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Film / The Predator

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"Gentlemen, they're large, they're fast, and fucking you up's their idea of tourism."
Will Traeger

The Predator is the fourth mainline installment in the Predator series, released in 2018, directed by Shane Black (who starred as Hawkins in and was one of the writers on the original film) and written by Fred Dekker.

After one of their ships crash-lands on Earth, black ops soldier Quinn McKenna finds himself face-to-face with the universe's most lethal hunter: the Predator. Barely escaping with his life and a few pieces of the Predator's belongings, McKenna is deemed crazy by the government and put on a bus to a military insane asylum.

However, the alien equipment Quinn managed to get his hands on turns out to be far more important than he could have expected, with both the marooned Predator and a second "ultimate" Predator, who's been upgrading itself with the DNA from other species across the stars, soon hunting him to retrieve it. So begins a four-way race between the two opposing Predators, the U.S. government's "Men In Black", and McKenna himself, who's enlisted the help of his mentally unstable ex-soldier busmates and a biologist who was studying the Predators, to retrieve the mysterious MacGuffin Quinn sent for safekeeping to his estranged wife and their son.

The film stars Boyd Holbrook as Quinn McKenna, Trevante Rhodes as Nebraska Williams, Jacob Tremblay as Rory McKenna, Keegan-Michael Key as Coyle, Olivia Munn as Casey Brackett, Sterling K. Brown as Will Traeger, Thomas Jane as Baxley, Alfie Allen as Lynch, Yvonne Strahovski as Emily McKenna, Augusto Aguilera as Nettles, and Jake Busey as Sean Keyes. It was released on September 14, 2018.

The franchise would continue with a Distant Prequel, Prey (2022), released on Hulu.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer, Final Trailer.

There's tropes? I ain't got time to read!

  • Aborted Arc: While referenced in Predator: Hunting Grounds, the game does not follow up on the developments made to the Predators in this film and treats it as an isolated event, with Project Stargazer being closed down in favor of reviving the OWLF program from Predator 2. Additionally, Walt Disney Studios indicated it has no intention of following up on the story developments in this film for future films, and the next film in the franchise is a Distant Prequel entirely unrelated to this film's events.
  • Action Girl: At one point, Casey chases down the escaping Fugitive Predator on foot in an attempt to recapture it, and later holds her own in the group incredibly well against the rampaging Ultimate Predator. McKenna's wife Emily also shows no hesitation in grabbing a rifle to help when Rory is in danger.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Traeger tries to goad Quinn's son Rory into gaining access into the Predator ship by using Reverse Psychology on him. Rory recognises what Traeger is doing and retorts with an example of his own: "Don't go fuck yourself." Traeger's response is to chuckle and pat the kid on the shoulder.
  • Admiring the Abomination: When Brackett first sees the Predator, she is enthralled by the chance to study it, prompting a flip on the line from the first film.
    Bracket: You are one beautiful motherfucker.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Casey Brackett starts the movie as a conservatively-dressed scientist, but after it all goes to hell, she spends the rest of the movie in t-shirts and toting guns. She even gets shooting gloves.
  • Agony of the Feet: Casey accidentally shoots herself in the foot while trying to nab the Predator, due to being on top of a swerving bus at the time. Even though she was firing tranq darts instead of bullets, it still must have felt like a nail being driven into her foot before the sedatives kicked in.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Even though they were already analogous to hunting hounds from the get go, this trope is taken up to eleven after one of the Predator Hounds gets lobotomized by half a dozen bullets to the brain and starts acting like an overactive dog puppy, even playing fetch.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The Fugitive Predator is already pretty nightmarish for the protagonists, given its massacring the Stargazer staff without breaking a sweat — and the Ultimate Predator has it outclassed in every conceivable way. The fight between the two barely lasts a minute, and ends with the Ultimate Predator crushing its smaller kin's skull with a single blow.
  • An Arm and a Leg: There are many dismemberments, mostly owing to the Predator's sharp blades. One (along with a bisection) is caused by a force field!
  • Artistic License – Cars: The film uses the Mythology Gag of a character shouting "Get to the chopper," this time in reference to motorcycles instead of helicopters. But "chopper" motorcycles are a specific type of motorcycle that have been "chopped" up and heavily customized. The motorcycles in the film aren't choppers. (To be fair, the word "chopper" has became synonymous with most motorcycles for many people outside of actual motorcycle enthusiasts.)
