The Prey (2018) **

September 28th, 2019
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Jimmy. Henderson; Cast: Gu Shangwei, Vithaya Pansringarm, Dy Sonita, Nophand Boonyai, Byron Bishop, Sahajak Boonthanakit; Cambodia 2018, 93 min.

Italian born director, co-writer and producer Jimmy Henderson (Jailbreak) may well lay claim to have delivered the first Cambodian action movie, but The Prey is a second rate blend of Irving Pichel’s The Most Dangerous Game, Predator and Hard Target. Henderson never avoids a cliché, if he can help it – making this debut at times rather tedious.

Chinese undercover cop Xin (Shangwei), is investigating a ‘phone scam involving Mainland Chinese customers in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. Captured by local police in a raid he is sent to a faraway prison with the Warden (Pansringarm) is less interested in rehabilitation, and more in hiring out his prisoners to be hunted down and killed Hunger Games style.

Released into the jungle Xin and the other victims are hunted down by Payak (Boonthanakit), Mat (Bishop) and Ti (Boonyai). Fortunately, and to keep the plot rolling, Xin is able to send off a signal to his superiors, who send in a rescue team which includes Li (Chinese supermodel Dy Sonata). There is a sub-plot with a rebel village controlled by the The Warden, but this narrative strain is quickly forgotten. Instead, booby traps; gruesome injuries; snapping twigs as well as unbelievable braveness and sadistic brutality takes over, to deliver a predictable outcome. 

The production values, including DoP Lucas Gath’s lively images and original angles, make this old-style slaughter feature slightly more bearable than the more recent, CGI controlled models. But that’s not saying not too much. AS



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