Get a slab of cheese and pop David A. Prior’s classic in the VHS…

Deadly Prey (1987)



A man is kidnapped by members of a private army to be hunted down and killed as part of their training. Unbeknownst to them he is an elite ex-marine who was trained by their leader Colonel John Hogan.

1986’s Deadly Prey directed by David A. Prior may have been made for adults but is more fun for teenagers who shouldn’t be watching. It’s reminiscent of many macho one-man-army, 80s Italian action B-films, borrowing heavily from Rambo First Blood and Commando. But it’s set in its own amusing world, in a jungle just South of LA.

Ted Prior is superb as Mike Danton, part Dolph Lundgren, part Christian Bale – all rock band mullet, he is perfectly cast as the military one-man killing machine. Danton takes on a tank, Danton beats a man using a severed arm, Danton builds deadly traps, camouflage Danton pops out of the ground, Danton wields a knives and a machete, Danton fires guns… Lots of guns, Danton eats worms and rats. You get the idea. All the action is accompanied by a beating surprisingly likable score.

Curiously veteran actors Troy Donahue and Cameron Mitchell cameo. Dawn Abraham as Sybil encapsulates that 1980s femme fatale permed hair appeal. Sadly, delightful Suzanne Tara’s Jaimy Danton is Lt. Thornton’s (Fritz Matthews, also stunt co-ordinator sporting sunglasses) and Hogan’s (David Campbell) fodder.

The amazing thing about Deadly Prey is that it takes itself totally seriously, containing themes war, mercenaries, rape, Vietnam, survival to name a few. Ho
wever, there’s no getting away from the straight to video limitations which comes with the sound, special effects, acting, editing and all the script trappings you’d expect.

All it faults side, it is possibly the greatest piece of ridiculous entertaining fluff ever made and is truly one of those guilty pleasures. It really is so bad it’s good. Prior’s screenplay and Richard Connell’s story is actually quite good and like his Lost Platoon concept has inspired other film makers. What’s notable and arguably a narrative accident is its nihilistic tone, the end is bravely down beat cancelling out its own hammy existence.

Deadly Prey really is the epitome of an ’80s action flick I remember. The VHS should be placed in a museum for historic and cultural interest. It’s a must see, possibly the worst, yet, best crossbreed action film ever made.


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