator, a film that went on to become one of the most iconic sci-fi action horror movies of all time, that not only spawned a whole bunch of sequels, video games, and graphic novels, but also became a sibling to the Alien series.
Predator sees a group of fearless commandos who “ain’t got time to bleed” sent into a deep South American jungle on a covert mission, where they learn that there’s something hunting them, which definitely “ain’t no man”. As the group gets picked off one by one, it’s up to Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to put his theory to the test — “If it bleeds, we can kill it”.
While there are many explosive moments throughout Predator, there are just as many moments of nerve-shredding suspense, with the third-act sequence during which Dutch is forced to camouflage using mud and forge his own weapons, being one that drags you to the edge of your seat. And then of course there’s the phenomenal creature design, courtesy of the late genius that is Stan Winston.
Predator also stars Carl Weathers (Dillon) and Jesse Ventura (Blain).
The upcoming Predator sequel Prey will depict the first Predator’s arrival on Earth, long before the ’80s. It will star Amber Midthunder and is set for release in 2022 on Hulu and Disney+.
How would you rank the Predator movies?