"When I was little, we found a man. He looked like - like, butchered. The old women in the village crossed themselves... and whispered crazy things, strange things. 'El Diablo cazador de hombres.' Only in the hottest years this happens. And this year, it grows hot. We begin finding our men. We found them sometimes without their skins... and sometimes much, much worse. 'El cazador que hace trofeo de los hombres' means the demon who makes trophies of men."
Predator is a franchise of films and comic books that detail individual encounters with an impossibly cool alien species with advanced technology, including a personal invisibility field. Although the human characters of the first two Predator films don't realize it, the creature likes to hunt aggressive members of other species for sport — and humans fit quite well in this category...Since the inception in 1987, the Predator has appeared in a large number of movies, comics, novels, video games, and other media. Following an extremely successful comic crossover, many of these works pit the Predator against theAlien to the point that the two are forever linked in the public mind. This trend began in Predator 2, which included a xenomorph skull as an Easter Egg, and was eventually canonized in film. Beyond humans and xenomorphs, multiple comic series have established that the Predator's third favorite prey includes superheroes (which rarely works out).Not a direct opposite of Prey, despite what one might think.
Works in this franchise
Predator (1987)In 1987, Major "Dutch" Schaeffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his elite "rescue" squad were sent to rescue a cabinet minister in a Banana Republic, and after slaughtering the guerrillas they discover the hostages were actually CIA agents and their employers have lied to them. But all of that takes a back seat once a mysterious, invisible enemy with weapons not of this Earth starts killing off Schaeffer's team one by one...What made the first film such a successful piece of cinema were its groundbreaking special effects, big-budget action sequences and unique premise. Considered the manliest movie ever made, it's hard to argue; Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers (of Rocky fame), and Jesse Ventura took major roles, and were all very big, strong guys who were prone to bleed and sweat. (Though they ain't got time to bleed.) On the other hand, the emphasis on big, sweaty men being sweaty with each other in the jungle makes it one of the most Ho Yay films of all time, perhaps second only to Schwarzenegger's own Commando.Predator 2 (1990)Ten years after the first movie (although the movie is from 1990) Los Angeles is under a Heat Wave, and a war between Jamaican and Colombian drug cartels is running wild. LAPD Lt. Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) discovers something is killing members of both factions — and after meeting a fake DEA task force, he discovers that the thing is an alien, and they have been waiting for one to reappear since previous events in Central America. (and apparently they know how to dance).Predators (2010)Eight ultra-badasses and one doctor from all around Earth are abducted and dropped onto a game reserve planet for hunting by a larger and more aggressive species/clan of Predators. They must find out what it is they are fighting and how to get off this planet, all without going for each other's throats. Produced by Robert Rodriguez, the film acts as a sequel only to Predator and Predator 2 (moreso the former). Upcoming Predator Sequel On June 24th, 2014 a Predator sequel was announced to be directed by Shane Black (Hawkins in the first film). Black had previously helped direct the first movie and recently did Ironman 3 and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Predator: Concrete Jungle (2005)The first (and, to date, only) video game focusing solely on the titular creature, released in 2005 for the XBox and PS2. The game follows a lone Predator, who, after failing a hunt in 1930's New Way City, is exiled by his clan to an alien planet, where he is left to survive on his own. A century later, the clan retrieves the Predator (now nicknamed "Scarface") and offers him a chance to reclaim his honor by going back to Earth and killing Hunter Borgia, the son of the leader of an Irish mob (who Scarface killed during the failed hunt) who has rewritten history by utilizing alien technology left behind during the previous hunt. Scarface must battle various mob factions and retrieve the lost technology as the player progresses through the game, as well as collect trophy skulls and complete optional missions. The game featured a number of unlockable items and costumes, as well as many references to the Alien and Predator franchises.
