I had a great time with this. How can you have a bad time when you task yourself with watching action movies that were inspired by one of the best of its genre? Predator, the original, is one my favorite movies of all time. It is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I revisit it quite often. Prey recaptured my love for that movie and is downright remarkable in its own right. With those two things in mind, I thought it was time that I go back, revisit all the movies and rank them. It had been a while since I had seem some, and not all rewatches brought back super fond memories of first viewing, but all had one thing that I like.

The Yautja. The Predator., The ugly mother fucker we all know and love.

No. 7

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)

Trust tree here. Confession time.

I was really dead set on putting The Predator as the worst movie of the bunch. I have no positive memories of it. I remembered not enjoying Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem, but nothing more than that.

I forgot how bad Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem is. I mean, yikes.

This is nothing like a Predator or Alien movie. At least AVP: Alien Vs. Predator had a hint of what made its originators special. Nothing makes AVPR feel remotely like you are watching monsters you have loved before.

AVP: Requiem is a worse version of the mashup movies that came before it. Nothing about it was truly salvageable. At the end of the movie when they are asking you to care about all the different individuals who are being bombed…that is really tough task because nobody cars at all.

If i can give this one movie thing, it may be that it doesn’t give a shit who it kills. Kids, babies and super hot women.

Also, can we talk about how fucking crazy it is that the put the word “Requiem” in the title? That word is fucking hard and nobody knows what that means off the cuff.

I suppose the one thing I will give Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem is that it kills kids with kinda reckless abandon. It starts from the opening scene. It is the opposite of 2018’s The Predator in that sense.

STANKO RATING: F (1.0/5 Stars)

No. 6

The Predator (2018)

This was one of the worst birthday presents I ever received. The Predator came out on September 14th, five days after my birthday. I went by myself to the local movie theater and sat down. The movie started…with the lights on. I had to go out of the theater, tell someone, and then they restarted the movie.

If you have seen The Predator once, then you do not need to see it again, and you don’t want to rewatch scenes after just seeing them.

I hated The Predator. I had excitement because Shane Black directed this movie, and I thought he would have a sense of what the audience wants having been in the 1987 original. Instead we have a genius child who is played by Jacob Tremblay being chased, and a father looking to prove himself and save his son.

The Predator was super cringe for its dialogue. It tried to have the charisma of the original, but nothing about it matched.

I was fuming when i came out of the movie theater. This is the Rocky V (1990) of the Predator movies.

STANKO RATING: F+ (1.0/5 Stars)

No. 5

AVP: Alien Vs. Predator (2004)

I had fond memories of AVP: Alien Vs. Predator before rewatching it. I remember that I watched it at old high school classmate Phil’s house in his out cove of his living room. I remember being captivated by it among a room of people who were not. If I recall, no one else really knew about Xenomorphs or Yautjas. I had a background knowledge of these monsters and I knew about the importance of the original films that AVP was taking on.

After rewatching AVP, I can say that this movie is not very good. The story is simple, which is fine, but it also tries to make a huge over-compassing connections between the Xenomorphs and Yautjas. The Predator monsters have come to earth for thousands of years, and every 100 years the sacrificed humans to hunt Xenomorphs on earth for the ultimate hunt. This seems to go against any of Ridley Scott’s story telling about how Xenomorphs came to be. Director Paul W.S. Anderson did make AVP before Prometheus (2012) and Prey (2022), both of which ignore this backstory. I think it is for the better.

Looking at AVP, it is hurt heavily by a commercialized PG-13 rating. None of the skills and frills leave a lingering effect. in Predator 2 (1990) we got the sense of the Yautjas community and sense of respect, but that is not what I wanted in AVP. I wanted the predator who kills anyone or anything. Once AVP dips its toes into Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) having a mutual understanding with the predator, interest in the movie dwindles.

There is a lot of dialogue exposition in the movie. The story asks you to care about certain characters and relationships for emotional heft…but that is impossible. I did enjoy the little nod with the character Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen). Direct reference to Weyland-Yutani Industries and Bishop, the droid in Aliens (1986). Making it even cooler is that Lance Henriksen played Bishop across from Sigourney Weaver in the early Alien movies, and now he is returning.

AVP is not a good movie, but it is a fun one. If you look past how none of its mythology is cannon and the practical/visual effects are meh, you can still have some smiles watching two of movie’s best hunters going mono-et-mono.

STANKO RATING: D (1.5/5 Stars)

No. 4

Predator 2 (1990)

When Predator 2 focuses solely on the action, it is not awful. When it dives into the politics of cops, interagency politics and relationships between characters, that is where it falters (a lot).

Predator 2 was the movie in the franchise I had seen the longest ago. I watched it once, recalled a little bit, but this time around it was almost like the first time.