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Predators are traditionally portrayed as plantigrade, meaning their feet rest on their entire soles, which is a typical anatomic solution for a heavy animal. However, the Ultimate Predator is digitigrade, meaning its feet rest on its toes, which only works for lighter animals who doesn't have much weight to rest (and those digitigrades which do, like horses and rhinos, either have solid hooves or chunky feet, not delicate high-heel-like toes like this one). As the Ultimate Predator is actually much heavier than average, merely walking should be an Agony of the Feet in its own right for it, if even possible in the first place.
    • When witnessing the Ultimate Predator's resistance to bullets, Casey declares that it must have an exoskeleton under his skin. By definition, an exoskeleton can't be under the skin, as that would make it an endoskeleton — something a biologist like Casey should be well aware of.
    • A major plot point hinges on the notion of autism being "the next step in human evolution"; there are a lot of issues with this, but the primary one is that there is no such thing as a "next step" in the evolution of any species, because evolution does not have any strictly defined endpoint. Again, this is something you would think an evolutionary biologist would know.
  • Asshole Victim: The jerk who decides to throw something at Rory while he's out trick-or-treating. The Predator helmet that Rory is wearing for a Halloween costume immediately retaliates and kills him, and blows up the guy's house for good measure.
  • Ass Shove: One of the agents at the McKenna Residence meets his demise this way, caused by the Ultimate Predator's wrist blade. Ouch.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Lampshaded when Traeger explains to Brackett that the Predator seems to enjoy hunting humans, and presumably other dangerous animals, but doesn't eat its kills, taking trophies instead.
    Brackett: That's not a predator, that's a sports hunter.
    Traeger: Well, we took a vote. Predator's cooler.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: A Predator, similar to the ones who have served as the main antagonists for the previous films, is initially played up as the main antagonist of this film — then, about halfway through the film, the Ultimate Predator arrives. The two battle, and the original Predator loses. Badly.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: With only its bare hand, the Ultimate Predator catches a wrist-blade punch from the Fugitive Predator hard enough to shatter the wrist-blades.
  • Better with Non-Human Company: Casey Brackett is said to be a misanthropic animal lover who'd rather spend her time looking into a microscope than talking to people.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: This is definitely the goriest movie in the Predator franchise.
  • Boldly Coming: Discussed when the characters point out that the Predator has human DNA, speculating on how that might have happened, leading Casey to cut off their ramblings with "So you want to know if someone fucked an alien?"
  • Breaking the Bonds: Casey has to free herself from a chair she was handcuffed to. A fortuitous grenade explosion does it for her.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Nebraska mentions his Embarrassing First Name is Gaylord. Later in the film, Casey sarcastically says "'Getting the fuck out of here' is my middle name", to which Quinn brings up Gaylord.
    • When Casey is introduced to the Predator, she argues with Traeger over the alien's nickname, as a predator hunts for food, not for sport. When she tells this to McKenna's unit, Nebraska points out the same thing, much to Casey's delight.
  • Bring the Anchor Along: Casey is handcuffed to a chair while being interrogated in the barn. When she escapes, she takes the chair along with her, only to have it get wrapped around a rail when she vaults off a balcony.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: When the Fugitive Predator breaks free and is fired on by the guards, it has no problem using a hapless scientist as one before getting its claws on a weapon.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Jake Busey's character Sean Keyes is the son of Peter Keyes, Gary Busey's character from Predator 2, doubling as Real-Life Relative.
    • The concept of some Yautja genetically modifying themselves was previously implied in a statement made by Ronald Noland in Predators regarding the Super Predators, although not in explicit terms.
    • Also from Predators, there are "hunting dogs" again, only this time they have Predator heads.
    • Traeger mentions the Predators' previous visits in 1987 and 1997.
    • The tail spear from Alien vs. Predator is shown in a display case.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: The Predator's trademark cloaking tech now has a portable version in a ball-shaped device that humans can (and do) use.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Quinn is a sniper. His marksmanship skills are the only thing that reliably lets him inflict damage on the Ultimate Predator, and give him an edge against his human opponents.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The characters swear profusely. And only one has Tourette's as an excuse. Even a kid drops the F-bomb.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Beheadings, implements, bisections — there are lots of bloody deaths.
