Dan Trachtenberg directs Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers and Michelle Thrush in this stealth prequel to the Predator franchise where a Comanche warrior proves her worth against the alien hunter.
I’ve perversely enjoyed all the Predator sequels so it might shock you to say I found this competent, adequate, maybe a little too classy. The untrained doggie who they just shot coverage of and found his performance in the edit, him I loved. The CGI animals I hated. Amber Midthunder carried her story successfully, relying on physicality. Yet the final showdown didn’t match that wild feeling of all hell breaking loose that has become the Predator hallmark even in the weaker episodes. Everything else hit the spot but didn’t light me up. Maybe I was a little overly tired to watch this on launch night, a subsequent revisit will tumble everything that is praiseworthy into position. I was entertained, I like the fact that the 18th century setting gave this episode a clean slate to work with, a sincere space to do its own thing. But in my heart of hearts I want cartoon yardies, comic book yakuzas and buddy movie Section 8s going up against the slime green blooded, one ugly muthafucka. Native Americans and colonial trappers feel a little too real world. Pirates? Yeah, now that’s an alternative history lesson I’m all ears for. As solid as Prey is, it lacks the carnage this particular franchise has primed me for. The best set piece involves a mire and a tomahawk yet I felt even it skipped that one last ratchet of desperation that truly makes these types of smaller scale salvos memorable. I know people are hard gushing on Prey, who admire its consistency, see it as a belated heir to the Arnie original. But I enjoyed Shane Black’s utterly incomprehensible attempt to rejig the mythology just as much. So I’m off to film jail, aren’t I?
Perfect Double Bill: Predator 2 (1990)
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