The concept of the xenomorph Alien and the Predator facing off was hinted at in the second film with a xenomorph skull in a predator trophy room. The Predator comics by Dark Horse Comics are popular, and took part in many Intercontinuity Crossovers. This, in turn, lead into two film crossovers, both of which have fallen into Canon Discontinuity.The comic series Aliens vs. Predator takes place in the Alien universe. The plot is centered on a desert planet onto which the xenomorphs are seeded in preparation for a hunt by novice Predators. Later issues followed a human character as she attempts to live in, and eventually escape from, a Predator space ship. The original comics were very popular and critically acclaimed. The video games, mostly entering the Beat 'em Up or First-Person Shooter genres, earned many fans too. Later film adaptations... well...MoviesIn Alien vs. Predator (2004), a predator ship arrives in orbit and activates a temple pyramid hidden in the Antarctic. The heat signature attracts some human scientists who lead an expedition and discover a bizarre labyrinth. What they eventually learn is that this place is a proving ground for Predators to hunt one of the most dangerous of prey, the xenomorphs from the Alien franchise. While the movie was based off of two R-rated film series, this movie was PG-13 and as a result it wasn't quite the bloodbath fans were hoping for. That said, it has its fans and the film was popular enough to warrant a sequel.Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) follows events from the previous film, and features a predator/alien hybrid leading an invasion of Earth. Despite this movie being rated R, it has very little of what made any of the two creatures entertaining and is considered one of the worst films ever made in some fans' eyes. But of course it has its fans as well, who swear the first AVP was actually worse. The fans of both films aren't really mutually exclusive to begin with. Either way the AVP franchise of films never ended up being what everyone wanted them to be. At least to the fans of the AVP mythology.
Tropes used in multiple films
Action Girl: From Predator 2 onwards, the female leads became these.
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Most everything sharp the Predators use has one of these, although its justified because they're aliens using unknown materials in their construction. Played straight in Predators however with Royce's machete.
Bizarre Alien Biology: The Predators are mostly humanoid in appearance with slimy reptilian skin, similarly reptilian feet and clawed hands. They have no visible ears or noses and have a sharp toothed face with four mandibles instead of a conventional mouth, capped off by dreadlock flesh tendrils.
Bizarre Alien Senses: The title aliens have infrared vision. This is depicted onscreen by coloring what they see based on the temperature of objects: black = cold, white = hot, and other colors in between.
They actually see in the near infrared, not thermal infrared. Without their helmet, they can easily detect heat differentials in their surroundings but are unable to easily distinguish among objects of the same relative temperature. Their helmet includes circuitry that filters out ambient heat, allowing them to see things with greater clarity and detail (represented in the movie by using a thermal infrared camera). Coincidentally, if you've ever wondered why nothing on earth has developed anything similar, it's because that, as far as the eye's pigment molecules are concerned, light energy and heat energy are pretty much the same thing. The long-short is that if we saw in the infrared, our eyes would be completely overwhelmed by heat signatures being misinterpreted as light sources.
Bittersweet Ending: All of the films involve the protagonists overcoming the alien villains at a high cost with Predators being the most bittersweet.
Black Dude Dies First: Generally averted, as the black chracters are some of the last to die in the original film and Predator 2's black protagonist survives. Narrowly averted in Predators, as Mombasa dies SECOND..
Blood Knight: The whole reason the Predators institute their hunts in the first place.
Blue and Orange Morality: The Predators live by a code that endorses hunting intelligent life forms but condemns killing pregnant beings, children and their own kind.
Apart from the "hunting intelligent life" bit, the Predators' code is recognizably similar to that of real-life sport hunters. There's no challenge in hunting prey that can't put up a good fight: the very young, the very old, the sick, the weak/unarmed. Killing too many pregnant females means no hunting stock, so most hunters don't on general principle if they can help it.
Bottomless Magazines: Machine guns and Manpack miniguns which should run dry in seconds even with the Ammunition Backpack, and sawed-off pump shotguns that somehow hold at least nine shells, the list goes on. Subverted in Predators, where the human party runs low on ammunition after their encounter with Predator hounds.
