Dir: Dan Trachtenberg
Written By: Patrick Aison; Dan Trachtenberg
Starring: Amber Midthunder; Dakota Beavers; Dane DiLiegro
So we all know Dan directed 10 Cloverfield Lane, Black Mirror, The Boys, so he’s got a pretty dark side to him and seems to enjoy exploring that side of him in his movies.
This time Dan takes on the very popular and enduring Predator franchise. Yes, they are still as ugly as ever, and still love to hunt. This time though, Dan has stripped it all down to the bare bones. No machine guns, no bazookas, no big muscle guys. This time it takes place way back around 1719 in the Comanche Nation, which is upper frontier plains land, probably around North or South Dakota.
Let’s talk about Amber Midthunder for a second before I get lost in Predator land. This girl is flat out outstanding. I am so glad Dan cast Native American actors to play Comanches because it makes all the difference in the world. I don’t want to see a John Franco playing a Comanche in something like this, it would ruin everything. I truly believe in making a film as authentic as possible, and this all works extremely well.
Amber was a regular cast member on Legion, which Patrick Asion worked on as well, so I’m glad he reached out and got her involved. Amber is the star of this movie, the Arnold Schwarzenegger role, and she plays it brilliantly. No, she has no bazookas or massive machine guns, or big muscles, but it pretty much boils down to the same thing – what is it, and how do I kill it.
The story is well thought out, and the production is well done. Dan doesn’t rush through anything and he displays the majestic unspoiled landscapes around them to really enhance the beauty of the land and give you a sense that those tribes belonged to it and were one with it.
This is not a bang bang shoot’em up action packed Michael Mann film that has so many edits in it you get a headache for 3 days. This is approached as a dramatic film of a girl trying to save her family and her tribe. Her brother is the great hunter of the tribe – and they have a very close bond, and together they go through this thing. Using ingenuity, and their sharp hunting skills, they try and figure out how to kill this thing that has been invading and disrupting their land which they know and love inch by inch.
Amber carries this film on her back – not much dialogue, but not much is needed. It’s a chess match, as it should be, with an alien invader. Armed with not much than a hatchet and a bow and arrow, Amber takes on the big guy.
Some French fur trappers from Canada pop in on the third act to really mix things up – but the movie stays true to being smart and methodical. I would say this one of the better installments in the franchise. No ego, no macho stuff, no big guns, just wit and skill, much like the first one.
Now that Dan has tapped into Predator vs Native Americans – he can go anywhere he wants with this franchise. Predator vs Samurai, Predator vs King Arthur era, Predator vs Cowboys! With the success of this film, he opened Predator up to any time period on Earth, and to anywhere in the world.
It’s kind of a re-boot, and it’s a good one. See ya next Thursday!