Is Predator Considered a Classic?

Is Predator Considered a Classic?

Launched 35 years ago by director John McTiernan, the "Predator" franchise has seen many opuses. The latest one, "Prey", brings the saga back to life. Let's delve into the films' secrets, one by one.

We will tell you everything about the movies, and delve into the question: "Is Predator considered a classic?"


What's it about?

In search of a team of American military advisors in the Ecuadorian forest, a mercenary commando led by Dutch Schaefer is attacked by an invisible enemy...

Why (re)see it?

Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role, an action-hero poster and a monster from outer space: that's all it took to make Predator look like a B-movie (or Z-movie?) for testosterone-fueled Saturday-night renters (1987 was the heyday of the video store). However, insiders know just how much Predator left its mark on action and science-fiction cinema.

The credit goes to screenwriters Jim and John Thomas, who invented a memorable creature, with a mythology already well established in the first opus (a hunter on safari in search of the fiercest prey, who never attacks unarmed "game", who respects his adversary); to special effects genius Stan Winston, creator of the Predator look (armor, dreadlocks, fighting mask, mandibles).

Not forgetting director John McTiernan, of course, whose mercenaries border on caricature yet are so realistic, and whose camera literally plunges us into the heart of the jungle, into a suffocating, labyrinthine atmosphere where danger is everywhere. The film's finale is a primal, almost mute confrontation between Schwarzie and the Predator: man versus monster, hunted versus hunter... A cult classic.

The director 

With a degree in theater and the son of an opera director, John McTiernan has revolutionized modern action cinema since the early 80s. With Predator, of course, but above all with Die Hard, The Pursuit of Red October and A Day in Hell. Shunned by Hollywood after the failure of his most recent films (Rollerball, the cursed masterpiece The 13th Warrior) and a sad affair involving phone tapping, he is currently working on several projects: Run, The Murder of Orson Welles and The Nez-Perce War.

During an interview, he recalls the filming of Predator: "The studios initially sent us to the west coast of Mexico. But there wasn't much forest there, and with autumn, the leaves were falling... So we went to the east side, to the Caribbean. Where there were no tourists. It wasn't a place likely to charm a Hollywood crew, but Arnold liked it... And this jungle was really perfect. A good natural setting teaches actors so much. They can develop their imaginations and therefore their characters: rather than talking about a place, there's nothing like plunging people directly into it..."

"Like children, they start to believe in it by using the environment. That's why a CGI film shot against a green background is very difficult to make credibly. Because the human aspect of your film is that of Los Angeles. Because that's where your actors are emotionally and physically before, during and after the shoot. Even with great actors, you can feel it, and in the end, your film "smells" of Los Angeles. Whereas if you take your actors out, it makes everything more credible and easier at the same time..."

Did you know?

Kevin Peter Hall, the giant (2.20 m) in the Predator suit, appears with his face uncovered at the end of the film: he's the helicopter pilot. Before Predator, he played Bigfoot in Harry and the Hendersons.

Jean-Claude Van Damme, then unknown, was originally intended to play the Predator. He shot a few test sequences for the creature's camouflage suit, before leaving the project, unhappy at being given a special effects role. The Predator was originally envisioned as an agile creature, but was later redesigned as a more massive hunter.

Arnold Schwarzenegger lost 12 kilos for the film: a soldier can't be too muscular to be effective. John McTiernan also lost 12 kilos during the grueling shoot, especially as he was wary of the local food. He also broke his wrist during shooting.

The idea for the film came from a joke heard by the scriptwriters: the only opponent likely to beat Rocky Balboa would be an extraterrestrial.

The Predator's blood is a mixture of jelly and the substance found in photo-luminescent tubes. It was James Cameron who suggested adding the four mandibles to the Predator.

PREDATOR 2 (1990)

What's it about?

Los Angeles 1997. Detective Mike Harrigan and his team are fighting all kinds of drug dealers. Soon, an invisible, invulnerable killer decimates their ranks. Mike investigates and discovers that Los Angeles has become the hunting ground for a predator from another world...

Why (re)see it?

From one jungle to another. This little-known sequel (still written by the Thomas brothers) is a real success. Firstly, because it has the intelligence to continue the franchise without repeating itself, by transposing the plot to the heart of concrete: no more green hell, welcome to the gray hell of the ghettos of 1997 Los Angeles, where drug gangs prove to be prime targets for our Predator.

Secondly, because the hero isn't an über-Schwarzie but a fairly common cop, played by a rather credible Danny Glover, a far cry from his portrayal in L'Arme fatale as a paunchy, sympathetic cop. Finally, because we discover new habits and customs of the creature (the Predator doesn't kill a pregnant woman, it knows how to stir up the hero's hatred to attract him to its hunting ground, the old Predator salutes the courage of the valiant human at the end of the film), new weapons (the disc-boomerang, the retractable spear or the self-surgery kit) and its ship (garnished with trophies including... an alien skull!).