Crazy-Prepared: the Predators seem to have equipment to deal with almost every situation, and when they don't, you can expect this will be corrected in the next generation; the Predator from the first movie had a medical kit in case he would be shot; the one from the second movie had a multiple vision visor in case humans would figure out a way to escape his heat vision; the ones from the Alien vs. Predator movies had equipment treated to resist Xenomorph's blood and an acid used to remove tracks of their existence; the ones from Predators had a self-destruct function in their ship activable remotely should the humans try to steal it to escape the planet; and the list goes on.
Egomaniac Hunter: For all their vaunted honor code, this is what the Predators really are when you boil it down; a race whose sole drive is to explore the galaxy, find the nastiest critters they can, then kill them to prove their own toughness and be able to brag about what Badasses they are.
Even Evil Has Standards: Yautja typically do not hunt the weak, helpless, and/or innocent. In the Expanded Universe, Predators without honor are hunted, their bodies dismembered and desecrated, and their heads disposed of, as opposed to being kept as a trophy. It's also shown that they check their targets; one identifies a toy gun in the second film, and refrains from killing a pregnant woman, even though she had been armed moments earlier.
In "Predators 2", after Hartigan defeats the Predator in hand to hand combat, the Predator's colleagues don't attempt to enact vengeance upon him; they let him leave and even reward him with a trophy.
Killing children seems to be a special no-no for them. In one of the comics, a Yautja arrives in a town during the 1950's and is discovered by a child, who takes some of the Predator's weapons (small bombs that deliver an electric shock). The hunter wants them back and pretty much chases the boy through town and into a drive-in movie theater, all the while the resourceful boy uses the Yautja's own weapons he took against him and takes cars to drive away. The Predator considers the child to be quite cunning and genuinely enjoys hunting him down, but never kills or even harms him, stating that he was not "sanctified for the hunt".
In another comic, a group of Nazis slaughter a small village and tie up a boy's hands, forcing him to show them some hidden treasure. Upon finding it, they attempt to kill the boy, only to be slaughtered themselves by a Yautja, who then goes towards the boy and cuts the ropes binding his hands before taking his leave. In yet another comic, an abusive man forces his son to go hunting with him in the woods, and during the night, the boy discovers a Yautja killing his father. The Yautja stops for a moment to go to the boy and gently wipe off the blood that splattered onto the boy's face before returning to deal with the father's corpse.
Evil Is Bigger: It started with 7'2" (2,18 m) Kevin Peter Hall, and every Predator ever since has been a towering beast (and to think average sized Jean-Claude Van Damme was the first actor in the role).
Flaying Alive: The Predators skin some of their opponents. A subversion as they do this AFTER the victim has died.
Gatling Good: The first and third movies feature characters wielding these as their weapons of choice.
Gorn: The Predator is best known for blasting, skinning, and decapitating foes, after all. The second movie notably had to be recut because it had so much gore initially.
Guns Akimbo: The first two films prominently feature characters dual wielding, the most ridiculous example being Poncho using a machine gun and grenade launcher at once during the shootout with the Predator.
Gun Porn: All of the films feature quite the variety of guns with a loving amount of attention. The first movie parodied it with one of its most famous scenes involving the protagonists unloading a large amount of firepower on the Predator in the jungle, only to hit nothing.
Humans Are Special: One of the reasons the Predators seem to enjoy hunting humans is that our sheer lack of physical prowess and technological advantages compared to them, means we have to resort to being very ingenious when it comes to finding ways to track down and kill our opponents. In short... we cheat.
In expanded universe material, this really gets played up: Predators honor humans as the "Pyode Amedah", meaning the "Soft Meat", and we are considered one of the two greatest trophy-species to hunt. The only other one of comparable importance are the "Kainde Amedah", or the "Hard Meat"... which we humans know as xenomorphs. That's right; Predators think humans are such badasses that they actually get into arguments about whether or not we are greater quarry than a race of acid-blooded Lightning Bruiser monsters.
The Aliens vs Predator novels pretty much outright state that humans are greater quarry (at least when the Yautja rigidly follows the hunting code, and chooses worthy humans). They use Xenomorphs as their training prey for new, unblooded warriors... but you have to be a distinguished hunter and apply for special permission to hunt "Soft Meat".