  • Cue the Sun: During the final battle, when the Ultimate Predator kidnaps Rory and takes off on his ship.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • As soon as the first Predator gets free from its sedation, it wrecks the Project Stargazer men without any effort.
    • The first Predator doesn't last long against the Ultimate Predator.
  • Deadly Force Field: Predator ships have Some Kind of Force Field. As our heroes are trying to bring the ship down after jumping on its hull, the shield comes on. One slides under, another jumps over, but a third ends up Half the Man He Used to Be. Later, a quick, well-timed activation of the now-crashed ship's shield lops one of the Ultimate Predator's arms off, which provides the key to finally killing it.
  • Denser and Wackier: In contrast to the other Predator movies, which take themselves seriously, The Predator has quirky characters, weird plot developments, and lots of snarky dialogue.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: A fair amount of time is spent with the PTSD soldiers learning about their various issues. As might be expected of The Team in a Predator film, not all of them are going to survive the runtime of the film.
  • Disability Superpower: Autism is treated as giving anyone who has it genius-level intellect and talked about as 'the next step in human evolution' by Casey. The Ultimate Predator reveals its people also believe this, calling Rory the only true warrior among the humans opposing it and kidnapping him to bring him back to the homeworld and take his DNA to presumably give autism to its people.
    • More specifically, Rory's autism is portrayed as making him good at pattern-based tasks, such as resetting chess games to before they were knocked over, or decrypting an alien language.
  • Due to the Dead: After the Ultimate Predator has been defeated, Quinn, Rory, and Casey gather mementos from each of the fallen soldiers to give them a kind of funeral, Quinn explicitly stating that nobody will remember his ‘unit’ but them.
  • Dying Smirk: Nebraska takes down the Predator's spaceship with guns blazing and a smile on his face.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Protagonist Quinn McKenna is a former U.S. Army Ranger. As expected, he is a highly lethal combatant even without his sniper rifle.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Nebraska Williams goes by his middle name, because his given name is Gaylord.
  • Enemy Civil War:
    • As with Predators, one theme of the film is Predator battling Predator, pitting a traditional Predator against a far larger variant that has been genetically modified with the DNA of many of the species that the Yautja have preyed on. The normal Predator is revealed to have gone rogue and have been trying to deliver an advanced suit of Predator-killing powered armor to the humans, while the Ultimate Predator was dispatched to kill him and retrieve the stolen technology.
    • It works the other way as well, as the humans spend as much time trying to kill each other as they do the Predators. The Ultimate Predator even lampshades how much it enjoys watching them slaughter each other.
  • Enemy Mine: The heroes immediately join forces with Traeger and his goons after the Ultimate Predator informs them that it intends to hunt and kill them all. They had all just been shooting at each other mere moments before.
  • Epic Fail:
    • While trying to tranq a runaway Predator, Casey slips on top of a swerving bus and shoots herself in the foot. Instant Sedation is averted, but she's out for what's implied to be hours. Considering the dose was calibrated and formulated for a seven-foot-tall Nigh-Invulnerable space alien with totally different body chemistry, she's incredibly lucky she woke up at all; if not for Plot Armor, she could have died from either an overdose or poisoning.
    • One of the Project Stargazer mooks in the forest throws a Predator shuriken at what he thinks is the Ultimate Predator, but turns out to be nothing. Since this is Predator tech and it returns to its user, he's advised to try and catch it. He fails.
    • Traeger claims the Fugitive Predator's shoulder cannon after the Ultimate Predator kills it. Unfortunately, he doesn't really understand how to use it, and accidentally blows his own head off after Casey distracts him at the wrong moment.
  • Everyone Has Standards: At one point, McKenna asks Nebraska if Casey (who is out cold after having accidentally tranqed herself in an attempt to take down the Predator) will be alright in their motel room with the other Loonies. Nebraska bluntly tells him that all of them are soldiers, and sleepy ladies aren't their thing.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Like the previous films, the normal Predator towers over humans at a little over 7 feet tall. The Ultimate Predator is even bigger at 11 feet tall.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Traeger is gloating to Rory about how stupid his father must be to trip a perimeter alarm despite being a trained sniper... then realises he wanted to create a distraction.
