Well, that shows what I know. Back when I wrote my review of Kenji Doughty’s Untitled Predator Fan Film I said I didn’t know how prevalent the idea of taking the hunting aliens to different eras is in the fandom. With writer/director James Bushe’s Predator: Dark Ages I can safely consider my quandary answered, and answered in considerable style. Indeed Predator: Dark Ages outperforms pretty much every Predator/Alien Vs. Predator iteration that’s ever been released, even giving the revisionist-lauded Predator 2 something to fret about.
Telling the tale of Templar Knights called in to battle a “demon”, Bushe takes what would’ve been an already very interesting premise and then wisely takes a leaf out of Prince of Thieves’ book and adds an at-odds Saracen to the mix to ratchet up the interpersonal tension. That was a gamble on Bushe’s part mind you. It could have ended up being far too reminiscent of the Costner film. The crux of that gamble are the actors playing the lead knight Thomas, portrayed by Adrian Bouchet, and Sied, played by Amed Hashimi, and because of them the gamble pays off. Both are superb, playing men aggrieved from different sides of a bloody conflict, but both playing them very differently. It’s a wonderfully fractious combination of the dogmatic Templar versus the pragmatic Saracen, and it’s here that the film shines.
The Predator is very well realised, with the effects up to snuff with the Arnie classic. He’s used sparingly in the woods and it builds some fantastic tension; the medieval setting also means we’re not sat there thinking “a Predator story in the woods, again?!”. The inevitable knight on alien showdown is gripping to behold, and you can’t get much cooler than a fully clad knight swinging a sword at a Predator. This may be the Dark Ages but I have seen the light.
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