Street Date 10/3/23;
20th Century;
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence.
Stars Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, Stefany Mathias, Bennett Taylor, Mike Paterson, Nelson Leis.

Director Dan Trachtenberg’s “Predator” prequel brings the franchise formula back to basics, with the alien hunter this time terrorizing the North American plains of the early 18th century.

A “Predator” adventure by way of Apocalypto and The Revenant, the story focuses on a Comanche girl named Naru (Amber Midthunder) who is eager to prove herself as a warrior and hunter. She joins other members of her tribe in a hunting party that finds traces of the alien’s activity, but they initially think it’s just a mountain lion or bear.  

To be sure, the hunting party does encounter those animals, as does the Predator, who finds the unvarnished wilderness to be a target-rich environment for honing his hunting skills.

The film does a clever job turning back the technology of the Yautja (the name of the predator species) several hundred years. The aliens still have the ability to cloak and see infrared with laser-guided tracking, but they have projectile weapons instead of plasma canons and nukes.

There are subtle references to the previous “Predator” films, but tonally it’s most similar to the 1987 original, which should please the franchise’s most ardent fans.

The 1719 Great Plains setting also allows for some gorgeous wilderness photography, which contrasts well with the numerous visual effects surrounding the alien creature.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The disc editions of Prey, arriving more than a year after the film’s release on Hulu, boast a nice array of bonus materials, led by a solid commentary from Trachtenberg and Midthunder, joined by cinematographer Jeff Cutter and editor Angela M. Catanzaro.

A 12-minute making-of featurette delves into the general details of the production, while a 29-minute panel Q&A with the cast and filmmakers offers a number of great insights (some of which are also touched upon in the commentary).

Rounding out the extras are an alternate opening scene, a deleted scene and conceptual VFX for an unused action sequence, which in total run just under five minutes.

For an air of authenticity, the discs also include a Comanche-language track. However, the Comanche track is simply a voicever dub of the dialogue (from the original actors), so the characters’ lips still move from speaking English, so watching the film in Comanche with English subtitles isn’t as seamless an experience as one would hope.

Originally published as a streaming review Sept. 5, 2022.

Family Film ‘Centurian: The Dancing Stallion’ Due Digitally April 25

Lionsgate will release the family film Centurian: The Dancing Stallion via digital sellthrough and on demand April 25.

Based on a true story, the film is about a young woman’s bond with her horse and the incredible power of the human spirit. Amber Midthunder (Prey, “Roswell, New Mexico,” “Legion”) and Billy Zane (Titanic) star in the tale of overcoming adversity and finding strength from unexpected places. The journey begins as Ellissia (Midthunder) adopts a white stallion to train in the art of Mexican horse dancing. As she starts teaching the handsome but previously abused Centurion, Ellissia falls critically ill, which keeps her from competing in a celebrated equestrian event. Under the watchful eyes of her father (Zane), new ranch hand Danny (Aramis Knight, “Into the Badlands”) steps in as trainer, hoping to win the competition — and, perhaps, Ellissia’s heart.

The film also stars Michael Cimino (“Love, Victor”), Patricia DeLeon (Station 19) and Sal Lopez (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!