The Deadliest Prey

2013 | Color | 80 min.

Starring: Ted Prior, David Campbell, Tara Kleinpeter, Fritz Matthews, Art James, Zack Carlson, Dimitri Simakis, Suki-Rose Etter, Will Haagersen, Cat Tomeny, and Michael Charles Prior

Directed By: David A. Prior

I’ve never been great at making deadlines. As any long-time visitor to this website (you guys do exist, right?) can attest, I’m not all that great at maintaining a regular update schedule, either. There are times where I’ll push out three reviews in a week, followed by a year of dead air. Because of this, I’ve rarely accepted screeners from filmmakers, as doing so adds a level of self-imposed pressure to this silly little hobby of mine that I don’t enjoy. If I don’t get a screener review out in a timely manner, I feel like I’ve pulled a fast one on the filmmakers–receiving a copy of their film for free, while not providing them any of the publicity they were looking for.

“Sir, it’s been seven years. I don’t think he’s gonna post anything.”

With that in mind, I think I owe the late David A. Prior an apology for taking over seven years to finally get around to reviewing the sequel to his amazing ’80s action flick, Deadly Prey (reviewed lovingly here). I was sent a DVD screener copy of The Deadliest Prey way back in 2013. I suppose you could say life got in the way a bit in the intervening seven years. I moved from Cincinnati to Chicago and back again, changed jobs three times, started and ended a long-term relationship, and posted many other reviews over those seven years–all the while, my copy of The Deadliest Prey sat on my shelf, diligently collecting dust and quietly mocking me. Well, after seven years of procrastination, its time has finally come.

Pictured here: Our star Ted Prior patiently waiting for this damn review.

Picking up our story twenty-five years after the events of Deadly Prey, The Deadliest Prey begins with Col. Hogan, the former leader of an illegal paramilitary group and mastermind of the sadistic wargames of the original film, being released from prison. For almost three decades he has been surreptitiously rebuilding his militia from behind bars and meticulously planning his revenge on the man who ruined his maniacal plans and put him in prison–the seemingly unkillable hunk of murder meat by the name of Mike Danton.

Mike Danton: AARP Edition

After stewing in his cell for twenty-five years, Hogan has become obsessed with not only killing Danton, but humiliating him and destroying his legendary reputation as an unstoppable killing machine. To ensure the destruction of Danton’s public image, he is going to let the whole world witness his slow demise by live-streaming the bloody affair across the internet for all to see. Does Mike Danton still have what it takes to survive another gauntlet of bullets, bayonets, and bombs after two-and-a-half decades of domestication? I think you already know the answer to that question.

Col. Hogan demonstrates how to impress the ladies with the proper application of the Vulcan Nerve Pinch.

The original Deadly Prey is one of my favorite b-movies ever. So much so, that I even have a framed Deadly Prey promotional poster hanging on my living room wall (Why yes, I am single…). It is the very pinnacle of the over-the-top action flick of its era–a perfect distillation of every ’80s action movie trope, packed into eighty-eight minutes of pure, mindless, cliché-filled entertainment. My fondness for the original film may be one of the main reasons I put off reviewing The Deadliest Prey for so long. I knew there was almost no way it could live up to the original. It was a nigh-impossible task for the filmmakers to recapture that old lightning in a new bottle, and I’m sorry to say, they didn’t even come close.

Those bastards killed Ice-T!

The lead actor, Ted Prior, is, quite understandably, not the same chiseled mountain of a man he was in 1988, although he is still in better shape here than I–thirty years his junior–am now, or will likely ever be. His new, less imposing figure does somewhat undercut his believability as an unstoppable murder machine. A much bigger problem this time around is that Danton’s relentless killing spree is decidedly less creative and varied. Save for one grenade-induced kill, the mayhem on display is mostly repetitive and boring. I think Danton kills 90% of the baddies this time around by simply stabbing them. He sneaks up, stabs a dude, and moves on to the next hapless victim. Occasionally he’ll grab the dead man’s gun and mow down a few enemies before inexplicably discarding the weapon and resuming his cycle of stab-rinse-repeat. There are a few throwbacks to the original film, like the aforementioned hand grenade kill and a helicopter explosion, but it all just feels like we’re just going through the motions.

I hope this poor guy’s life insurance policy covers “Stabby Death by Enraged, Middle-aged Death Machine.”

Lackluster action aside, the most glaring issue I have with the film, and one that nearly makes it unwatchable for me, is the addition of the three cringe-inducing and terminally annoying comic relief “hacker” characters. Forgiving the usual problem of screenwriters having absolutely no clue what hacking is or how it works, David Prior’s “cool, computer kid” lingo is either painfully unnatural and stilted (“I’ll send you the URL…”) or a good fifteen years out of date (“True dat.” Just….no.). This makes every scene featuring our “hacker” crew, a definite fast-forward situation. Well, every scene except the last one where Col. Hogan became the hero of the film in my eyes, when he finally unloads his machine gun into all three of them. I don’t know if this was done with the intention of eliciting this particular reaction or not, but I nearly got out of my seat and applauded.

I wasn’t born with enough middle fingers for this group.

There are a few bright spots to be found—most notably David Campbell and Tara Kleinpeter’s enjoyably-unhinged performances, and a hilarious call-back to Danton’s miniscule jean shorts from the original—but ultimately this outing fails to live up to the glorious absurdity of its predecessor in any way. Watching The Deadliest Prey almost feels like watching your favorite band get back together for a reunion tour, many years after their prime. Yeah, they have the same name on the marquee, but they’re 25 years older, 25 pounds heavier, grey and thinning on top, and the only member left from the original lineup is the damn bass player. While it was certainly nice to see the band back together again, I would recommend you revisit the classics instead, because the new stuff just doesn’t hold up, man.


Reviewed by Derek “Unkillable Hunk of Murder Meat” Miller
Posted on December 4, 2020

But also the end. The end of the second film. So the second end…thus the third beginning…Look, it’s complicated.


Video Clip – Not Again…

Mike Danton beats a man to death with his own severed arm…AGAIN!

Additional Screenshots (Click an image to view full-size)


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