Jimmy Henderson, director of Jailbreak, comes back with another tale of incarcerated madness in The Prey. Taking place in a Cambodian prison and the surrounding jungle, The Prey quickly moves away from a narrative about prison to one about men being hunted by other men for sport. Calling to mind Hostel, Westworld, and The Most Dangerous Game (the latter of which this film is loosely based on), Henderson’s film takes some elements of these films and makes his own tale of the innate evil of man.
Chinese police detective Xin (Gu Shangwei) is deep undercover in Cambodia when he gets arrested and sent to a prison in the middle of nowhere. Xin gets in trouble right at the outset of his prison stay and has the lovely opportunity of meeting the downright sadistic Warden (Vithaya Pansringarm), who electrocutes Xin and tells him that he will break him down into an animal before his prison stay is over. It’s easy to believe from here that the film would be about torture inside of prison, but it’s about something much worse. The Warden has been accepting money from wealthy men who want to hunt others for some time.
“His routine is to bring the would-be-hunters to the prison and have them… choose their victims…”
His routine is to bring the would-be-hunters to the prison and have them watch a provoked prison riot and choose their victims from the ensuing brawl. In this particular edition of hunt-a-man, Xin gets picked by one of the hunters, along with many others. All of the prisoners are blindfolded and taken to an open field in front of a vast jungle. The hunters are accompanied to the hunting ground by The Warden and his men. The hunters in this expedition are Mat(Byron Bishop), who has been on a hunt at the prison before, his friend Payuk (Sahajak Boonthanakit), and his wild-card nephew Ti (Nophand Boonyai). Several men are killed right away except for three, which include Xin.
From there on out, The Prey goes into tried-and-true action/ martial arts territory. There’s a lot of shooting, running, hiding, and hand-to-hand combat. The pace of the film doesn’t let up, and not a moment passes without something happening. The martial arts in the movie are awesome, and there are a few gory aftermaths of shootings that look great. However, since the budget on this is very low, there’s not the same amount of carnage that one might expect from a Hollywood blockbuster action film. The Prey is able to convince us of the horror of the acts of these killers without spraying the screen with blood the whole movie.
I would say that The Prey falls into the decent action movie category. It’s not breaking any new ground, but it is having fun with the ground it’s playing on. There are definitely better action movies, but I have certainly also seen worse, so keep that in mind before watching. If you’re looking for something novel and groundbreaking, this isn’t the film to watch, but if you’re looking for a good shoot-em-up, a**kicker, you could do far worse than watching The Prey.
"…the martial arts in the movie are awesome..."