  • Eye Scream: Quinn kills a man by firing a sedation dart through his eye.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: For the first time in the franchise, the means by which the Predator ships travel interstellar distances is shown on-screen. The ship fires a burst of energy in front of itself and opens a rift in space (probably a wormhole of some sort), which then closes after the ship crosses to the other side.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • At various points, the Predators wear basically little other than a loincloth, some gauntlets, and some shin guards, but they're also horrifying aliens with bestial-looking heads and nasty, mottled skin. Unless that's your kind of thing. The Ultimate Predator only ever wears what are basically briefs, sandals, and wrist gauntlets, because it's so tough it doesn't need any extra protection. Casey observes it growing an "exoskeleton from its fucking skin", however.
    • Casey Brackett (played by Olivia Munn) tries to escape the Predator's rampage in Project Stargazer by going back through the decontamination room, which requires her to strip down so she can be deloused. Of course, huddling naked in a frosted glass stall while the Predator approaches her is not played for fanservice, and Munn's body is only shown from the shoulders up. Of course, to those familiar with the Predator MO, a huddling, naked human is no threat and no sport, and she's left completely unharmed.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When Casey wakes up among the troubled soldiers, she grabs a shotgun that one of them (apparently) carelessly left propped up against the wall near the bed they'd put her in. The soldiers immediately start laughing and settling their bets on whether or not she'd grab it. It's a pretty strong hint that It Works Better with Bullets is about to ensue.
  • Firing One-Handed:
    • Done by the Fugitive Predator with an assault rifle during its escape. Justified by its strength.
    • Quinn fires at the fleeing Predator using a pistol grip shotgun while leaning out of the door of a moving vehicle.
  • Foreshadowing: When Traeger picks up the dead Predator's shoulder cannon, his fellow merc warns him to be careful with it. Near the end of the film, he accidentally blows his own head off with it.
  • Genius Bruiser: For a scientist, Casey sure does very well for herself in battle.
  • Genre Savvy: Baxley eventually notes to the rest of the Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits who, like multiple groups before them, have found themselves in a Predator's path, that he's "figured something out: I think we're gonna die. Just pointing it out." And indeed, most Predator films end with only a few survivors out of the original groups. This one is no exception.
  • Genre Throwback: Being a follow-up to an iconic 1980s action movie, it draws much from that age, specially in being politically incorrect, profane, and bloody. One review even said Shane Black would've done basically the same movie had he taken the job in 1989.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Fugitive Predator is technically the good guy, having betrayed its own people to pass on a suit of advanced Predator-killing armour to the humans — but doesn't hesitate to massacre the Stargazer staff and guards to get its equipment back, and might have killed McKenna had the Ultimate Predator not showed up.
  • Go Fetch: One of the alien dogs brought by the Ultimate Predator to track down its prey gets shot in the head, which lobotomises the creature and makes it start acting like a Big Friendly Dog instead. One character gets it out of the way by tossing an unprimed grenade for it to fetch. The alien dog returns with the grenade at just the right time for it to be useful.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: The group of protagonists is a rather anti-heroic bunch of PTSD-suffering veterans who've escaped custody (and one scientist who outlived her usefulness). However, they primarily use "good" guns, like a pump shotgun stolen from a guard and some police weapons, including MP5s, after stealing a police car. The Stargazer organization, despite being "good" in-universe, primarily use a variety of "advanced", tactical-looking H&K products, classic "bad" guns in this circumstance. Oddly, when the two groups are forced into an Enemy Mine against the Ultimate Predator at the end, the protagonists equip themselves with several classic "good" M4s from the Stargazer site, despite the Stargazer Mooks not really using them.
  • Gorn: Lots of blood, guts, and gore are present in the film. Notably, one of the first humans the Fugitive Predator kills is strung upside down (like they do), but not skinned (like they do)... at least, not entirely.
  • Green Aesop: Downplayed. When Traeger and Brackett start talking about the Predators and their genetic engineering of themselves into more capable forms, Traeger starts on a seemingly irrelevant tangent about how people went on a spree buying Twinkies when Hostess was going bankrupt. He brings the analogy full circle by stating that humanity probably only has a few generations left before climate change wipes us out, and the Predators are increasing their hunts on Earth to get their hands on as much human genetic material as they can before the humans are all gone. Traeger also postulates that, maybe, the Predators will colonize Earth once it becomes warm enough to kill off humanity, as they thrive in hot environments.