Once you get to the train scene and you follow it into the cattle factory and the rooftop, I can see how Predator 2 can be a movie one could enjoy. But as a direct sequel to its predecessor…man this is a tough ask.

There is not nearly enough machoness in this movie to pull off the cheesiness. Danny Glover tries his bestest to be a badass, but all his over-the-top lines comes off more cringe than charismatic. Also there is Gary Busey just being a mad man, which is okay for some entertainment value, but tough to stomach for a long time.

We do get a few cool things. The blue juice that was see in Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem makes an appearance. We get a deeper look at the Predator’s facial features. We get to see hits different scanners.

Predator 2 benefits from the time it was made, when entertainment value was more redeemable than high-art. Combining the the two in action movies was unheard of.

The ending to the movie was meant to spurn a continuation of the franchise. In the ship that Lieutenant Mike Harrigan finds himself on in the end of the movie we see a ton of different species that the Yautja have killed. We even get a peak at a Xenomorph skeleton, it would appear.

The movie is not good, but it is not bad. The city setting is something different to adjust too, but if you can accept that it’s never gonna meet Arnold’s top-notch thrills, then you’ll have a good time.

The CGI at the end of this movie when the Yautja appear in the smoke on the ship…yikes. Might be the most dated part of it.

STANKO RATING: C (2.5/5 Stars)

No. 3

Predators (2010)

Predators gets a bad wrap. It is strictly on a tier of its own after the top two. Director Nimród Antal staged the suspense of the alien world while the screenwriters Alex Litvak and Michael Finch expanded the lore in a fluid yet not cumbersome way. It was not like AVP where we got an entire backstory of their history through some dialogue exposition. Predators expands the world by raising more questions that allows us to worry and wonder.

The cast of Predators is insane. Adrien Brody in the lead is actually very good. He is trying so hard to do the low gruff voice and I buy every single second of it. We have Topher Grace, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, and fucking Mahershala Ali! It is very male slanted with the only women being Alice Braga, and she holds her own as the morally sane person compared to Brody’s “just survive” mentality.

What Predators has that the other Predator sequels do not is a memorable group of bandits. It is an eclectic group. It is like Predators was going for the Star Trek science fiction ethnicity.

Predators has the traps, the bait, the gruffness and the violence that is enjoyable to an action movie lover. It brought it different components and the audience had to adapts to the new setting just like the humans did. The scouting dogs, the different types of Yautja, the distrust of humans.

I like Predators. It is a clear number three.

No. 2

Prey (2022)

Recency biased be damned. Prey kicks absolute ass. You can argue (and I would), that Prey is the best MADE movie of the franchise. Dan Trachtenberg has an affection for what The Predator is and what it is meant to inspire: a total badass who kills with creative, reckless abandon.

Prey stands out as well because it has battles between its heroes and the vicious killing machine are different that the original. There is a lot more hand-to-hand here. A lot more in your face, stare directly into the devil’s eyes. It makes sense because when the original is set, guns are the main weapon. In 1719, it is axes, hatchets, and bows and arrows. Sure some musket fire, but do those really count as guns?

There is the great little comedic gag about reloading.

Prey is fucking excellent. It is a completely engrossing movie. You will not rest. From the first dive into the food chain till the last calmative battle, Prey has all of it.

STANKO RATING: A (5.0/5 Stars)

No. 1

Predator (1987)

This is the classic. This is the pinnacle. Predator is remarkable. It has all the action that one needs, It has all the comedic moments one could want. It has a supremely over-macho cast that includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves, R.G. Armstrong, Shane Black, and Kevin Peter Hall.

Predator stands the test of time as one of my favorite action movies for a multitude of reasons. We have the manly handshake between Dutch and Dillon. We have Mac coming off the helicopter in a suit and Jesse Ventura taking bigger dips of tobacco than humanly possible.

All of that is in the opening minutes.

Predator creates a sense of fear and dread for the beast. Nobody knew what a Predator was, so when the invisibility of the creature begins to dwindle and we get a glimpse of the Yautja, it is awesome and terrifying.

Also, what makes Predator a perfect action movie is that WHEN the characters speak, which isn’t too often, it is witty one-liners and incredibly sassy retorts.

  • “You are one ugly motherfucker.”
  • “I ain’t got time to bleed.”
  • “Get to the chopper!”
  • “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”
  • “Stick around.”

Predator has all of the classic action scenes you want too. The huge destruction of an inadequate enemy force. The manly montage in an airplane with everyone looking macho. The destruction of an entire rainforest by guys with guns that are bigger than them. A ridiculous explosion that had not right being as big as it was but is wonderfully atomic for the movie.

Predator is the best.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

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