Despite this, the film went unnoticed when it was released (600,000 admissions in France, $30 million at the U.S. box office). A pity, but also unfair.

The director 

Specializing in thrillers, Stephen Hopkins has worked for both the big and small screens (Tales from the Crypt, 24 heures chrono, Californication). After making his film debut with Freddy 5 and Predator 2, he went on to direct The Night of Judgment, Blown Away, The Shadow and the Prey (another thriller), Lost in Space and two Cannes films: Suspicion and The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.

Did you know?

Predator 2 is the first film to receive an "NC-17" rating (forbidden to children under 17). The editing was corrected (twenty times) to obtain a better rating, by deleting numerous scenes of massacres perpetrated by the Predator.

The sequel was only approved by Fox because of the success of the comic-book inspired by the first opus. The first issue featured the brother of the character played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the first film.

Plans for a third film were to follow the adventures of Raphael Adolini, owner of the antique pistol given to Danny Glover by the Predator at the end of the film. This idea was to take shape in a comic book, recounting the disappearance of the sailor and his crew in the heart of the Bermuda Triangle.

The ultimate blunder for purists: in the slaughterhouse scene, the Predator removes his mask... and continues to see in thermal mode. Vision that's only supposed to be possible when wearing the mask!

Kevin Peter Hall, who played the Predator, died of AIDS shortly after the film's release.


What's it about?

Mercenary, elite soldier, sniper, drug trafficker, yakuza, prisoner: eight "killers" wake up in the heart of a lush jungle on an unknown planet. Suddenly, they find themselves at the heart of a hunting party led by a mysterious and implacable extraterrestrial race. And while the aliens appear to be formidable predators, the humans are clearly the game...

Why (re)see it?

Predator, brilliantly directed by John McTiernan in 1987, left its mark on the history of action cinema. While Predator 2 brilliantly took up the torch, the other films focusing on these monsters from outer space (the Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem spin-offs) were far less memorable. So why does Predators have everything it takes to recapture the qualities that made the first film such a success? Not just because it features several predators, as Predator 2's finale foreshadowed (hence the "s" in the title)...

But above all, because the feature film is supervised by Robert Rodriguez, who has been working on the project since the mid-90s, and who has had complete control over it. Taking on the role of producer, the author of Desperado and Sin City wanted to give shape to this new opus by taking John McTiernan's masterpiece as a reference. Adrien Brody takes over from Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role of a mercenary leading a group of hotheads, chased through the jungle by the notorious creatures...

The director 

Nimród Antal, a former clipper and accomplished commercial director, garnered widespread acclaim with his debut Hungarian feature film, "Kontroll," which not only marked his entry into the film industry but also earned him an award at Cannes in 2003. This success piqued the interest of Hollywood, leading to his directorial role in another thriller, "Motel," before venturing into the realm of heist films with "Armored."

In 2010, Antal's trajectory took an interstellar turn when Robert Rodriguez invited him to delve into the treacherous realm of Predators. Entrusted with the directorial reins for the third installment of the renowned franchise, Antal navigated the intense and suspenseful world of these formidable extraterrestrial hunters, marking another notable chapter in his diverse and dynamic filmmaking career.

Did you know?

The basic pitch for the film was conceived by Robert Rodriguez in 1994, when he was working on Desperado (1995). He presented a first version to 20th Century Fox, but they turned it down because the budget required was too high.

The Predators are played by specialists in this genre: Derek Mears (werewolf in Cursed, cannibal-mutant in The Hills Have Eyes 2 or behind the mask of Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th), and Brian Steele (the creature from Relic, werewolf in Underworld, Sammael in Hellboy, genetically modified creature in Resident Evil: Extinction or T-600 in Terminator Renaissance).

As in previous installments of the saga, Alice Braga reprises the traditional role played by a Latin American actress. She takes over from Elpidia Carrillo in Predator and Maria Conchita Alonso in Predator 2.

The film features two species of Predator: the classic Predator, and the more massive and aggressive über-Predators. Also worth a look: the Predators' hunting dogs, launched in packs in pursuit of human game.


What's it about?

The worst predators in the universe are now stronger and smarter than ever, having genetically perfected themselves using DNA from other species. When a young boy accidentally becomes their target, only a motley crew of former soldiers and a dissenting science teacher can prevent the extinction of the human race.

Why (re)see it?

Of the many films in the franchise, Shane Black's The Predator is perhaps the most criticized. It is also the saga's biggest failure. With a budget of over $85 million, the blockbuster only grossed $160 million. Nonetheless, this sequel can be enjoyed if you accept that it's a bit of a dime-a-dozen.

