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  Deadly Prey Who Likes Short Shorts?
Year: 1987
Director: David A. Prior
Stars: Cameron Mitchell, Troy Donahue, Ted Prior, Fritz Matthews, David Campbell, Dawn Abraham, William Zipp, Suzanne Tara, Thomas Baldwin, Leo Weltman
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Colonel John Hogan (David Campbell) has a mercenary training camp at a secret Californian location in the woods, but this is one with a difference. When the men under his tutelage are on a training mission, they don't simply go through their paces with drills, they do so by hunting down live prey, who they execute once caught. However, because the unfortunates they pick on are people they have kidnapped off the street, their survival abilities are far from impressive, and Hogan is dissatisfied. In a way he's in luck, because the next man taken for the exercises is one Mike Danton (Ted Prior)...

Danton... Mike Danton? Not THE Mike Danton?! For it is he, and if you have never heard the name it will doubtlessly be thanks to you never having the pleasure of meeting this little exploitation flick, dubious as that is. This was one of the movies from the brothers Prior, with blond-highlighted, mulleted muscleman star Ted taking the lead and his sibling David A. Prior behind the camera. Though they were never what you would call high profile, they forged a very decent career out of basic blood and thunder action efforts, and Deadly Prey was one of those which caught the imagination of the hardy few who happened to rent it on video back in the eighties and early nineties.

Not that they were particularly impressed with the excitement and tension this worked up, as the main reason people appreciated this was down to the hilarity it resulted in. Yes, there were those who found the Priors' sincere endeavours here to be the height of ribtickling ludicrousness, starting from the fact that the oft-seen in Playgirl Ted spent most of the movie half naked. Not even half, more like three quarters naked, obviously to show off his rippling torso but also because they were taking their cue from Sylvester Stallone's Rambo and the manner in which Sly spent most of that movie with his shirt off.

So why not go one better and spend the whole of this movie with not only shirt but breeks and shoes off too? You got the impression if they could have gotten away with Ted running around starkers they would have, but sorry ladies (and selected gents), the best they could do in that department was to give him a pair of skimpy denim cut-offs to cover his modesty. Yet where does that leave us, aside from the umpteenth version of The Most Dangerous Game? Well, wouldn't you know it, but Hogan and the worm-eating Danton actually know each other, a fact revealed when the budding mercenaries are being brutally picked off one by one by the unexpectedly adept... deadly prey.

One look at the bodies lying on the ground has Hogan realising it's yer man Danton who they have to counter, because (gasp!) he trained him, so Danton knows everything the Colonel does. This means zero twists plotwise as the hero repeatedly kills off the bad guys, at times by blowing up their helicopter in a mahoosive explosion or the lower-key hiding in a lake until someone happens to walk by. But wait, what of the two men top billed? Cameron Mitchell had about five minutes as the Dantons' ex-cop father-in-law and Troy Donahue got even less as Hogan's superior, though they did share a scene where one of them murders the other in a fit of righteous pique. Meanwhile Mrs Danton (Suzanne Tara) gets kidnapped as a bargaining chip and he teams up with Cooper (William Zipp), an old pal who helps with the twig-based traps he sets up around the forest. This is all uncommonly absurd, but wasn't that most of the fun? Plus check out that heavily armed finale. Music, mainly power chords on electric guitar and synth, by three (!) composers.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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