New faces, weapons, and themes levitate this Predator prequel.
“Prey” is the prequel to the “Predator” franchise, which uses a Comanche theme to tell the story of how this iconic creature came to our planet. The setting is in 1719, so obviously, neither the tribe warriors nor the French trappers would be familiar with its technology and weapons, especially if it can camouflage itself and has green blood. At least I think it’s blood.
The last “Predator” movie, directed by one of the stars Shane Black, was on my list of the Worst Movies of 2018, because of how the Predator was smarter than all the human characters, played by A-list actors. “Prey” is directed by a known filmmaker like Dan Trachtenberg (“10 Cloverfield Lane) and features actors with no recognition (at least not yet), and is absolutely entertaining.
It takes the introduction seriously, while bringing us a leading actress, who knows how to play the spunky action hero with a low key and patient attitude. That actress happens to be Amber Midthunder (“Hell or High Water”), who portrays the young would-be hunter Naru.
As the film begins, she tries to convince her older brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers) and wise mother Sumo (Stefano Mathias) that she can hunt. She wants to hunt, because people think she can’t, and she wants to prove them wrong. So, she tags along with her brother and his fellow warriors to hunt a mountain lion, who invades their territory.
But as the Predator (former basketball star Dane DiLiegro) makes its way on our planet, the girl realizes it’s deadlier than a mountain lion. Even if she’s in a certain time period, she still figures out its strengths and weaknesses. That’s how smart she is.
My one issue with the film, and others movies, is that sometimes scenes are so dark that I can barely see them. I can easily understand why they would be dark, since nighttime is when any predator would have better luck hunting their prey, but I still would like to see what was going on.
But there’s still enough light in “Prey” for me to see what Dan Trachtenberg and co-screenwriter Patrick Aison have to offer in the franchise. I’ve seen and enjoyed the original “Predator” movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and there hasn’t been a single sequel to top that film. I don’t think anyone sequel or prequel or reboot or remake or whatever the Hell Hollywood is into these days can ever top that. But “Prey” has big dreams and it succeeds in entertaining us.
It has the right alien goo, weapons, and sound effects to make sure this Predator does no wrong in this movie. He looks and feels scary, thanks to the make-up artists and costumes, and DiLiegro being a giant actor.
Again, there are no familiar faces, at least not yet, but the breakout star has to be Midthunder, who does a professional job at portraying a young hunter with enough spirit and ambition to take this Predator down. Even without it, she still finds herself in dangerous situations, like muddy swamps or mountain lions. And even without the action, we’re still interested in her story and how she wants to prove she’s more than meets the eye.
In retrospect, I think “Prey” could have worked in theaters. Maybe not in the same opening weekend as “Bullet Train,” but maybe the following week, because there’s enough entertainment value and nostalgia for it to be theater worthy. I’m pretty sure money is an obligation, considering that movies, no matter how good, can bomb at the box office. Financial experts complain about percentages going down, but I think they should be grateful people like these movies at all.
Besides since Disney bought out Fox with that lame title “20th Century Studios,” here’s my response to them:
“I think Disney has plenty of money.”
Streaming on Hulu This Friday