Predator (1987) vs Predator 2 (1990) vs Predators (2010)

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
PREDATOR RT Critics Rating: 7.6/10
PREDATOR 2 RT Critics Rating: 2.3/10
PREDATORS RT Critics Rating: 6.4/10

PREDATOR Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 9/10
PREDATOR 2 Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 1/10
PREDATORS Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 8/10

PREDATOR (1987) - John McTiernan
PREDATOR 2 (1990) - Stephen Hopkins
PREDATORS (2010) - Nimród Antal

It was 1985 and the renowned Sylvester Stallone returned with his fourth film in the famous franchise, Rocky IV. For a few months, following the release of the film, a joke was made in Hollywood. The joke was: "Since Rocky Balboa had run out of earthly opponents, he would have to fight an alien if a fifth installment of his boxing series were to be made." Screenwriters Jim and John Thomas took this joke seriously and wrote a screenplay titled Hunter about it. The new "Rocky" soon came to be Arnold Schwarzenegger and the film title later became a pop culture icon: Predator.

Predator follows an elite special forces team, led by Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), on a mission to rescue hostages from guerrilla territory in Central America. Unbeknownst to the group, they are being hunted by a technologically advanced form of extraterrestrial life known as the Predator.

The film is extremely deceiving, for it shifts from a Commando-like action to a science fiction thriller. It begins with the usual cliche gathering of our platoon-like characters. Underneath the formulaic introduction, Predator careens itself to the foreground with extraordinary uniqueness, pitting the familiar characters into new conflicts we have never seen before. Ever seen a platoon fighting enemy soldiers? Yes. All the time. Ever seen a platoon fighting an alien warrior? Umm….

The Predator itself is amazingly designed, making it one of the most culturally literate monsters in cinema today. Unlike the xenomorph in Ridley Scott's Alien, the Predator bears a physically human shape, assisted with advanced gadgetry. And unlike the xenomorph, the Predator bears a personality. Instead of exterminating every other species in its path, the Predator hunts with honor, killing the armed and the dangerous. In a sense, it is a respectable but formidable opponent, a "gentleman" of a monster that I have respect for.

As for the film itself, Predator is briskly paced, with satisfying and quotable dialogue from each member of the platoon. Like AlienPredator builds its stakes with atmosphere and setting. In space, Alien strived with the claustrophobic environment of the Nostromo, a location where one cannot hide. This is a must-have in the horror/thriller genre, a sense of claustrophobia. But then again, the location itself might not be claustrophobic, like the halls of the Nostromo. It can be out in the open, a second path that Predator took here. With an "infinite" stretch of forest, the setting of the film also gives a sense of our characters stuck and nowhere to hide. This atmosphere, along with convincing performances, builds the suspense greatly until its finale, finally revealing the true nature and appearance of the Predator.

In conclusion, Predator is one of the most unique science fiction films ever, beginning with something familiar and ending with something unfamiliar. Even with a "tough guy" like Schwarzenegger, the group of "expendable" men have evidently met their match. At least the opponent can die, because "if it bleeds, we can kill it."

Inexorably, a sequel would be released due to the financial success of Predator. Three years later, Predator 2 was released. Now, like every other sequel that follows the original idea of its predecessor, how can the storyline of the newcomer stand out? Like I have always said, it needs its own aesthetic approach. In other words, Predator 2 better not take place in the jungle again. Fortunately, it does not take place in the jungle of Central America, but in the "jungle" of Los Angeles.

Predator 2 follows Lieutenant Michael Harrigan (Danny Glover) fighting for the city that is currently suffering from both a heat wave and a turf war between heavily armed Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels. In the middle of the shoot-out, Harrigan finds the Columbians mysteriously slaughtered. It is here where Harrigan is convinced that there is a greater force at work. Like every other cop movie, Glover is warned away by federal agents and thus takes the "case" to his own, a lone warrior heading for the climactic showdown with the Predator.

As I mentioned before, there is an appreciated beauty in the design of the Predator. However, for Predator 2, I shall quote five simple words from Roger Ebert to express my thoughts: "No such luck this time." What this film lacked compared to its predecessor was creativity. There is no intriguing factor to it whatsoever and everything related to the alien has been seen already, suffering from the formulaic flaw of the "been there, done that" element, a flaw that almost all sequels have. As a minor spoiler alert, the Predator in the first movie shocked us to our core when it spoke for the first time, mimicking the words of Schwarzenegger. Here, it was as if the filmmakers took this mind-boggler and turned it into a joke. The Predator now speaks vile street gang jargon, almost suggesting that the Predator this time bears resemblance to African Americans and cracked Jamaicans. Furthermore, Predator 2 took one of the most famous one-liners in its predecessor and "butchered it," a complete misfire of an attempt to reuse the line.

