Ha ha!

You just never know what he'll review next!

Sunday 9 October 2011

Burl reviews Deadly Prey! (1987)

Hi, Burl here with an action film review! Actually, this movie belongs to a subset of the action genre I call Ridiculous Action! There are quite a few other Ridiculous Action movies out there: gems like Gymkata, Raw Force, Fists of Blood, Young Warriors and Ninja III: The Domination, among many others! It’s a pretty dependable subgenre, always good for at least a hearty ha ha and usually for a Cameron Mitchell spotting in the bargain!

This one starts out with a muscleman called Mike, played by a shirtless, blond-locked bodybuilder named Ted Prior who wears the same tattered and increasingly filthy cutoff jean shorts for the whole movie! The picture was directed by David A. Prior, Ted’s brother, who must have been pretty pleased the day he awoke and realized he had a potential action hero in the family! Deadly Prey, as the title hints, is yet another slight variation on that old Most Dangerous Game chestnut of the hunted human turning the tables on his tormentors! It’s similar in many ways to another movie from the same period called Avenging Force, which deserves a look if you’ve never seen it and if you like your action movies to be cheap, cheerful and tremendously violent!

Mike gets kidnapped by a band of mercenaries who have a huge, illicit training camp just south of Los Angeles! You’d think the authorities would notice a mass of men and tanks and M*A*S*H tents and crates of New York Seltzer, or that someone would hear the regular bazooka salvos that erupt from the acres-large staging ground, or that somebody would miss the men whom the mercenaries kidnap to provide themselves with live targets; but nope!

In kidnapping Mike, of all people, the mercenaries have made a fatal blunder! Turns out he himself is a death-dealing supersoldier who was trained by none other than Colonel Hogan, the squarejaw who runs the operation! (That’s quite a little coincidence, I would say, but the movie never cops to it!) Moreover, Mike’s father-in-law is ex-cop Cameron Mitchell, who figures on helping out his daughter by tracking down the missing bodybuilder!

Mike uses his survival skills in the forest, where he is forced to chew worms and eat mice off a spit to nourish himself! Fueled by this provender, he kills a seemingly never-ending parade of mercenary soldiers and would-be mercenary soldiers; is ignominiously captured and savagely beaten; escapes with the help of a sympathetic turncoat mercenary; and finally faces down the most brutal of his adversaries in a fight that involves beating the bad guy to death with his own severed arm! I’d like to say that after all that it ends happily for Mike, his wife and his father-in-law, but I’d be lying!

Mike absorbs an absurd amount of punishment as the movie progresses, but deals out a goodly amount of bum kicking himself! This punching-bag excess is one of the hallmarks of Ridiculous Action, in fact, along with scenes of high hilarity such as the arm-beating and a generally low quality of acting! I have to say that Mike’s wife is played by an actress so deficient of thespian skill that she manages to call attention to her poor performance even in those moments she is meant simply to be sitting silently and looking scared! Now I don’t mean to pick on her, but that’s truly bad acting, ha ha!

But the movie is solid entertainment for all that! It moves along at a pretty good clip once Mike has been turned loose in the wild, and the bad guys suffer some marvelously bloody deaths! Mike’s standard weapon is a fake retractable knife, but he also employs all manner of booby traps and self-made spears and bombs! Sometimes he’ll just club a fellow to death with a giant tree branch! He’s a pretty deadly prey all right!

I give Deadly Prey two sharpened punji sticks, and advise you to watch it along with any other Ridiculous Action pictures you can get your hands on! Look for many more reviews of Ridiculous Action here in the future!


  1. You make up in some respects, if not altogether in his critical acumen, for the mischievous and acerbic style that sometimes haunted the late Roger Ebert's keyboard. Would that you reviewed every movie that touches on the sci-fi, thriller, crime, or horror genres.

    1. Those are very kind words, and I (belatedly) thank you! I am indeed trying to accomplish just the Herculean task you propose, ha ha!