  • Grenade Tag: When the Predator dog obligingly coughs up a grenade it swallowed earlier, Casey pulls out the pin with her teeth (she doesn't have much choice, as her other hand is handcuffed to her chair) and shoves it down the back of the assault vest of the merc who was about to execute her.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: In contrast to the mostly competent Project Stargazer guards (they only fail because dealing with a Predator is not easy, and Group 2 catches them by surprise), the driver of an army truck hijacked by the Predator doesn't realize the loud noises coming from the back are the alien slaughtering everyone, and after he asks if anything's wrong, the Predator holding out a severed arm with a thumbs up is enough to make the clueless driver satisfied and not question anymore.
    • Also on the prison bus, when the guards come into the back to calm down the prisoners, opening themselves up to assault and the prisoners taking over the bus.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The force field on the Predator's ship is igniting. Ducking below it works, jumping over it does too, but standing stock-still in its path results in this.
  • Halloween Episode: The film is set on and around Halloween, although this actually plays a very minor role in the film, being more set dressing for the second act than anything. For once, a Shane Black movie set during a holiday other than Christmas!
  • Hammerspace: Unlike previous films, where the Predator gauntlets had obvious places in which the wristblades and other gear were stored (even if it was unlikely they could actually fit in those spaces), the gauntlets in this film are much sleeker and thinner. The containment for the wristblades pop up out of the gauntlets, then the wristblades extend from that. Exaggerated with the Predator-Killer suit, which is an entire suit of powered armor with twin massive plasma casters that folds up into something barely bigger than a regular Predator gauntlet with sidecars.
  • He Knows Too Much: This is standard operating procedure for Project Stargazer. They intend to have McKenna framed for the deaths of his team, and order Casey shot — actions which turn potentially useful allies against them.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: The Loonies escape from the rampaging Predator and Stargazer goons by grabbing a bunch of abandoned motorcycles, complete with obligatory Mythology Gag. Later, they steal a police car and a news helicopter offscreen.
  • Hollywood Autism: Rory's autism is portrayed as some kind of Disability Superpower which allows the boy to easily make use of Yautja tech effortlessly. But instead of acknowledging that autistic people have a wide variety of cognitive abilities, or that not all autistic people are savants, the film asserts that autism is humanity's next step in evolution and that the Predators themselves even want Rory for his autism because they think it makes him the "ultimate warrior".
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: It takes place around Halloween, which mostly just gives an excuse for Rory to walk around wearing the Predator's mask.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face:
    • Brackett accidentally shoots herself in the foot with a tranquilizer gun.
    • Traeger accidentally kills himself with the Predator's discarded plasma caster.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: Project Stargazer seem unable to do anything right and constantly suffer extremely high casualties doing so.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Casey Brackett is a scientist, yet she is as proficient in weapons, Combat Parkour, and the physical and psychological fields of fighting as any of the soldiers (even more than some of them, in fact).
  • Instant Sedation: Averted. It takes a while for the dart Casey shot in her own foot to knock her out.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: As soon as she awakens in the squad's hotel room, Casey grabs a shotgun and does a Dramatic Gun Cock when Quinn approaches. When she attempts to fire, it turns out they weren't careless enough to leave it loaded. And were actually taking bets on if she'd grab the conveniently-placed weapon.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: During Halloween, a drunken jerkass throws a beer can from a second story window at the head of a sweet little trick-or-treater who rang his doorbell. The kid is wearing a Yautja mask with a built-in plasma-caster, which automatically blows the man and the whole second story of his house into a million flaming pieces. Since Predator energy weapons are guided by laser sights, it's about as literal as this trope gets.
  • Last-Name Basis: Used for a twist: the Ultimate Predator wants to take "McKenna"; not Quinn, but his son Rory (whom they learned about by seeing through the "eyes" of the Predator helmet that Quinn had mailed home), as the fact that he understood their tech means Rory's DNA is good enough to take.