Although Danny Glover tried his best as the lead of this film, not even he can save this dreadful nightmare. In addition, we have already seen Glover as a cop before, a better one in the Lethal Weapon movies with Mel Gibson. In terms of characterization, there is nothing interesting to see and nothing to wonder about. It never had a crux that drove its engine, something that made the original so captivating.

In conclusion, Predator 2 is a disgrace to the original film, a disgrace as a sequel, and even a disgrace to filmmaking in general. I would go as far to say that this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The dialogue is vulgar, crude, and repetitive. The script itself has no rhythm to move along, and the special effects, though good, are not organic nor original. After finishing the film, I felt like waking up from a terrible dream. In plain words, Predator 2 is just ugly, uglier than the Predator itself. It is poorly made formula, topped with horrendous atmosphere and defines the word "appalling." It is the greatest shame that a film and creature so special like the Predator can be wrecked by a single misfire of a movie.

Twenty years have passed, during this time two crossover films were made binding the Predator with the Alien in the Alien vs Predator films, both inadequate. My only desire now was to go back to the original Predator's roots and start over. Go back to old-fashioned entertainment. I would no longer care if the story is not original. As long as it is well-made. My wish was astonishingly granted in 2010 when Predators came to theaters as a sequel/reboot of the Predator franchise.

Predators follows Royce (Adrien Brody), a mercenary, who wakes up finding himself falling from the sky into a jungle. Once on the ground, he meets other people who have arrived there in the same manner, all of whom have questionable backgrounds. As the film progresses, the group discovers that they are on an alien planet that acts as a game preserve where they are being hunted by our familiar race of Predators.

The title Predators is an allusion to the second film of the Alien franchise, Aliens. Thus, it can be predicted that there is more than one Predator in this film. Well is this one worth it? Is this the sequel that we Predator fans have always wanted? The answer is yes. It packs quite a punch.

Like the original film, Predators goes back to its original roots in the jungle. Although the character group this time is not as convincing nor realistic as before, the atmosphere is surprisingly there, building suspense when it needs to, have its narrative run when it needs to and slow down when it needs to. Unlike Predator 2Predators successfully pays respect and attention to the original piece while having its own inventiveness at the same time. The Predators this time have something to look for. They have new designs as well as new personalities, although I do prefer the original character. Nevertheless, it provides enough wonder for us to continue watching the film, grabbing our attention. The special effects are great, not impressive but delivered exactly what it should have delivered. Furthermore, the filmmakers walked an extra mile. In addition to the original Predator designs, the film features many new creatures never before seen in a Predator film. This successfully expands the universe of the Predator just like how Aliens expanded the universe of the Alien.

Adrien Brody, despite his Batman-like voice, delivered a brand-new male lead that perfectly matches the cast of Predators. Unlike Schwarzenegger, Brody plays an anti-hero, a man who is out for himself only, a nice extension of a mercenary character. With his new muscles and strong attitude, Brody gets the job done, a true transformation from a writer in King Kong and a pianist in The Pianist. It is arguable though that the character group as a whole was more like, based on Entertainment Weekly, "Cardboard cliches lining up for the body count," but at least they form a perfect engine to drive the simplistic plot forward. Unlike Predator 2, which overcomplicates things and does it badly, Predators goes back to simple old-fashioned narratives that delivers what we expect. After 23 years and three attempts, we finally have found a solid sequel to the Schwarzenegger classic.

Of course, the answer to which film is superior can be predicted already. Here, the original source material prevails. Despite the original Predator film carrying the label of "B-movie" wherever it goes, it stands as a cult classic, a fun and thrilling ride that everyone can enjoy. Most of all, it came in as a unique approach to the alien genre, a genre that Alien already revived eight years before. Predator may suffer from predictability, cheesy lines, and sometimes silliness, but it is a pumped up action picture ready to take off once the engines are turned on. It is a pure action movie that is well made, a film that rocks with great excitement and imagination. As for Predators, it is a promising and efficiently made sequel, borrowing several elements that made the original so memorable. As for Predator 2, eat lead.

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