The Predator is currently playing in cinemas and whilst it is generally regarded as a wasted opportunity, I found a lot to like in it. As I have such a difference viewpoint on this series compared to convention, I thought now would be a fitting time to rank the films in the series so far.
Here is my ranking:
This is probably where you completely shut off and disregard this list, but hear me out. The original Predator is still a great film, but it’s more a film of scenarios than a cohesive narrative and it’s a bit of a trudge to get through until we get to the now-classic Arnie vs The Predator fight which in itself is awesome. Director John McTiernan (who would later go on to make the perfect Die Hard) succeeds in creating suspense with numerous shots of the Predator watching on its prey but there isn’t all that much character development and because of the lack of a narrative thread, there are a few stretches where not much happens. The film also features a very memorable score that has carried through to the rest of the series from Alan Silvestri. Predator is still an enjoyable film but controversially, I don’t think it has aged all that well and the other films have taken the material in more interesting directions.
3) The Predator
The Predator is the newest in the series is shambolically put together and its pacing is rather breakneck, but it is a really entertaining film and director Shane Black’s signature humour is put to good use here, through the characterisations of the PTSD-ridden soldiers who take on the mythical creature. The first half in particular has some really interesting ideas and some well-constructed action sequences, particularly one in a science facility. I also really liked the decision to have this film set more in the suburbs and the contrast of the Predator to the urban area is interesting. (My full review here).
2) Predator 2
Generally regarded as the worst in the series, Predator 2 is a very brave film in my opinion and is certainly not a film that would be made in this day and age. It’s a film that successfully expands upon the mythologies established in the first film and the Afro aesthetic puts an interesting spin on the character. Danny Glover is great in the lead role, a hot-headed policeman who wants justice but is afraid of heights, which he faces multiple times in the film. The film also features performances from Gary Busey as a shady DEA agent and Bill Paxton as a wisecracking new recruit. There isn’t a boring moment in the film and the final fight sequence is particularly satisfying, over multiple set pieces and sets up future films and cross-overs.
Robert Rodriguez was a very interesting choice to reboot the series after Predator 2 failed to impress. Taking a producer role and having Hungarian director Nimrod Antal in the directors chair, Predators is the best in the series in terms of its ideas and narrative. The idea of setting this film on another planet also helps to further expand the mythology and the whole mystery of why specific people are chosen to participate in this game is compelling. The cast are uniformly great, with Adrien Brody solid in the lead and standout performances from Topher Grace, Louis Ozawa Changchien and Laurence Fishburne. Although its second half morphs more into a blockbuster, its first half is where the film really excels and poses its ideas. Although The Predator is a fine entry in the series, what I’d really like to see are sequels / spin-off’s to this film as there is a lot of interesting places you can take this concept but unfortunately Predators didn’t do all that well at the box office and remains a very underrated entry in the series.
So, that was my ranking. I would say that there is not much in between the four films quality-wise – they’re all very solid and all pose some interesting ideas and between the best and worst on this list, there’s not a lot in it. Unfortunately, with The Preadator recieving very poor reviews and underperforming at the box office, I do hope we get more films as so far, they’re all very solid but only time will tell.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments or tweet @TheFilmMeister