This has been a very exciting weekend for fans of the ‘Predator’ franchise as Dan Trachtenberg’s hotly-anticipated prequel ‘Prey’ was finally released to Hulu, and it has received mostly-positive responses from critics and audience members alike. Sure, there are a few people out there who don’t seem to care for it, for a variety of reasons, but for the most part nearly everyone has agreed that it’s a much better film than 2018’s ‘The Predator’ and the two ‘Alien vs Predator’ movies from the early 2000’s. In fact, some are going as far to declare it the best entry in the series since the first film!
Indeed, ‘Prey’ is a very good movie and is one that takes the series back to basics: a tale of survival between the hunted and the hunter, and set deep within the wilderness. The 300-year-old descendant of the Yautja species is particularly badass and equipped with advanced yet primitive technology and weaponry, making this one much more brutal and savage with his methods. Amber Midthunder’s Naru has a solid character journey in this underdog story in which she’s driven by her need to prove herself, and her ego causes her to fail on many occasions. She’s forced to learn and adapt from each mistake and can only succeed when she understands what it means to be a hunter and what it takes to survive against a deadly opponent. The movie has spectacular action sequences, beautiful cinematography, and a fitting score. Yes, ‘Prey’ is a great entry in this series and is one impressive mother fucker.
As much as I do love the new movie, I just can’t bring myself to place it above ‘Predator 2’ on my personal ranking list. ‘Predator 2’ is, after all, is my personal favorite sequel and it’s safe to say that it will forever be cemented in that position.
Have I mentioned that I love ‘Predator 2’ yet?
But the love affair hasn’t always been there. Way back in the day I was this dumb-ass kid who loved the first film so much that I rejected the sequel. No Arnold? City instead of Jungle? What is this shit? – it wasn’t until years later when the film was finally released on DVD that a switch was flipped and my opinion had changed in just under two hours. I watched it with an open mind, willing to accept it for what it was, and in that viewing, for the first time in years, I had a total blast with it – and that increased with each time I watched it.
First and foremost, the score from Alan Silvestri is terrific. He takes his themes from the original film and intensifies them; when synced with the visuals and events that transpire throughout the story, the movie feels darker and more threatening. My favorite scene in the film happens just after Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) visits King Willie (Calvin Lockhart) in the alleyway; cloaked with invisibility, the Predator jumps down from a building. He lands in a puddle and marches towards King Willie, invisibility cloak glitching, and Silvestri’s theme making this moment feel big and epic.
I really like the cast and characters in this movie as well. They all have an edge to them enough so to make them feel like they belong to this city and environment. I absolutely love seeing Danny Glover play a complete and total badass, and I really dig his tough-as-nails character Mike Harrigan. Also good in this are: Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, and Bill Paxton as Harrigan’s team of allies. Gary Busey always makes a great on-screen antagonist and I dig the conflict between his Peter Keyes character and Glover’s Harrigan. Speaking of conflicts, Morton Downey Jr. brings a level of fun to the movie as the sleezeball reporter Tony Pope. And lastly, Kevin Peter Hall is once again incredibly badass as the Yautja warrior that he plays.
For me, I think the action sequences are well-choreographed and exciting. From the opening shoot-out, to the train sequence; to the slaughter house, roof top chase, and final fight between Harrigan and the Predator – and many more in-between – this movie has a lot of terrific action sequences that entertain every time.
I also think this movie also brings in a lot of significant elements that have helped define this series. This film double’s-down on the code of honor that the Yautja enacts. We see this when this film’s Predator scans Leona’s body in the subway, and we learn just afterward that he had spared her because she was pregnant, despite being as armed as everyone else on the train. It is again shown at the end of the film when a group of Yautja’s reveal themselves after Harrigan defeats this film’s Predator, and they gift him with a gun from a time long ago before taking off into deep space. Another way this movie opens up the series mythology is with the interiors of the ship itself; not only just providing easter-eggs to the ‘Alien’ franchise, but by showing that they hunt a variety of beings on many planets.
The most important thing is that it’s a sequel that stands on its own rather than being a rehash of what came before. The city setting, the characters, the direction and the story feels unique within the franchise even to this day. I appreciate sequels that can expand upon what was established prior and maintain its own identity in the process, and this one accomplishes that gracefully.
In my own personal opinion ‘Predator 2’ is much better than its reputation, and for me, it still remains the best ‘Predator’ sequel.
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