The Deadliest Prey (2013)
By: Devon B. on March 18, 2014 | Comments
Prior Brothers | All Regions, NTSC | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 81 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: David A. Prior
Starring: Ted Prior, David Campbell, Fritz Matthews, Tara Sanford Kleinpeter
Screenplay: David A. Prior
Country: USA
In 1987 David A. Prior and his brother Ted unleashed Deadly Prey upon the world, a brain busting cavalcade of homoerotic insanity. Nearly 30 years later the brothers reunited with stars David Campbell and Fritz Matthews and made a sequel, offering copies of the DVD signed by Ted to people who placed a pre-order. Sounded great, but the only trouble was some sort of technical glitch that meant shipping the DVD to Australia would cost nearly $40 US. While it was claimed the glitch was fixed, my shipping amount still remained at that unjustifiable figure, so I ordered the disc but had it sent to a relative in the States to forward on the next time I was being sent a care package. The DVD came out in November, but I had to wait until February to receive it. I eagerly opened the package to find my DVD had been signed by star Ted Prior…on the DVD case. Fantastic. Now I have a collectable that I can treasure forever provided I don't pack my DVDs too tight around it, or rub the case against anything else in my collection by, you know, taking it out to watch it. Oh well, I guess you can't love a creative team for their lunacy then get annoyed when they do something silly.

The signed DVD shenanigans were nearly forgotten in the first few seconds of The Deadliest Prey because the film opens by recreating the amazing beginning from the prequel. I was elated to see the cheesy salute had been redone, and couldn't wait to get stuck into the movie. Ted appears to have recovered from the events of the first film and is now a happy family man, but his idyllic lifestyle comes under threat when his old nemesis Hogan (Campbell) gets released from prison. Hogan immediately reconnects with his troops and once again abducts Ted for one of his unique training sessions, but this time he's got bigger plans in store. Unfortunately for the bad guys Ted still has some incredible battle skills, like the ability to make his opponents put down their guns so he can kill them without risking being shot, and he's hellbent on wiping everyone out if Hogan won't leave him alone.

When David started talking about a sequel to Deadly Prey I naturally got excited, yet despite my eagerness I didn't really think David would be able to recreate the special magic of the original. However, I'm delighted to say that the guys have done an amazing job on the sequel. It's not quite as mind blowing as the original, but that's probably just because Ted's older so he keeps his shirt on in The Deadliest Prey. This changes the overall aesthetic of the film because it might not quicken the pulse of gay men like the original did, but to make up for the toned down homoeroticism there's a remarkable moment where the film acknowledges the sexual tension between the protagonist and antagonist! I'm not sure whether that automatically makes the movie as homoerotic as the original, but it definitely makes the film unique within the action genre since it is honest about the repressed homosexuality. Take that, American Beauty!

Ted may be older here, but he's still got quite a bit of muscle mass, so it's not like he's a geriatric running around in the forest. This helps The Deadliest Prey immensely because it feels more like a reunion of people still in the game rather than a group of aging men trying to recapture former glories. Instead the film tries to recapture the zany feel of the original with all sorts of ridiculousness on display. The acting is of the stellar calibre one would expect from a movie like this, but to be fair most of the veterans' acting has improved with age. There are several nods to the first movie, to the point that sometimes the film is closer to a remake than a sequel, but these references are usually enjoyably cheesy and one of them is intentionally hilarious. The lack of resources leads to some funny moments like the least convincing movie rain ever, but the film is mostly competent, just made by some wacky guys who didn't have a lot of money to smooth over some rough edges in the production.

The dialogue's just as inane as in the last one, there are heaps of inconceivable elements, the twin brother trick is used to bring back someone whose character died in the prequel and most of the script would just be the words "Ted fights the bad guys" printed over and over. It's tough to follow up a classic so much later, but The Deadliest Prey is a worthy sequel that shits all over other people's belated attempts to revive previous successes. I'm looking at you, Indiana. Newcomers might be bewildered by this treasure trove of absurdity, but for established fans The Deadliest Prey's a welcome homecoming to something they love.
The Disc
I was worried when the DVD menu first loaded and it was a tacky widescreen image letterboxed in a 4:3 frame, but the main feature is well presented. The Deadliest Prey is not a high budget film, but the image is clean and boasts surprising clarity. It still looks like what it is, but it's a well-authored DVD release of a cheap movie. There is some edge enhancement and moving amongst the trees causes some artefacts, but otherwise this is a good transfer. The audio track has some heavy handed background noise, distortion and a few other set sound issues, but those would be issues with the source material not the DVD. Given that the company that created the DVD also made the movie I guess either way the Priors are to blame, but the problem here is the movie production Priors and not the DVD releasing Priors. The DVD releasing Priors are to blame for the total lack of chapter stops in the feature, though. There's only one special feature, but at 85 minutes it's longer than the movie itself. The extras start with a series of interviews with Ted, Campbell, Matthews and David and they're all worth watching. The bulk of the extras is behind the scenes footage, mingled with the occasional interview or outtake. I'm not a big fan of raw behind the scenes footage, but I did find it interesting that Ted helped a lot in the directing. The sound is slightly out of synch on the extra features, which is annoying, and again there are no chapter breaks.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Any movie that features someone getting beaten up with his own severed arm is going to amuse me, but The Deadliest Prey is much more than the sum of its severed parts. It's a shame that fans didn't get an ultimate edition of the prequel packaged with the new film, or a signature on the DVD slick (or even the disc itself if Ted couldn't be assed to fiddle with the cover), but the presentation of the main feature is a good one. The film is the triumphant reuniting of some truly unique talents, and the world of cinema is richer now that The Deadliest Prey has arrived.

The Deadliest Prey is available from http://deadliestprey.com, but shipping to Australia is still totalling $38.95 when I create an order.
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