Written by: Patrick Aison
Starring: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Michelle Thrush, Stormee Kipp
Not every franchise needs to continue to create new sequels. Sometimes you can just stop after one good film and call it a day. However, we’re in the business of making money in this industry and if an original film worked, then more attempts will surely become profitable or at least full of quality. The Predator films have been beguiled with such a mixture of results in both areas, but repeating the original formula in a different setting allows for something refreshing in a sense while also laying out the blueprint of something that will work moving forward.
In the Great Plains, a young Comanche woman, Naru (Amber Midthunder) wants to prove herself as a hunter as compared to her brother. When one opportunity slips by her to do it, she notices the traces of a particular predator out in the wild that is nothing like she has seen before, and she becomes determined to find it and kill it.
With the original Predator having incredible success and a lackluster set of follow-ups, this franchise felt like a dead property that just needed to stop. It had nowhere to go and no fresh ideas to present. Then came the brilliant idea brought upon in this film. The alien featured in these films is known as the deadliest hunter in the universe trying to test itself against the best Earth has to offer. This simple idea means this alien can land at any time in human history to hone its skills. In this feature, it happens to be against the Comanches but in the future, they can go against samurai in Feudal Japan or a Scandanavian Viking. The possibilities are endless and this film is a fantastic example of how it can go so well.
Taking place in this specific period means there is a limitation of the weaponry involved and this feature definitely adapts to it in order to make it quite the fight between Naru and the predator as it arrives on Earth. The film adequately sets the stage for what we’re about the witness and brings it all together in such a satisfying manner. We not only get the growth of Naru as a hunter as she prepares herself to take on this alien but also an opportunity for her to prove herself as a hunter in a world where she derives her value from it. The adoration she seeks comes from this very standard and nothing can be better than delivering the head of something as deadly as this predator alien.
This demonstrates how this film is such a success and the action certainly comes to play as one would expect from a successful predator film. The weaponry falls more in hatchets and arrows as the force of weaponry and this film brings plenty of ingenuity in how it stacks up these individuals in battle. From how easily the predator dispatches with some to the ones he has trouble finishing off. The film contains several moments that will cause anxiety and thrills in the process of showing the battle between Naru and the predator. It just all works so well as the feature delivers on its promises.
Another benefit of taking the predator alien on tour are the natural elements involved with each place and in the Great Plains during the 1700s, there is a bevy of different dangers existent that play an integral part in the narrative. Whether it be a bear that can charge at you and cause significant damage, to natural traps that exist and can throw a wrench in the plans of any hunter. It certainly can create a disadvantage for the predator as the individuals they are trying to hunt have much more familiarity with the surroundings.
Lean and mean, this feature provides everything it wishes and more. It brings Dan Trachtenberg back to the world of filmmaking in a big way. This film sets a wonderful blueprint that can be used in the creation of new predator films, especially when you add elements like Naru trying to prove herself as a hunter and what can be done in other periods of history. A tremendously enjoyable affair and a great performance by Amber Midthunder on top of it all to make us care for the character involved as well.