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It’s been 35 years since Arnold ran “to the choppa!” in 1987’s “Predator”. Who knew that nearly four decades later, we’d finally get the prequel we all deserved, PREY.

After stumbling through one bad sequel after another, the story brilliantly takes us back 300 years to the Comanche nation, hunting to survive on the Great Plains of North America.

Naru (the excellent Amber Midthunder) resists her assigned role as a gatherer, thriving on the hunt and challenging her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers).

Written and directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) the film immerses us into the tribe’s everyday life and then cleverly drops in a Predator, his ship blazing behind the clouds as he cracks and snarls his way across the landscape cloaked in invisibility.

It’s clever to juxtapose the intergalactic space traveler against an early civilization. As unprepared as the 80’s special forces team was battling the Predator in the jungles of South America, the Comanche don’t have Arnold’s massive firepower.

How will a bow and arrow fare against the space creature’s weapons?

Luckily for us, the film is fast and furious, offering up 99 minutes that cost $65 million to produce. It’s lean, mean and beautifully shot.

Midthunder is one of the best female action heroes in recent memory. Her face off against the Predator and a huge bear is the most brutal animal face offs since Leo’s fight for survival in “The Revenant”.

Newcomer Sarah Schachner’s music score delivers.

There are solid moments of tribute to the original film that don’t pander to the audience, building to the point where Naru is yelling “Do it, do it now!”. It gets your blood flowing and doesn’t skip on the violence and gore.

There’s an online buzz about creating additional sequels with the Predator dropped into different times and cultures. If they’re done with the style and care of PREY, I’m all in.

PREY pounces to an A.

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