Prey Review – IGN

Prey will stream exclusively on Hulu on August 5, 2022.

After the lackluster reception of 2018’s The Predator, director Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane, Portal: No Escape) takes the franchise back to basics in Prey… everybody the way back to basics. Set more than 250 years before Dutch’s first encounter with that ugly son of ab!t¢#, Prey finds the Predator (Dane DiLiegro) landing in the middle of the Comanche Nation for a blood-soaked trophy hunt. It’s an intriguing setup, taking a villain whose initial appearance was defined by the ease with which he ripped through a group of meatheads armed to the teeth with guns and explosives and transposing him to a time when his targets don’t even have to. those tools to trust. But he would be wrong to underestimate the Comanche odds. Prey follows the tribe’s battle for survival through a breakneck, prisonerless journey across the Great Plains, while honoring the roots of the franchise and serving as the perfect entry point for newcomers who want to see what all this tears apart. , it’s about laser-guided goodness.

At the center of the Comanche’s conflict with the predator is Naru (Amber Midthunder), a teenager ridiculed by her family and peers for not being content to grow crops for the rest of her life. Like her father, her war chief, she is a fighter at heart and intends to complete the Comanche hunter’s rite of passage: hunt something that is hunting her. But not even Ella’s brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), who leads the Comanche hunters, believes that’s possible. Naru bites herself throughout the film, more so as those around her continue to look past her obvious ability, and it’s that frustration that fuels Amber Midthunder’s portrayal of the character. Naru’s struggle to be taken seriously by her tribe as a warrior is a solid line, and that’s a good thing, because hers is the only one the script takes significant time to focus on. Previous Predator movies have drawn a lot of material from the interplay between the characters taking on the alien hunter, and Prey’s choice to focus on Naru to the exclusion of everyone else means the supporting characters are a bit drawn.

As Naru’s story begins, Trachtenberg weaves in scenes of the Predator making its way up the food chain, which do double duty: demonstrating their strength and technological advantage, while building tension in the lead-up to their first face-off. he comes face to face with the fledgling Comanche warrior. It is also through these episodes that the film begins to draw distinctions between Naru’s and Predator’s hunting styles, with Predator’s over-reliance on his technology providing the first hints of how he might be defeated. By comparison, Trachtenberg takes pains to highlight Naru’s secret weapon: critical thinking. Whether in a fight with the boys from his tribe or as he hides from the Predator as he makes his way across the plains, Naru always listens and notices, always uses a loss or setback as a learning opportunity. . He is a crucial and well-communicated aspect of a character who, given the significant disadvantage he is at in single combat, emphasizes that Naru is the only person capable of stopping the Predator’s rampage. Prey places a lot of importance on Naru, with her at the center of almost every scene, and Midthunder more than keeps up with the fierce pace of the action, as she is constantly undermined and underplayed, making her victories that much more impressive. shocking. At once resourceful, determined, and capable, Midthunder’s Naru is an excellent addition to the canon of sci-fi heroes, and that Scorpion-esque throwing ax-on-a-rope will be the bane of convention security checkpoints. in the years to come.

There’s not an ounce of fat in Prey, with each piece building on what came before.

If you were worried that Prey being set 268 years before the original would mean more rudimentary equipment for the Predator, you’ll be pleased to know that Trachtenberg finds room for most of his signature weapons between the rib cages of those unlucky enough to get his hands on them. its way. And the Predator’s rampage through Comanche Nation seems unbelievable: The movie was shot in Alberta, and Trachtenberg uses that expansive terrain to make Naru and the Comanche feel even more insignificant next to the towering alien stalking them. The Predator isn’t the only foe Naru faces, with a second group of invaders colliding midway, ushering in a protracted and utterly vicious confrontation between the three groups.

Prey’s approach to Predator attacks alternates between fast-paced, tense encounters that Trachtenberg covers well (there’s an especially enjoyable one-take fight scene to watch out for) and long, drawn-out cat-and-mouse games, chess games in the trees where the Predator yells “checkmate” snapping people like twigs. Prey is judicious in how he applies these different approaches, and even as the plot seems to be on autopilot, the way Naru’s encounters with his enemies play out seems dangerous and unpredictable. Trachtenberg wisely allocates the Predator’s bloodiest and most brutal kills away from the Comanche and the other enemies in the story, who carry more “modern” weapons. Predator’s edge is significant, and with Prey serving as a rare, high-profile genre platform for the native culture, it may have been overkill to enjoy the deaths of comparatively ill-equipped Comanches. Though the Predator spares no one, Trachtenberg films his rampages with a judicious eye, making sure his deaths are a more dignified measure than the way the rest of the characters bite.

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