Let’s be surprised.

When I heard that the 45,607th Predator film was in the works my mind immediately shut down and all I could see were cats riding bikes made of creamsicles. I’m not going to lie folks, I completely ignored this one due to how awful the series has become.

Imagine my surprise when Prey releases to amazing reviews. I had to give it a watch. We have a historical film set in the early 1700s, and the first time we have almost all Comanche cast in a franchise film.

However, before I could even watch the film I heard the pained shrieking of insecure white men just over the horizon. You see, this film has a woman in it, and she wants to be a warrior. I’m not sure if we can handle this scandal. I mean, it might just be too much to bare that a young woman who lives in a fucking warrior culture during a time where their culture is under direct and relentless assault might want to be a part of something. 

I find the whole woke nonsense spouted from keyboard wanna-be alphas so exhausting that it makes it hard to ignore. Even here, I feel like I have to address the rampant insecure sexism that plagues contemporary storytelling that comes from the audience. Could you imagine if Alien was released today? Oh man, I think we’d need to open new burn wards for how sour so many would be.

I don’t know. If you’re afraid of women you probably won’t like this movie. If you like action or action/sci-fi films or even historical action films you’ll probably like this one a lot.

We follow Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young woman who is trained in the ways of medicine but wants to be a hunter. We see her practicing relentlessly with a tomahawk and a bow, but she just can’t seem to get the kill. She tries to run down a deer, and while able to keep pace she is stopped. We do see her keep practicing after failing though.

You know, it is almost like the movie is trying to show us that she is working towards this and is earning her place as a hunter. Weird, huh?

Anyway, a cougar has attacked one of the tribe and Naru’s brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers, who has some of the coolest war paint I’ve seen) leads the charge to rescue their fellow and hunt the lion. Naru comes, and Taabe allows her to because he knows she wants to hunt, but he also knows she is skilled in medicine and tracking.

However, there seems to be another predator in the woods with them. Oh snap, it’s a predator! Can Naru and her hunting party survive? Can the predator take on a warrior culture and an encroaching French trapping colony? 

What works in this film is that our leads are awesome. Naru and Taabe are immediately relatable and likable (hey Hollywood, maybe stop with the BS diversity lip service and actually offer some leading roles to these super-talented young actors?). The predator also looks great. They made him look like an earlier version. His technology (while still advanced) seems older and less grandiose. This predator focused more on hand-to-hand combat and does not use his projectiles as much.

The fight sequences are great. An early one where Comanche warriors try to take down the alien shows how good of warriors they are, but also how insanely advanced the predator is. Simply put, a direct assault will not work. Though this fact takes a little time to be fully discovered.

A lengthy set piece in a burned forest offers some of the best action ever in a Predator film. Visceral, brutal, and exciting are the terms I would use. I also like that they made the predator scary. We see him chasing his prey through tall grass and the unbelievable speed is unnerving. 

This is the best Predator film since the first one, and without nostalgia goggles it might be the best one yet. I know that might not sound like much of a compliment due to how terrible the sequels are… I also know that if I made a film where I covered my body in yellow mustard and put a frozen turkey on my face before fighting CGI swans in my backyard it would be a better film than the sequels.

However, honestly, this is a good movie. I also think it is a great entry point for folks who are not familiar with the series. 

Fantastic work from all involved.

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