The Predator hits screens this Friday. The film is the fourth direct iteration in the franchise. There are a couple of spinoffs too – Alien vs Predator and Alien vs Predator: Requiem. The franchise centres around an alien species whose members like to hunt strong members of other species on other planets and collect trophies like skin or decapitated heads. They are more advanced than us in terms of technology and weaponry, physically sturdy and have stronger senses. They are also brutal and clinical. They may attack only armed humans (they do have a sense of honour), but not groups. Instead, they kill off their victims one by one in the manner of a guerilla.
The latest Shane Black directorial The Predator is a reinvention of sorts, but is also a direct sequel. The Predators are now even “stronger, smarter and deadlier” and have upgraded themselves with “DNA from other species.”
Before watching The Predator, let’s have a look at all the previous films in the franchise.
Predator: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s a special forces major who leads a group of soldiers tasked with rescuing an official being held hostage by insurgents in a Central American country. After landing in a jungle, they come across skinned corpses that Dutch (Arnold’s character) recognises as his former comrades who were sent in earlier. Thinking this to be the handiwork of the insurgents, they trudge on, only to be picked off one by one by an almost invisible creature. They counter-attack when they realise the creature bleeds (a green gooey substance). But all of them fail and continue to be killed. This sets up a finale in which a lone soldier – Dutch, of course – takes on the creature.
Predator 2: Danny Glover starred in the sequel of Predator – released just three years after the first film – as police Lieutenant Michael R Harrigan. This time, the film was set in urban Los Angeles. Another Predator has come to earth and witnesses a shootout between the police and members of the Colombian drug cartel. Harrigan saves two wounded comrades, and the cartel members flee into their hideout. The Predator slaughters them and Harrigan catches a glimpse of the creature. He, however, dismisses it as a hallucination. Later on, after a prolonged one-on-one battle, Harrigan kills the creature after pursuing it to its spaceship. Many other Predators appear and gift Harrigan an antique firearm since he killed the Predator in a fair fight. The film was panned by critics, but has become a cult film since then.
The Predators: Released in 2010, The Predators, just like the first film, featured an ensemble cast. Unlike any other film in the franchise, The Predators was set on the Predators’ planet. A set of murderers find themselves in a dense jungle with no memory of how they got here. Looking at the sky, they realise this is not Earth, and they are stranded on an alien planet. They also realise that they are in a sort of game reserve – and they are the game. Soon the alien beasts appear. And it is revealed that there is a more advanced Predator species called Super Predators and there is a blood feud between the smaller one and the larger one. In the end, the survivors who have somehow fought off the Predators, are left wondering how to get off the planet.