I have been out of commission for almost two weeks and I have found myself behind on several of the movie and television projects that are coming out in early August. Now that I am back, I decided to start off with one of my most anticipated films of the summer. I was always a big fan of Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and, my personal favorite, “Mr. I ain’t got time to bleed” Jesse Ventura, and so when I heard about a prequel to the film set 300 years ago, my curiosity was piqued.

To be fair, I am not sure that I would define the film as a prequel. It is set prior to the events of the original film but, with the exception of the Predator itself, there is little connective tissue. I would say that it was more like a film set in the same world/universe.

Young lady Naru (Amber Midthunder) wanted to be more than what she was expected to be. She wanted to be a hunter like her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers) and she was anxious to be able to prove herself. Naru was extremely intelligent and thought her way through each situation though most of the others in the Comanche tribe was unimpressed.

On the hunt for a killer lion, Naru realized that there was something else in the wilderness of the Northern Great Plains, something bigger, something unknown. She began tracking the new hunter and discovered some horrifying things along the way.

Amber Midthunder was an absolute rock star in this movie. She is a star in the making. You could put her on a list already of some of the best female action heroes of all-time and not be exaggerating. She was electrifying as Naru in just about every aspect of the film. She was great.

The story was simple. Hunter vs. hunter. The Predator kills things and Naru tries to survive. There were certainly underscoring of the themes including those of never giving up, don’t let others prevent you from accomplishing your dreams and intelligence can overcome strength.

I was glued to the film for the entire run time. It was well put together and beautifully shot, building some great tension and nervousness over the characters and their eventual fate.

Some of the special effects were definitely lacking at times. There were some sequences where the bear, or the fighting Predator look too video gamey, which was clearly an effect of the budget. However, it never became too distracting and there were several outstanding moments of action as well.

This was a serious movie. It did not have the over-the-top type characters of the original, which lent a fun aspect to that film, but it would not in in place here. As of right now, probably because of Jesse Ventura, I may place the original Predator at the top of the list, but this film is right on its heels and might supplant it eventually.

4.75 stars

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