I haven’t seen any of the PREDATOR movies since the original, but when I found out they were setting a new movie among Comanches in the 1790s, I had to give it a try. I’m glad I did. From the beautiful scenery to the native culture and action, PREY delivers.
The setting is the Northern Great Plains. The year is 1719. In a Comanche village, Naru, a young woman, wants to be a hunter. She is a good tracker, but she hasn’t yet been tested in a hunt, and her tribe would rather she focus on the gathering part of hunting and gathering. During her roaming, she spies a strange fire in the sky. This, we know, is the arrival of the Predator, an alien hunter visiting to test itself in its own great hunt. A good tracker with excellent powers of observation, Naru figures out a strange creature threatens them, while the Predator works its way up the food chain to finally discover a cunning and worthy adversary. Soon, it will be hunter versus hunter, and only one will walk away alive.
The movie has heart. Naru is likeable, believable, and we see her fight to prove herself being far less about her masculine-dominated tribe and more about exceeding her limitations and realizing her potential. The glimpses of Comanche life are interesting and supposed to be pretty authentic, though one could argue about when they started riding horses, whether the French would have been that far south hunting buffalo instead of trading, and whether or not women rode into battle alongside men (some say they commonly did). The Comanche would one day become a powerful empire thanks to their alliance with the horse (brought to them primarily by the Spanish), but this is early in all that, being 1719, so I took the movie’s portrayal of Comanche culture and history at its word.
The settings are also impressive–the film was shot in my adopted home of Alberta–providing a terrific backdrop for all the hunting and action. The CGI is pretty well done, and the action sequences were exciting and really well handled.
Overall, PREY is at its core a pretty simplistic sci-fi action movie, but the presentation is terrific, and I found myself quite liking this one, enough to make me utter the rare statement: “I liked that new PREDATOR movie!”