The ‘woke’ Predator is back and ready to be emasculated in Prey, Hulu’s latest covert assault on manhood.
Prey follows the universe’s greatest hunter, who after landing on Earth and killing dozens of stupid men, is 360 no-scoped and laid to waste by who else: a woman.
The setting is 1719 Northern Great Plains, an admittedly beautiful untamed wilderness. Core to our story is a Comanche tribe of Native Americans who speak perfect English. We meet Naru, an equal-parts entitled and empowered female who does whatever she wants, and a few bonehead tribesmen who are just there for gratuitous man-killings.
Analyzing The ‘Woke” Predator
Prey has its moments, but it’s largely what you’d expect from woke cinema – dumb men, dumber white men, and sassy women with impenetrable plot armor.
Amid the 100-minute affair, we’re treated to Naru being useless:
- She sleeps in while everyone else is working
- She can’t kill a hawk. Her brother does it for her
- She can’t kill a deer
- She falls out of a tree, knocking herself out. Her brother saves her
- She bitches her brother out for saving her
- She ignores her tribe duties to pursue hunting an unknown creature
- She nearly drowns in a mud pit
- While on her quest, she attacks the tribesmen wasting time to find her
- She’s nearly killed by a bear, but Predator makes the save
After all this, we’re then force-fed the darkest timeline where Naru somehow outsmarts seasoned trappers with guns, wins a 4-on-1 intergender championship match, and solo-kills a literal goddamned alien trophy hunter.
Get the fuck out of here.
Feminist Fantasy Land
I’m all for violent schlock, but not when it takes the piss to such an absurd degree. She can delete bloodthirsty beings capable of interstellar flight, but falls short on bringing Bambi home for dinner.
It was hard enough to believe that Arnold Schwarzenegger, star of the original Predator, took down the alien threat between endlessly quotable one-liners. At least in the ‘87 film, Arnie and his band of roid-fueled sexual tyrannosaurs were armed to the teeth with heavy ballistics and machismo. It wasn’t supposed to be believable. It was ‘80s action for God’s sake, and audiences didn’t need (or want) social validation.
But here we sit, 35 years later, and Pocahontas brings mega-E.T.’s severed head home for the tribe to admire. So brave. So mighty. Wow.
Prey is actually a decently shot film, pandering aside. It’s got a big-budget feel despite a straight-to-streaming release. It’s just a shame that men are, once again, just used as disposables to advance a stupid femme-narrative.
Countering the Counterpoint
“But wait, F.R.! Women were used as plot devices and enhancements back in the ‘80s, so what’s the issue with men being used similarly now?”
I’ll defer this one to Bill Burr:
There are some amazing stories to be told about powerful men, and likewise for women. The dividing line begins and ends with weaponizing gender for sake of storytelling. Feminist cinema uses this to great success – men are idiots and women save the day after being underestimated. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Older films didn’t so much represent women as “entirely less than” as they did “along for the ride as part of the story.” Sure, there were damsels in distress. But we also weren’t provided a platoon of weak, helpless, and traumatically worthless XXers fucking up as our male hero winks to the camera, reminding the audience of their intrinsic incompetence.
Beta Male Narrative
Men, this is often how we’re portrayed. It’s become so normalized that you may not even notice.
Think of how few modern stories feature unapologetically masculine leads – sans effeminate qualities or opposite an equally (or more) powerful woman. No, seriously, I’ll wait.
You wouldn’t dare release emo-Batman without ramming Catwoman down our throats too. What would Yellowstone be without Beth Dutton shoehorned in as the resident male ass-pegger? When’s the last time you legitimately felt empowered as a man watching a movie? Even if you answer “recently,” the moments are likely few and far between.
There aren’t many stories these days where a man can just, you know, be a man. I suppose it’s for the best though. After all, how long can we really survive without a woman saving us from stupidity?
My brain’s simply too small to give it a second thought.