Today’s action movies are full of CGI, unnecessary high moral concepts and diversity quotas. It’s not like the good old days when they were created as vehicles to showcase the skills and charisma of the likes of Arnie, Sly, Jackie Chan or Jean-Claude Van Damme. Jimmy Henderson has an appreciation for old school action films which he demonstrated in 2017’s Jailbreak. His new film, The Prey, escapes the prison and goes out into the jungle.
Xin (Gu Shangwei), a Chinese cop, has gone undercover in order to infiltrate a gang of cyber thieves in Cambodia. When the group are targeted by local police he ends up in prison. However, this is no ordinary jail but instead one near the border run by an evil warden (Vithaya Pansringarm). In order to make some money, and for sport, he organises hunts for the rich. Their quarry is his inmates.
As you’d probably expect, there’s not much nuance in The Prey. From the off it’s one big continues cat and mouse game. Gu Shangwei impresses in his film debut, both with his fighting skills and in his ability to carry the film. He’s helped by some great performances from the supporting cast, particularly Nophand Boonyai who steals the show as one of the hunters. The Prey is as much fun as you’d expect. Every inch an entertaining throwback to a time when realism and plot played second fiddle to pure carnage.
The Prey screened at Fantasia Festival 2019.