  • LEGO Genetics: One of the film's primary plot elements is that of genetic modification, with some members of the Yautja race genetically modifying themselves to become even better hunters, with the traditional Predator habit of claiming skull and spinal column trophies being expanded upon as also being the Predators taking DNA samples from their strongest and worthiest prey. The Ultimate Predator is described in supplementary materials as being so modified, and is a good eleven feet tall with exoskeletal armour. Even the traditional Predator turns out to have been modified with human DNA.
  • Leitmotif: While Predators only used the original movie's theme in the final scene, this one plays it whenever possible.
  • Lightning Bruiser: As usual, the Predators are shown to be stronger, faster, and tougher than humans, and that's not even counting their high-tech arsenal. In addition to that, not only does the Ultimate Predator's strength level seem to be to classic Predators what the classic Predators are to humans — as it can crush a regular Predator's skull with a single blow — but it's also fast enough to dodge point-blank plasmacaster shots.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Several Predator weapons don't kill people so much as they turn them into popping balloons filled with blood.
  • Made of Iron:
    • The Ultimate Predator has an exoskeleton that can stop bullets.
    • Quinn has the usual Plot Armor of a lead action hero, being tossed around by the Ultimate Predator without suffering a disabling injury. In one scene, he's dangled from the bottom of a crashing spacecraft by a cable attached to his leg without snapping his ankle bones, let alone the rest of him.
    • Casey is unharmed from both jumping from a staircase onto a moving bus, and then from splatting on the ground as McKenna misses catching her.
  • Man Bites Man: Both Predators in this movie are much more willing to use their mandibles in combat, with the Ultimate Predator biting off one of Traeger's men's heads.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": McKenna, Casey, and the Loonies have this reaction when the Ultimate Predator shows up and effortlessly kills the Fugitive Predator. And all the surviving human characters have this when the Ultimate Predator announces it's going to hunt and slaughter the lot of them once the seven minute headstart expires.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: A downplayed version, but the hardened male soldiers are gruesomely slaughtered by the dozens by the Predator, while Casey and the main protagonist's ex-wife never get touched. Only one woman dies, and she's just an unnamed scientist. The only adult male to survive is Quinn.
  • The Men in Black: Will Traeger is one of them, sent to investigate the Predators on behalf of Project Stargazer.
    Traeger: Do you know what my job description is? I'm in acquisitions. I look up and I catch what falls out of the sky.
  • Mercy Kill: Baxley and Coyle, the former impaled, the latter with a hole in his stomach, decide to shoot each other to cut the pain short. Doubles as Together in Death.
  • Mercy Lead: The Ultimate Predator allows the warring humans a chance to team up and attempt to escape, and even lets them know it's doing so via the translation software.
  • Motive Decay: The Predators are believed from all previous canon to be alien hunters with code of honor who take their victims' skulls as trophies. It turns out there is more to the story. The Predators also have been taking their victims' spinal fluid to perform hybridization on themselves to become stronger. And with the human race on the verge of extinction, it is likely they will be coming to colonize Earth too.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Many of the memorable quotes from the original are brought back, though with a few twists, such as "You are one beautiful motherfucker", and the classic "Get to the chopper!" line is used to refer to motorcycles.
    • One of the Predator masks of the film has a visible claw scratch, just like Celtic got in Alien vs. Predator, while another is identical to the original mask in Predator. Lex’s spear from Alien vs. Predator also makes an unexpected appearance in Stargazer's captured tech display.
    • Stills from Predator 2 are compared to the appearance and equipment of this film's captive (basic) Predator.
    • The Predators have somehow discovered that their DNA can combine with that of other alien (to them) species and allow them to augment their own physiology. This concept was first explored with the "Predalien".
    • McKenna asks the Ultimate Predator "What are you?", just as Dutch did to the Predator in the first film. Unlike Dutch, he decides he doesn't want to hear the answer and blows the Ultimate Predator's brains out before it can actually reply.
  • Neck Lift: A Predator does this to Quinn McKenna until it gets grabbed by the Ultimate Predator.
