THE PREY – A Review by Cynthia Flores
The Prey is a film worth hunting down and enjoying with a bowl of chips-n-dip and an ice-cold beer. It has a well-known Cambodian, Thai, and Chinese cast that will have you locked into the story from the start.
The Prey is loosely based on the 1924 short story of survival and adventure “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell. In this film, the story is told through undercover Chinese cop Xin (Gu Shangwei). He is on a secret covert mission for the Chinese Interpol office when a surprise raid by local police puts him in a remote Cambodian jungle prison in the DNZ that plays by its own rules. It is run by a ruthless and sadistic Warden (Vithaya Pansringarm). He enjoys making prisoners behave and tells Xin that he will break him and turn him into the animal he really is. When he first starts “training” Xin, he does it to music and dances around enjoying it. The scene may have been a nod to the infamous Mr. Blonde cop torture bit in Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 classic Reservoir Dogs.
The Warden also sells prisoners as human prey for wealthy hunters looking for thrills in the jungle. After years of hunting down ruthless criminals, Xin suddenly finds himself running for his life. If Xin manages to survive this sadistic game, he’ll walk out of the jungle the same way he came in: as a free man. If Xin fails, he’s just another hunting trophy.
The Prey is not into the gore side of this kind of story like the film The Hunt, starring Hilary Swank and Betty Gilpin, that came out at the beginning of this year. Where that story went funny gore, this one actually deals with the study of human nature instead. It is an exploration of our primal instinct, which is survival. The Prey also has some unique action, and fighting scenes evenly sprinkled throughout the movie. And you have to keep an eye out for one of the best “Vaping” scenes ever towards the end.
I like that the filmmakers chose not to blow their budget on tons of flashy special effects. Instead, they used the jungle’s chaos and the great fighting scenes created by action designer Jean-Paul Ly to tell the story. He got his big break on the 2017 Cambodian blockbuster Jailbreak. That is the film where he first worked with The Preys‘ Associate Producer Loy Te, and its Director/Co-writer/Producer Jimmy Henderson. They are an impressive team that has brought us an enjoyable action film this summer.
I give The Prey a 4-star rating mostly for the knockdown drag-out fight scenes that I know you will rewind to see how they were done.
Directed by: Jimmy Henderson
Written by: Jimmy Henderson, Michael Hodgson, Kai Miller
Selig Rating: 4 Stars
Running Time: 93min
Foreign Language Action/Thriller
Language: Cambodian and Chinese (Mandarin) with English subtitles
Release: August 21st Virtual Theaters and August 25th VOD
Starring: Byron Bishop, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Nophand Boonyai, Vithaya Pansringarm, Gu Shangwei
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.