Whenever I see a musclebound man running around the jungle in jean shorts, my mind immediately starts to imagine what kind of tomfoolery his slumbering cock must be getting up to in there. Tucked away in an impregnable denim prison, what is it doing, what is it thinking? I know, I know, what in the name of lint-flavoured kielbasa am I blathering about? I mean, tomfoolery? Tucked away? Denim prison? Cock? Rest assured, I am not deranged. What I'm trying to do is make an elaborate point. Besides, can't a man think about another man's compressed junk for five, maybe ten seconds, without being peppered with prying questions and accusatory glances? Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, even though they're probably as sweaty and damp as a trailer park dishrag in the middle of monsoon season, the ripped protagonist in Deadly Prey, a movie where the sight of one man beating another man to death with his own severed arm is commonplace, at least has the piece of mind to know that his securely packed genitals won't be popping out while he's knifing yet another clueless mercenary in the chest. If you're about to ask yourself: "Why do you always seem to focus on the inner workings of the crotches of others"? Let me cut you off by saying: I dare anyone to watch this film and not constantly think about the stuffed adventures of his heterosexual dick.
He basically wears cutoff jean shorts for the entire movie! You tell me, what am I supposed to think about? And don't say his taint, as I lost my taste for taint years ago. You should have seen me back in my shemale hustling days, I was a scrotal-licking maniac with high self-esteem.
Mock his lack of clothing, if you must, but Michael "Mike" Danton (Ted Prior) knows a thing or two about stabbing mercenaries. The reason they're being stabbed has nothing to do with his dislike for men who wear green, it's because they want to kill him. When Col. John Hogan (David Campbell) told his subordinates to abduct another sap off the street–you know, so his gang of ragtag mercenaries could practice hunting human prey in a jungle-like setting just south-east of Los Angeles–the last person he expected them to grab was a highly trained killing machine, especially one that he had a hand in training.
Nabbed while putting out the trash, Mike Danton is brought to their super-secret training facility and told to run. Armed only with his wits and a skimpy pair of jean shorts, the scantily clad ex-soldier takes on the bloodthirsty, yet totally incompetent mercenaries with a truckload of gusto and back pocket full of pizzaz. Showing no mercy for the mercenaries, he uses stealth, and a recently acquired knife, to bump them off one by one.
As you would expect, this stabbing spree angers Col. Hogan, who, up until now, has been sitting at his pathetic desk (which is adorned with the world's saddest collection of hand grenades) underneath a ratty-looking tent blissfully unaware of the goings on out in jungle. The reason he's unaware is because Lt. Thornton (Fritz Matthews), Hogan's loyal number two, is the one responsible for conducting the hunts, not the colonel. While out inspecting the carnage for himself, Hogan realizes that the slaughter bares many of the trademarks of his old student. In other words, the colonel and his men (the ones who are unlucky enough to still be alive) are in a whole lot of trouble.
Meanwhile, back at home, Mike's wife, Jaimy (Suzanne Tara), who has since replaced her silky black negligee with a practical white tank top, is starting grow concerned about her husband's well-being. After all, the last time she saw him, he was being hit over the head by some Roddy Piper-looking motherfucker and getting dragged into a windowless van. Instead of calling the police, Jaimy decides to seek help from her father (Cameron Mitchell), a retired cop with over thirty years of crime-fighting experience. After a brief discussion about the colour green (she tells him, while clutching a brown throw pillow, the van Mike's kidnappers drove was a "funny kind of green"), Jaimy's daddy swings into action.
Just for the record: I love it when adult woman call their fathers "daddy." It's even hotter when they say it while they're tilting their heads slightly to side. (The blame for this abnormality rests squarely on the supple shoulders of Michelle Johnson from Blame It on Rio.)
Making the transition from leotards to camouflage with a buttery smoothness, writer-director David A. Prior puts aside the neon thongs of his previous film, Killer Workout (a.k.a. Aerobicide), and embraces the decidedly macho realm of outdoor violence with a rambunctious vigor. However, the inclusion of Dawn Abraham as Sybil, the lone female mercenary in the film, is proof that the director was not quite ready to leave the clingy world of spandex behind completely. Actually, it makes sense on a number of different levels to include a female mercenary, as the film's testosterone allotment was starting to make my brain hurt. Just having her stand there in the background, drinking New York Seltzer, wearing these ridiculously short camouflage short-shorts and scowling like Jane Badler on a bad hair day, was enough alleviate the macho pain I was suffering.
Call me a complete imbecile, if you must, but I thought Dawn Abraham's shorts were a little too short. Insane, I know. But it looked like she was wearing a baggy camouflage diaper. And, as most erection experts will tell you, the words "baggy" and "diaper" are titillation dead ends.
Speaking of short length, Suzanne Tara, who was cute as a fucking button, brought some much needed colour to the proceedings when she shows up midway through the film wearing a pair of pink shorts. You'll notice I didn't say, "short-shorts," well, that's because they were just shorts. At any rate, if I had a time machine, I would go back and alter her shorts so that they came down to a level I could live with. How much would I remove? Excellent question. Let's just say enough to appease the short length overlords that live inside my normal subconscious. However, since time machines don't exist yet, I've learned to begrudgingly accept the fact that I can't control the way fabric is strewn about the bodies of my fellow human beings.
Tired of the colour green, and sick of watching men kill each other–or in the case of Deadly Prey, watching one man with a blonde, finely-tuned mullet kill extras with impunity–Suzanne's no-nonsense pink shorts, despite the length issues I had, brought me a fair amount of joy. You could call it short-short fatigue, or cutoffs overload. Well, whatever you want to call it, I felt like Ted Prior's jean shorts and I had hit impasse in our relationship. What we needed was to take a break and see other shorts, and that's where Suzanne came in. The second my eyes slipped on her undemanding shorts, I knew they would fit. The way they stood out amongst all that drab greenery was like tripping over a jewel-encrusted tiara in the ladies room of a high end topless disco.
A bushy-haired William Zipp plays Jack Cooper, a mercenary with conflicting loyalties (he's an old buddy of Mike Danton), has an interesting way of making a name for himself in the Deadly Prey universe. My calling card used to be that I would rarely appear in public without a My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult t-shirt on my back, his signature is to leave live hand grenades underneath the heads of unconscious men. Weird.
Cleaning earthworms with his own spit, resetting a dislocated shoulder with an easy-going nonchalance, and setting boobytraps like an acne-scarred boy scout with nothing to lose, Ted Prior's performance as Mike Danton is the stuff of manly legend. His infamous cutoffs may get all the acclaim, but it's his steely brawn and headstrong determination that make Deadly Prey the action-packed classic that it is.
Impervious to shrapnel, yet prone to being snuck up on, Mike Danton kills because he has to, not because he wants to. It seems that most action heroes do not adhere to that simple credo. Sure, there are times where Mike appears to ignore the basic premise of the aforementioned credo as well (he must kill at least fifty people in this movie). But, then again, how would you feel if you were snatched away from your home (your shapely wife lying spread eagle on your jiggly waterbed patiently waiting to receive the pounding rhythm of your purposeful thrusts) and forced to stab strangers in a homoerotic setting? Not too happy. No, his rage is pure, much like the overall make-up of this totally badass movie.
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