Improbable Cover: In the first film Dutch lives through a small nuclear (?) explosion at close range because he ducked behind some cover. In the second film Lieutenant Harrigan survives the exhaust blast of a Predator ship taking off by doing the same thing.
Inescapable Net: The nets in the series are quite effective, but that's also because they automatically contract on the target and are apparently made out of something like piano wire, so targets are less incapacitated and more cubed.
Made of Iron: The Predators take quite a bit of damage before going down.
Men Are the Expendable Gender / Sorting Algorithm of Mortality: Predator, Predator 2 and Predators all have casts filled with numerous Badass men... and a lone woman. No prizes for guessing which characters are guaranteed to survive. Averted by the Alien vs. Predator films which both have multiple female roles, allowing some of them to become victims too.
Predator. After Blain is killed, there is potentially the most Dakka in one scene in cinema history.
Predator 2. The Colombians use grenade launchers on the LAPD and go to an armory filled with heavy firepower but are prevented from utilizing it due to the Predator's arrival. Later when the Predator attacks the Jamaicans in the Columbian drug lord's apartment, they unload a huge amount of firepower at once.
Predators has it when the hunted humans unload a huge amount of lead on attacking Predator hounds.
Neck Lift: A predator does it to Dutch in Predator and to police officer Leona in Predator 2.
Never Hurt an Innocent: The Predators only hunt those who would make good sport, and will not harm those who are clearly not fighters: sick, elderly, young, with child, etc.
The sick guy in Alien vs. Predator was ignored at first, but his willingness to fight despite being heavily outmatched and his ingenuity in improvising a weapon elevated him to "worthy kill". Plus he set the Predator on fire... honour or not, that's going to tick you off!
There was also the dude that stumbled across the Predator in the woods in Requiem, but then again, that wasn't a question of killing for sport so much as it was a question of leaving no witnesses. After all, his code-name, besides being called Wolf, was "The Cleaner".
While the Predators from Rodriguez's sequel kill a man who's almost entirely paralysed and incapable of fighting back, he had previously shown himself to be a dangerous foe. It's also quite likely that they disapproved of his treachery in turning on his forced team-mates. Plus, he'd been transported to that planet purely for the purpose of hunting him. That he was temporarily incapacitated when he was killed would not remove his status as a worthy kill - Predators believe in honour, not Honor Before Reason.
It's also indicated that the Predators that do this aren't the usual sorts, and are quite possibly some sort of splinter faction or subspecies that have a rather looser code of the hunt.
Worth noting that it isn't not out of any compassion on the Predator's part, there's just no challenge in killing something that can't fight back, and hence no honour to be gained. While their tendency to blow shit up when they lose might seem dishonourable, this is more a case of removing any evidence of their existence from prey species.
It seems to vary according to the individual, the City Hunter spared a woman after realizing she was pregnant despite (according to the Predator 2 novelization) being her target.
Night-Vision Goggles: The Predator mask can see in several vision modes, but not the visible spectrum. Interestingly, the director went to the effort of getting hold of a real infrared camera for the Predvision sequences... And found it was practically useless in a steaming tropical jungle, hence the false coloured Predvision in the actual movie.)
The first movie also displays this, kind of. When the Predator takes off his mask for the final battle, we see a shot from his point of view as the previous blue/black-with-highlighted-creatures view becomes red with heat, though he can still make out his target. The mask must filter out the ambient heat to make it easier to see.
The Men in Black in the second movie realize that the Preds can see in heat mode...but they assume that they can ONLY see in heat mode. It... ended badly. Had they realized that there was a creaky staircase in the slaughterhouse, things might've gone differently. The Predator can hear perfectly well and wouldn't have switched to its other vision modes if they had replaced the staircase earlier.
Noble Demon: The Predators might fall under this, especially the one in the second movie and the Classic Predator in the third.
No Waterproofing in the Future: The Predator's cloaking device fails after he falls in a river (1st movie) and while walking in water and under water sprays (2nd movie). Possibly justified as the Predator's cloaking device bends light around it to work and the reflective nature of the water would certainly hinder its purpose.
