Even before we sat down to watch this I could hear the tap tap tap of a zombified franchise banging its head against the window. What was this exactly — prequel, sequel, reboot..?
And during the first twenty minutes or so my misgivings were accumulating: I know how this extraterrestrial beastie looks and behaves, so spare me the piecemeal reveal lark. Why do the northern great plains indigenes emit at most a single phrase in Comanche before collapsing into modern highschooler English?* And are they really going with the whole high tech bully roughs up the Native Americans vibe?
And then a horde — an 'orde? — of expendable, unreconstructed Frogs arrives, and from that point onwards, things start to get rather good. It's as if the production, having accepted its limitations, suddenly and rather thrillingly escapes them.
Other iconic alien nasties have been subjected to 'updates' which haven't quite worked, or stuck (viz Daleks) but this one has been conducted with both smarts and sensitivity.
The movie sheds its early televisual quality to become one of the better Predator outings and one that works as a standalone, and almost certainly as a career stepping stone for Amber Midthunder.
And at the end I found myself doing something I would never have imagined myself doing during those early scenes — looking up books on the history of the Comanche Nation on Amazon.
* There is, apparently, a Comanche-only version, which I would rather have seen.