Bad Movies Beware!
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: it’s Rambo with blond hair. There is a subtle difference, however, that sets Deadly Prey apart from Rambo.
Rambo was cool.
Let me back up. So we all know the story behind Rambo. Scarred Vietnam vet is arrested, escapes from prison, and has to use his survival skills to evade the psycho cops and kill them off. Deadly Prey follows the same basic formula, but with a different storyline to get him into the survival situation.
Cut to the opening sequence. A silhouette of the lead character walking on top of a bluff. He suddenly goes into a rigid He-Man action figure state, turns, and lofts his rifle in the air to signify the storm of testosterone to come.
Deadly Prey opens with an obese Hispanic guy running through the woods trying to evade a group of mercenaries who are actively hunting him. He manages to down one by cracking the guy over the head with a rock, but the rest of the squad guns him down after a few seconds of over-dramatic screaming and begging for his life.
The lead guy, Thornton, is dressed in all black and always wears shades. He gives the call to shoot the guy dead, then kills the man who got clocked for failing to kill the target.
Cut to camp, where we meet Col. Hogan and his girlfriend, Sybil. They’re briefing some new recruits. One of them is Jack Cooper, who isn’t relevant until later.
The acting. God, the acting.
We also meet Michaelson, the corporate CEO who is funding Hogan’s mercenaries as his own private army. He tells Hogan to step it up, and Hogan responds by sending Thornton out with some men to get a worthier target.
Cue Michael Danton, a retired Vietnam vet with a mean set of jorts (Jorts are jeans cut off into shorts, for those of you scratching your heads. Hey, it was the 80s!) and Markie Post’s haircut from when she was on Night Court.
We also get to meet Jaimy, Mike’s wife, who is also a bit whiney and somewhat immature. I had to wonder, at times, if she was half his age, resulting in a quick Google search.
Yeah, it’s that bad.
Mike goes to take out the trash, but the mercenaries nab him. They take him back to camp, strip him down to nothing but his jorts, and tell him to run. A few grunts and some body-scratching later, we’re following Danton through the woods as he hunts down the mercs one by one.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a LOT of action. The pacing is pretty good, but a lot happens even when there’s no action in the scene. I could go over every bit of it, but then this review would end up being a novella.
Keepin’ it brief, people.
Hogan figures out that Danton is actually the same Danton that he trained years ago and realizes what he’s up against. He forms a search party to go look for him.
Meanwhile Jaimy calls her father, who happens to be a retired cop, and tells him that Danton is kidnapped. Jaimy’s father deals with her little-girl act patiently, and instructs her to lay low and keep all the doors and windows locked while he goes after her husband.
Danton manages to get Hogan alone and interrogates him. Hogan tries to convince Danton to join him, but Danton isn’t having it and leaves Hogan alive. Now, granted, he should’ve killed Hogan and ended it right there. But, if he had, this movie would only be about thirty minutes long.
Yeah, he should’ve killed Hogan. Ugh.
The next day, Danton encounters Thornton. Thornton beats him to the ground, and Hogan orders Danton tied up and returned to camp. Out on the highway, Jaimy’s father encounters Michaelson and kills him. He then heads toward the camp.
Hogan interrogates Danton and tries to get him to join again, but Danton refuses. Hogan leaves him alone for a bit. Sybil comes in, and Danton breaks free and knocks her down. As it turns out, Jack Cooper cut his ropes. We found out in a previous scene that Danton saved Cooper’s life in Vietnam. Cooper decides to join Danton and take down the mercenaries.
Jaimy’s father gets into the camp, but Thornton finds him and takes him to Hogan. Hogan kills him off, then sends Thornton after Jaimy.
Oh f**k, my head is spinning.
Okay, guy movies are NOT supposed to be this f**king convoluted! I mean, really! I grew up on Rambo, Steven Segal flicks, Chuck Norris flicks, and NONE of them were this much of a hot mess of plot twists and turns. It’s like David A. Prior was trying to do a fun, popcorn-worthy Man-Cave movie, but add in this huge plot that makes NO sense half the time.
Danton and Cooper rescue Jaimy from Hogan, and an all-out battle ensues that’s, frankly, almost a reshoot of the initial fight in the woods from eons ago. Cooper is killed, and Danton is able to off Thornton after Thornton kills Jaimy. Hogan is all that’s left. Danton forces him to strip down and orders him to run.
Where is my alcohol?
VERDICT: EATEN BY A VICIOUS MULLET.
Oh God, this movie.
Not that I didn’t expect an INSANE amount of bravado from start to finish, but I, at least, expect a plotline and acting that is on par with The Expendables. Granted, I couldn’t quite make it through that one, but the acting, sound, and plot were still better than Deadly Prey.
Deadly Prey, in truth, was an un-releasable film that ended up on VHS anyway. In reality, NOTHING is un-releasable or off-limits when going straight to video. Most films are even able to bypass the ratings board when going straight to video. Nonetheless, it never did make a DVD re-release, so it’s not an easy film to come by at all.
The most glaring issue with this movie (besides the approval for a budget and the green light to actually start principal photography) is the horrendous acting on the part of, well, EVERYONE. The dialogue is cheap, contradictory to itself, and slipshod at its best moments. Throw in a bunch of people who can’t act and give them roles where real ability isn’t really even a necessity, and you have a movie that tries to rip off Rambo: First Blood in every possible way.
And they STILL f**k it up.
The sound is also atrocious. Each firing gun, exploding grenade, and knife being drawn and whipped around are stock sound bytes that have been recycled for years in just about any cheap guy-flick you can possibly imagine. Coupled with fight scenes that look like they were choreographed by that one fat kid you knew in middle school who smelled like cheese doodles and thought he was a martial arts expert, the whole audio/visual experience comes off just as laughable as watching Doofus McCheesy-Poof doing Ninja Turtle moves on the playground.
I typically try to find anything that these movies get right, but Deadly Prey comes up short because it doesn’t really even follow the formula that this genre of film tends to stick to. Add in the fact that some of the actors who are “killed off” early on in the movie are recycled as extras in later scenes, and the goof-factor hits the ceiling like a wet fart from a guy whose intestines are pressurized to 100psi.
I’m going to have to give this one the full 6 Piles of S**t. I can appreciate a “Man Film” just like the rest, but there’s a point where the absurdity just peaks out. If you’re going to rip something off, at least try to be on par with it instead of seeing how much you can bastardize the material.
And do something about that hair, man. I can’t take you seriously.