- Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
- July 21, 2022 (San Diego Comic-Con) / August 5, 2022 (United States)
A skilled female Comanche warrior fights to protect her tribe against a Predators that has come to Earth for a hunt.
I went into my viewing of Prey with very low expectations. As a general rule, studios have been handling legacies properties worse and worse over the years. They do not understand what made the original resonate and often present something with the property’s name attached but with much of what people enjoy missing. And in particular after The Predator I was not thinking Fox could pull off anything adequate. At best I expected 90 minutes or so of my time to not be wasted but to not be particularly thrilled by this.
While I don’t think this is the greatest movie ever made nor the best Predator film, it is certainly the finest sequel to the first Predator since Predator 2 and an overall enjoyable film despite any flaws or issues I may have. Aside from a few cringe worthy lines, the dialogue isn’t bad and the direction is rather solid.
But that is not to say it is flawless. For starters I am bothered that a 120-pound girl (and that’s probably on a good day) is able to take one a 6 foot plus strong alien killing machine. They just aren’t physical matches. The Predator physically outclasses her as well as technologically and in the few scenes where they actually are within touching distance of each other there’s no way she should have actually survived.
The hero of this story is Naru (Amber Midthunder) is shown as a strong-willed Comanche woman seeking to defy the social structure of her tribe. That is fine but as is often the case in modern movies all the characters that want to keep things as they are tend to get offed leaving the heroine the only one standing and able to proceed because the social structure that she was going against has literally been killed. That is rather lazy as it avoids having to craft a change of heart or a point of understanding for some or all involved. Why have a character learn a lesson when it is easier to kill them?
While I enjoyed the ending, I saw Naru’s solution to the Predator coming once it was introduced. They focused rather heavily on it rather than just let it slip in the narrative. This new weapon (and a new way the targeting laser worked) while cool was clearly going to be exploited by Naru to achieve victory. It struck me as a design flaw in the technology and a weakness in storytelling.
This may be a bit in it picky but the head redesign of the Predator did not go over too well with me. You can make a little head cannon that this was the same species just of a different ethnicity but that’s just head canon. The general appearance of the Predator is pretty iconic. There have been tweaks along the way but the Predator has more or less have retained the same overall look from film to film. Who cares if it’s bulky? I don’t think any fan of the film has ever complained about it.
Having said that Prey is a pretty back to basics Predator film. They don’t try to expand things to any real degree. They use essentially the formula from the first Predator movie and place it in a new setting. There are even a handful of nods, both casual and overt, to past films. One I disagree with though. The implied story was much more interesting than the reveal we get here.
The action is pretty good and the story is focused without a lot of fluff. At 90 minutes there isn’t much time for that kind of crap. A limited runtime forcing you to tell a good Predator story is to the concept’s overall benefit.
There is a moment in here when they reference a Comanche story for children after Naru talks about her initial Predator encounter. It’s a nice and casual way to imply that the Predators have come before which other movies in the series have done as well.
Prey is a surprisingly good sequel in the Predator film series. It has fine action and good visuals. My issues aside I think you will not only watch this but watch it again. Go check it out! Now available on Hulu.