Like Terminator and Aliens, the Predator film series started with a bang, only to fizzle out spectacularly.
Although Predator 2 and the Robert Rodriguez-produced Predators had their moments, the resulting franchise of sequels and spin-offs have been pretty sub-par. Sure, there was enough blood-and-guts to make the Fangoria subscriber-base blush, but where was the still-beating heart of the once-impressive alien Cabelas shopper?
Well, he was apparently stuck in the technologically-deficit world of 1719 and all that comes with it!
A pre-prequel of sorts, Prey returns the Predator series to all its ultra-violet glory, and then some.
Set in early 18th century America, a young Comanche named Naru (Amber Midthunder) longs to be a great hunter, much like her older brother. Tracking a wolf or, worse, a bear, she eventually meets her match: an alien sports enthusiast that keeps trophies for every kill, making mincemeat of both strapping warrior braves and doggerel French trappers.
But Naru is no shrinking violet; instead, she makes the Predator her prey, turning the tables unexpectedly on the glow-sticked extraterrestrial. Along with her faithful dog Sarii (good boy!), she becomes the unexpected action hero for the best science fiction movie of the year…and it’s fully Indigenous to boot! Yakoke!
Director Dan Trachtenberg and writer Patrick Aison do a credible job, taking our culture—both the action movie and the Natives on film—and giving them a screen-worthy story, thankfully throwing the whitewash away. But ultimately, Prey comes down to Midthunder’s character, creating a new cinematic presence who takes on all comers: men, monsters and, of course, the Predator.
With looming sequels on the way, I hope they stay true to this road that is given—we don’t need Predator vs. Aliens III: Face-Hugger Spring Break.