  • Never Split the Party: When the Ultimate Predator gives them a Mercy Lead, the Mook Lieutenant suggests they all take off in a different direction so that at least some will survive. Traeger rejects this plan, knowing the Ultimate Predator will just track them down one at a time.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The first trailer gives the impression that Rory playing with a device from the Predator's gauntlet causes the ship crash. The ship actually crashes earlier in the film, which gives Quinn the Predator tech that he then mails to a PO Box (which is then forwarded to his estranged wife's house because he hasn't been making his payments). The scene of Rory using the gizmo like a spaceship toy is not in the film.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: It turns out the Predators haven't just been collecting spinal columns as a Battle Trophy, but to harvest the DNA of the most advanced and aggressive species in order to create hybrid Predators with those traits. Likely justified as alien genetic engineering technology is involved rather than someone just having "fucked an alien". There's also a suggestion that the alien-human hybrids will be used to colonise Earth once global warming kills humanity off.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Casey notes that the "Predator" nickname is not very accurate, given that they kill for sport, not subsistence. Nebraska and Coyle later make the same point, much to her delight.
  • No-Sell: The Ultimate Predator's exoskeletal armour means that bullets just bounce off it, and even the original Predator's wrist blades do nothing against it.
  • Novelization: The film was novelised by Christopher Golden and Mark Morris. More details here.
  • Odd Friendship: Coyle and Baxley. Coyle is an inveterate jokester, and a large number of his jokes are at Baxley's expense. It's explained this is how Coyle deals with causing a friendly-fire incident that destroyed one of his team's vehicles. Later in the film, it's revealed Baxley is the Sole Survivor of that incident, and he and Coyle spent a lot of time backing each other up in the ensuing military tribunals.
  • Outside Ride: While chasing the Predator at the dam, Casey jumps from a catwalk on to the passing bus, and balances on the roof, attempting to get a bead on him. Later, McKenna, Nebraska, and Nettles jump on to the outside of the Predator ship as it is taking off.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "What are you? ...Shut the fuck up."
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: When the Predator dog coughs up a grenade, Casey pulls the pin on the grenade with her teeth because her other hand is cuffed to a chair. She shoves the grenade down the back of a mercenary's jacket, and later uses the grenade pin to pick the lock on her handcuffs.
  • Plot Armor: Both the Renegade Predator and Ultimate Predator are conspicuously fond of using non-lethal force against McKenna and Casey. In the case of the former, it's to make you think that he's the McKenna they're after, not Rory, but this continues even after The Reveal, making it look like the only reason the Ultimate Predator doesn't just shoot him or stab him is because the plot requires McKenna to survive to the end of the film.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The main characters in the film (save for McKenna), referred to initially as "Group 2", are all veterans with severe mental health issues brought about by PTSD. While their trauma is often Played for Laughs, there's some serious Played for Drama in it as well.
  • Rasputinian Death: The Ultimate Predator undergoes a long sequence of being shot, exploded, stabbed, set aflame, and thrown off great heights before losing an arm due to its own ship's energy field, getting blown up by its own wrist rocket, and then getting shot repeatedly in the face.
  • Refusal of the Call: With the exception of Nebraska, the Loonies are really reluctant to help Quinn tangle with a homicidal space alien. They might be crazy, but they're not stupid.
  • Rousing Speech: Subverted. When Quinn goes after his son, Nebraska prods Emily into giving a small one of these listing his many great qualities as a soldier and leader — which does nothing to inspire the Loonies to help, as all of them end up going for their own reasons. Lynch at least tells her he liked the speech on the way out.
  • Sarcastic Confession: After the rest of Group 2 says what they're been sent to the loony bin for, Quinn just says "I had a confrontation with a space alien". Everyone laughs, feeling this shows he's somehow the craziest.
  • Semper Fi: Several of the characters are former U.S. Marines, notably Keegan-Michael Key's Coyle.
  • Sequel Escalation: Compared to Predators; not only has it got more action, but takes the concept of there being a Super Predator larger and stronger than the original Predators and takes it up to eleven by bringing in an even larger and stronger hunter, the Ultimate Predator.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The bullies who pick on Rory are named E.J. and Derek, who have the same names as the bullies from The Monster Squad (also written by Shane Black and Fred Dekker).
    • Also, in the beginning at the Operation Stargazer base, one of the elevator guards jokes "Is it your imagination, or are the walls of this haunted room stretching?" which is a verbatim quote from the beginning of Disney's Haunted Mansion ride.