Off with His Head!: Predators tend to decapitate their victims so they can collect their skulls.
Oh Crap: In the first film by Dutch, just as he realizes the Predator isn't going to walk into his trap. In the second by the Predator, no less, just before Harrigan cuts its hand (with the self-destruct) off.
Outrun the Fireball: In the first movie, it's the Predator's Self-Destruct Mechanism; in Predator 2, the ship's take-off exhaust (and a Shout-Out to the first movie's scene). In Predators the team has to outrun the blast caused by Nicholai's heroic sacrifice.
Phrase Catcher: The unmasked creature warrants the comment "You're one ugly motherfucker!") This is referenced in the first Aliens vs. Predator when a character uses the same line on a Xenomorph. By then she had done an Enemy Mine with the Predator, so refrained from saying such to him.
Plasma Cannon: The Predators' distinctive plasma casters with the triangular laser sights.
Predator — Dutch: "He didn't kill you because you weren't armed. No sport."
Predator 2: After Harrigan kills the Predator, other Predators appear but don't kill him. Instead, one of them tosses Harrigan a gun from 1715 — taken as a trophy during a previous hunt. Also note that the antagonist Predator is an honorable warrior who does not murder children or pregnant women, even if they are an armed threat to it.
Rare Guns: The Desert Eagle, AA-12 and handheld miniguns have all made an appearance throughout the series.
Retractable Weapon: All Predators use a pair of retractable wrist-blades. The one in Predator 2 and most subsequent media has a retractable staff/spear.
Scary Black Man: Mac, in the first film. Double subverted in that, for most of his screen time, he's scared shitless himself... but after his Heroic BSOD, he's downright terrifying. Played straight in Predator 2 where Scary Black Men include the main character, the Jamaican gangsters and their leader King Willie (the last more because his voodoo belief and behavior than his physical strength}.
The Scream: People tend to often scream before the Predator gets them.
See the Invisible: The Predator's cloaking device bends light around, so while its harder to see, its not truly invisible.
Self-Destruct Mechanism: Played straight in Predator, subverted in Predator 2 when Harrigan stops the countdown by cutting the device in half.
Sore Loser: The Predator himself, in the first two films. Upon being beaten, both attempt to self-destruct and take out their defeaters in the process, complete with an Evil Laugh and a sarcastic "Shit happens!" respectively.
Sound-Only Death: Billy and Danny scream off screen as they're slaughtered by the Predator.
The Stoner: The drug gangs in the second film. Stans is implied to be this in Predators.
Time Abyss: A minor example, but the ending of Predator 2 implies that the Predators can live for centuries; the old but spry looking creature gives Hartigan a flintlock pistol made in 1715. This is something canonised in the comic books and novels.
Villain-Based Franchise: Though the Predators do have a personal code of honor, that code is more a combination of hunting practicalities (don't kill pregnant females lest there be no prey left to hunt) and bragging rights, and so they are truly the villains of the piece. The plot of the series boils down to "Predator comes to a technologically inferior society of sapient beings to kill them for bragging rights". Furthermore, the Expanded Universe reveals that Predators actually breedAliens on purpose, and have deliberately scattered them across the galaxy.
Visible Invisibility: The Predator's cloaking device makes him less visible, not invisible. It is easier to see in motion and it also shorts out in water.
Worthy Opponent: Happens to both Schaeffer and Harrigan when their respective Predator foe acknowledges their combat ability. It ends up with the Predator removing its mask and armor and challenging them under more even circumstances. For Schaeffer it was outsmarting the Predator with the mud-smear and taking down his cloaking device. For Harrigan the only reason the hunter selected him was seeing him pull off a one-man takedown against a gang of better-armed thugs. Explicitly shown with the other Predators' reaction to Harrigan after he manages to take the one hunting him down. Also occurs in Predators with Hanzo, who challenges a Predator to a sword/blade fight. The Predator drops his cloaking and weapons.