Awfully Good: Deadly Prey

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Deadly Prey (1987)

Director: David A. Prior
Stars: Ted Prior, David Campbell, Cameron Mitchell

A group of human-hunting mercenaries picked the wrong man to mess with.

DEADLY PREY might be the best action movie ever made. Sure, it’s just a Rambo retread and yet another adaptation of Richard Connell’s “Most Dangerous Game.” But what this film lacks in originality it makes up for in mulleted, bare-chested men in cutoff denim shorts kicking ass and taking names. AMERICA!

“The are dozens of us! DOZENS!”

But seriously—jorts! Glorious jorts! The most memorable thing about this movie isn’t the ridiculous violence or the dreadful dialogue; it’s hero Mike Danton’s fashion sense. What possessed filmmaker David Prior to put his star (and brother) Ted Prior in daisy dukes for the entire movie is beyond normal human comprehension. All I know is that you get to watch a grown man run around the California wilderness in teeny, tiny denim cutoffs pretending to be a never-nude action star. That should be enough. Go watch this movie now.

Danton leveled the playing field when he brought out his Hadoken.

Still want to know more? Fine. One day, Michael “Mike” Danton wakes up in his bed (already wearing his jean shorts, of course.) He goes downstairs, where his wife asks him to take out the trash. He takes the bin out to the sidewalk—and a van full of random guys kidnaps him for no reason. These men work for Colonel Hogan, a former military leader who now rents out his team of ruthless mercenaries to the highest bidder. Hogan keeps his men sharp by letting them abduct and hunt unsuspecting human targets in the desolate jungles of… southern California.

But this time, the mercs have made a huge mistake. You see, Danton is a former Vietnam vet trained to kill by Colonel Hogan himself. As soon as they release him, he quickly fashions a stylish vest out of leaves and begins to off his hunters one by one. Danton legitimately spends the next hour of the movie popping out of random places in the woods and committing murder. The bushes, the water, a pile of leaves—no place is too stupid or obvious for him to hide.

“LEAVE me alone!”

Michael Danton is one of the greatest action badasses of all time. I think you’ll agree with me after you see him stab a guy with a small twig or put a live grenade down some poor dude’s pants. Hell, he even creates a mountain avalanche with his bare hands! (An avalanche of clearly Styrofoam rocks that were already in a pile at the top of a hill for some reason. But still…) And when he gets hurt, no doubt from dodging explosion after explosion, he magically heals himself with random rocks and dirt. And when he gets hungry, he dramatically eats an earthworm and a rat, even though he’s only been outside for a few hours.


Eventually Colonel Hogan notices his men are turning up all kinds of dead. He goes out in to the woods, sees a bunch of corpses, says “I know this style,” and immediately recognizes the handiwork of DANTON. (He doesn’t even take a moment to internalize the sheer coincidence that his men randomly picked up the one soldier he trained to kill.) Hogan sends in his best mercs—using a car full of grenades, a tank and a helicopter—all to kill one man. Of course, Danton evades them at every turn. So the crazed commander does the next logical thing—he gives up chasing Danton and kidnaps and rapes his wife instead. (That’ll teach him to not die when someone tries to hunt him!) This horrifying act should provide a serious moment of pathos in a ridiculous film, but the actress playing the wife is so bad at conveying emotion that she says the now-classic line, “He raped me, Daddy!” on the verge of laughter.


Around this time, Danton decides he’s had enough of being hunted and, I guess, just leaves and walks the hundred miles back to his house. When he discovers Mrs. Danton has been kidnapped, he gets really angry and returns to Hogan’s lair with booby traps and revenge. I don’t want to give away DEADLY PREY’s memorable ending, but let’s just say it may or may not involve a man getting beaten to death with his own arm.

Danton always comes armed and ready.

Like I said, just go watch this movie.

What do you get when you mix a terrible script with even worse acting? This.

Some of my favorite action moments, from crotch grenades to one-armed beatings.

Did I mention he wears jean shorts?

Ready to die laughing? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • They use the same shot or extra more than once
  • Someone says “Mike Danton” or yells “DANTON!”
  • Danton pops out of nowhere to kill someone
  • The hero hits a woman
  • The movie grinds to a halt with the father-in-law subplot

Double shot if:

  • Danton gets knocked to the ground by an explosion

Thanks to Jacob, Jordan and Matt for suggesting this week’s movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.


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