The Predator is also generous with its action sequences. It's also an opportunity to discover a new species of Predator in the presence of the Ultimate Predator, the most powerful of them all. Above all, it's not in the other films that you'll see a child take hold of the creature's helmet to blow up a house with the cannon.

The director 

In 1987, Shane Black made his acting debut in the very first Predator. He played a joking soldier opposite an icy Sonny Landham and an Arnold Schwarzenegger at the height of his fame. This was followed by small roles in the horror-comedy Flic ou Zombie in 1988, Robocop 3 in 1989 and Pour le pire et pour le meilleur in 1997, in which he starred opposite Jack Nicholson.

He went on to make a name for himself as a screenwriter. He wrote L'Arme fatale and collaborated on the sequels, L'Arme fatale 2 (1989) and L'Arme fatale 3 (1992), weaving the stories of these films but leaving the screenplay writing to Jeffrey Boam. On the strength of these successes, Shane was then Hollywood's most sought-after and best-paid screenwriter. He received $1.75 million to write the action film starring Bruce Willis, The Last Samaritan.

In 2005, he directed his first feature, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. He went on to direct the third Iron Man movie and star Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling in the jubilant The Nice Guys. The Predator is his fourth film.

Did you know?

The Predator marked the start of Brian Prince's career. The six-foot-tall actor and parkour enthusiast plays the title role. Once he's donned the Predator's costume, he towers over everything else at a height of 2.15m.

Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. are co-owners of Amalgamated Dynamics, designers and builders of the suit worn by Brian Prince. Gillis and Woodruff both worked for Stan Winston on the original film.

During filming, the code name for the production of The Predator was "Ollie". Ollie is the name of Shane Black's dog, a three-year-old pit bull. Another pit bull appears in the film, chasing little Rory. There are also predatory dogs. And Olivia Munn's character, Casey, appears in a scene with a dog. In fact, one of Olivia Munn's two dogs, Chance, plays Casey's dog.

PREY (2022)

What's it about?

Three centuries ago in Comanche territory, Naru, a fierce and brilliant warrior, now makes it her duty to protect her tribe whenever danger threatens. She discovers that the prey she is currently stalking is none other than a highly evolved extraterrestrial predator equipped with the most sophisticated weaponry. A confrontation as perverse as it is terrifying soon ensues between the two adversaries...

Why (re)see it?

Prey is, without a doubt, the best film in the franchise since the original. It puts the spotlight on the Comanches, the Native American people, and makes them the heroes of its story. So rare in the sci-fi genre, this representation is more than welcome.

Rather than rushing headlong into the action, Prey takes its time and carefully builds tension. The Predator appears furtively, here and there, before revealing itself in full at the end of the second act. It's enough to make the audience languish, the better to create anticipation and desire. The same applies to the violence and gore.

With a rather classic but solid direction, the film shows a beautiful generosity. It confirms the know-how of its director, Dan Trachtenberg, who we'd like to see more of behind the camera.

The director 

Behind the camera, we find a talented director, Dan Trachtenberg - known, among others, for 10 Cloverfield Lane. Always in the shadow of the monsters, the filmmaker offers a simple, humble but terribly effective feature. In addition to cinema, he has also made a name for himself on the small screen, directing episodes of The Boys, Black Mirror and The Lost Symbol.

Did you know?

Formerly known as the Skulls production, Prey is a long-standing project undertaken by Fox during the production of The Predator, and before its takeover by Disney. The film's connection with the Predator saga was kept secret at the time. The studio had hoped to play on the element of surprise, but a Deadline article revealed the information at the time.

Former professional basketball player Dane DiLiegro, who has played for several clubs, notably in Italy and Israel, plays the killer alien.

Producer Jhane Myers, who has Comanche roots, revealed that the film was initially to be shot in Comanche, the language of the tribe featured in Prey. In the end, this didn't happen, but the feature film was dubbed in Comanche. This means that viewers can have access to an audio track and subtitles entirely in Comanche if they so wish.

Alien vs Predator and other movies...

Alien vs. Predator by Paul W.S. Anderson

A mysterious heat wave emanating from the heart of the pack ice is spreading across Antarctica. To study the phenomenon, Charles Bishop Weyland finances a scientific expedition led by Alexa Woods. The team discovers a pyramid containing vestiges of Aztec, Egyptian and Cambodian civilizations. Consisting of a labyrinth of "chambers", the exits suddenly close in on several members of the expedition. Predators hold an Alien queen captive, delivering her offspring to young Predators for rituals.

All this being said, the final answer is that YES, Predator can be considered a classic. 

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