Much like the cloaked killing machines at the heart of the franchise, Prey has stealthily crept up on us and unleashed hell. Yes, a heart-pounding slice of visceral sci-fi horror on Hulu and Disney+ streaming services dropped recently, and it’s an absolute doozie. It’s so damn good that it’s made us rethink the series’ ranking as a whole.
To make this feature even more interesting, we thought it would be cool to include the duo of AvP films to spice things up. So, with that in mind, come join us for our official ranking of cinema’s most iconic space monsters. Let’s go!
7.) Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
If a film was judged by a mere screenshot alone, Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem would win all the prizes with just that image above. I mean, look at it — it looks so epic, right? Unfortunately, we have to – you know – take the movie as a whole, and that’s where things sadly start falling apart.
From horrendous acting to needless teen drama to action that is lit so poorly it’s nigh on impossible to see what the heck is happening, Requiem is a disastrous mess of a film that “proudly” sits at the bottom of the pile… by a very wide margin.
The biggest sin of Requiem? It actually makes a face-off between two of sci-fi horror’s most beloved beasts mind-numbingly boring. Kudos, The Strause Brothers. Now that’s a feat!
6.) The Predator (2018)
While hopes were high for OG Predator actor Shane Black’s return to the series – for those unaware, he helped contribute to the script-writing of the original 1987 classic, but his writing contribution was left uncredited – The Predator was an absolute bust.
Sadly, despite a few entertaining action sequences peppered here and there, mostly involving the newly-introduced “Super Predator,” Black’s sequel fell flat thanks to a silly story that just keeps getting sillier and sillier, CGI that often appeared a wee bit low-budget, and some eye-rollingly trite moments (I’m looking at you let’s-kill-each-other-’cause-we-respect-each-other Bailey and Coyle scene) .
Seriously, when the film’s hero (portrayed by Boyd Holbrook) jumped off a cliff onto a speeding Predator spacecraft in the pic’s final act, the entire cinema groaned. And really, that says it all.
5.) Alien Vs. Predator (2004)
Paul W. S. Anderson’s first, and only, foray into the universes of the Yautja and Xenomorphs always gets a bad rap. Frankly, I actually think it’s an okay movie. Yes, it’s a PG-13. And yes, the acting is more wooden than a furniture radio ad. Still, there are plenty of things to appreciate about Alien Vs. Predator. (Now say that again but this time with meaning.)
Firstly, the film’s concept and setting is pretty damn cool; a deserted whaling station and an ancient, ever-changing pyramid buried 2000 feet below a glacier off the coast of Antarctica is a really neat idea. In addition, when the monsters finally go toe-to-toe and begin beating the living snot out of each other, the action sequences are laudable in an early noughties, The Matrix-esque kind of way.
While it may not be the perfect organism fans were clamoring for, it’s still a decent popcorn flick that boasts some memorable imagery, a few praiseworthy ideas, and some impressive set designs. Oh, and even OG Aliens director James Cameron weighed in, saying: “It was actually pretty good.” Not too shabby for a movie that largely feels universally hated, huh?
4.) Predators (2010)
Nimród Antal’s soft reboot/sequel has a lot going for it. Not only does it boast an impressive ensemble cast, with the award-winning Adrian Brody front and center, but it also gets back to the hunt-’em-up basics that the original delivered so well. The major problem with Predators is that it hews a bit too closely to John McTiernan’s classic that it actually hurts it.
While the movie has a few cool ideas up its sleeve, mainly expanding upon the mythology of the Yautja culture by introducing a caste system and some new extraterrestrial wildlife, the minute-to-minute action which centers upon a group of badasses getting picked off one by one in a jungle often feels a little too been-there-done-that.
Plus, Brody just doesn’t have the charisma and screen presence of you-know-who. Sorry, Adrian!
3.) Predator 2 (1990)
As a kid, I used to think – much like everybody else at the time – that the first Predator sequel was super disappointing. Thing is, the film has undergone several critical re-appraisals over the course of the 32 years since its original release. Indeed, Predator 2 is lucky to have not only stood the test of time but its popularity has been buoyed by nostalgic rose-tinted glasses, much akin to George Lucas’s Star Wars prequels, ultimately acquiring cult status.
Nevertheless, Danny Glover shines as a disgruntled LAPD cop, while the urban locale that sees a turf war play out between two drug cartels is a welcome change of pace compared to the lush, green setting of its predecessor’s jungle-centric environments.
Really, it’s the final prologue that helps cement this one as a fan favorite as it adds some cool lore to the franchise and hides a super cool easter egg for eagle-eyed fans to discover that tees up the inevitable battle between Yautja and Xenomorph.
2.) Prey (2022)
Despite the hit and (mostly) miss nature of the Predator sequels, it’s fair to say that Prey still had some pretty big shoes to fill. Thankfully, seemingly against all odds, it delivered the goods by ripping up the Predator rulebook and creating a tense and memorable experience that leans into the horror of the IP.
The elephant in the room? Yes, the lead isn’t a man. Oh no!
While naysayers may criticize the film for being “unrealistic” or “woke” (god I hate that word), the reality is Amber Midthunder delivers a terrific performance as the underdog Comanche hunter, Naru, who doesn’t simply outwit the titular sci-fi monster with her brute strength but instead studies her enemy closely before bringing it down with her smarts.
Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey arguably boasts the most thoughtfully written story in the entire series and also features some great skirmishes, especially between the Yautja and earth’s many faunas. But it’s the film’s beautiful cinematography, its atmospheric score, and authentic-feeling 18th-century setting that elevates this Predator sequel to greatness.
1.) Predator (1987)
You’d be hard-pressed trying to find an action movie that fires on all cylinders quite like John McTiernan’s beloved 1987 hit.
Like a pump-action shotgun filled to the brim with machismo extraterrestrial-obliterating energy, the Die Hard director delivered one of the finest actioners of the ’80s — no small feat considering that specific decade was largely the golden age of the action genre.
With a phenomenal ensemble cast, including Arnold Schwarzenegger as the iconic Dutch, Carl Weathers as his uneasy ally Dillon, and Shane Black as the wisecracking radio operator Hawkins, Predator sees a routine mission in the jungles of Guatemala go sideways when a Yautja crashes the party and starts picking off the unsuspecting platoon one by one.
Equal parts gun-toting action and skin-ripping horror, Predator is a stone-cold classic that benefits from amazing direction, an incredible score from Alan Silvestri, stellar performances, and an awesome script overflowing with some hugely memorable one-liners. Put simply: a truly essential watch.
Featured Image Source: 20th Century Fox
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