  • Slashed Throat: Baxley kills one of Traeger's men by slitting his throat.
  • Some Kind of Force Field: The Predator ships have these, implied to be part of the stealth technology that lets them visit Earth undetected. Unluckily for Nettles, it turns out it's lethal if you happen to have any body parts in the space where the force field is manifesting. The Ultimate Predator also gets an arm cut off by a well-timed activation of the force field mechanism.
  • Space Police: The Ultimate Predator is implied to be this, or at least the Predator race's equivalent of law enforcement. Its goal in the film is to retrieve Predator technology that the other Predator stole, and in the second act it blows up the crashed spaceship to stop the US government from recovering any Predator technology — even explaining this to the human characters. The film even opens with it engaging in a high-speed spaceship chase where it pursues and fires on the other Predator's ship.
  • Starter Villain: The traditional Predator serves as a major antagonist for McKenna, Casey, and the Loonies (alongside the Stargazer goons and the Predator Hounds) — then the Ultimate Predator, an eleven-foot super-strong variant genetically modified with the DNA of its prey species arrives, and swiftly proves deadlier in every way.
  • Stock Sound Effects: If you listen closely, in one scene from the trailer, a Predator has a roar similar to the ones heard in the trailer for The New Mutants. Coincidentally, these are both horror movies by Fox.
  • Subspace Ansible: The Ultimate Predator is able to have a real-time conversation with its home base through its wrist communicator.
  • Suddenly Speaking: While the Predators have always made vocalizations, both in mimicked English and (presumably) their own language, for the first time subtitles are provided so Predators can actually have conversations with each other. The Ultimate Predator also uses the translation software Stargazer developed to deliver its ultimatum to the group.
  • Tempting Fate: When Quinn manages to go rescue his son and hold one of Traeger's men at gunpoint, the idiot scoffs at Quinn and asks if he is going to going to kill them with a tranq gun, which ends as well as anyone expected.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Nettles kills one of Traeger's men with a thrown knife to the chest.
  • Time Skip: The movie features two of them, although it is never made explicit how much time elapses between each one:
    • The first one is between the original crash in Mexico and the point when Brackett is brought in to examine the captured Predator.
    • The second one is between the Ultimate Predator's death and the Distant Finale.
  • Together in Death: Baxley and Coyle perform a Mercy Kill on each other, and their bodies are framed in this way.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The marketing campaign (including trailers and even the damn page image) have made no effort to hide the movie's big hook: the Yautja are themselves being preyed upon by another, bigger, genetically-enhanced Yautja.
  • Tuckerization: Baxley is named after Craig R. Baxley, the original film's stunt coordinator and second unit director, Rory's school is Laurence A. Gordon High School after one of said movie's producers, and at a certain point there is mention of a Woodruff Street (Tom Woodruff, Jr. has been part of the series effects crew since the Alien vs. Predator movies).
  • Turbine Blender: Done with the caveat that a full-size human body falling into one will severely damage the turbine in the process, as shown when Nebraska throws himself into the engine in order to ensure the Predator's ship crashes.
  • Villain Ball: Traeger has McKenna labeled as mentally unfit for duty, orders Brackett killed the second she's no longer immediately useful, and treats the Fugitive Predator like a caged animal even after he realizes it came here to help. No reason for this is ever given, and at the end McKenna is in charge of Project Stargazer, implying Traeger was the only problem.
  • Wolverine Claws: The Predators' iconic retractable wrist-blades make a return. Both the normal Predator and the Ultimate Predator can fire the blade out as a projectile.
  • World of Badass: As can be expected from a Predator film. Even Emily gets in on it, as her response to her son vanishing is to grab a hunting rifle and try following Quinn.
  • World of Snark: As can be expected from Shane Black, most of the dialogue is wall-to-wall snark.
    Casey: "Getting the fuck out of here" is my middle name.
    Nebraska: And I thought Gaylord was embarrassing.
  • Your Mom: Baxley's Berserk Button, which is exactly why Coyle makes a lot of those jokes.
    Coyle: If your mom's vagina were a video game, it'd be rated "E" for "Everyone!"
    Coyle: What's the difference between five big black guys and a joke? Baxley's mom can't take a joke.

"We may die, but we're still here. So come and get us, motherfucker."