The moment when man becomes an animal – a life or death manhunt in the Cambodian jungle is the premise of this Asian action film.
A hooded man involved with a crime gang escapes being shot but is taken to a remote prison. He looks like he can take care of himself, and no wonder – he’s an undercover police officer who’s now just waiting to be rescued.
Except, of course, things are more complicated than that.
Described as Cambodia’s first $1M-budgeted action movie, The Prey sees newcomer Gu Shangwei forced into literally running for his life as he becomes the target of a Hunger Games-style manhunt to the death through the jungle.
The hunters are a group of wealthy men out for some new excitement. You don’t have to look too far beneath the action plot to see the socioeconomic message and where sympathies lie. But the focus is on the hunters and the hunted and which of them eventually survives, not on anything more philosophical.
The Prey is written and directed by Jimmy Henderson – the man behind 2017’s Jailbreak -and features Vithaya Pansringarm in the role of the corrupt prison warden. He’s clearly in his element in such sleazy roles; viewers may also recognise him as the Police Inspector from Only God Forgives, where he’s equally as sociopathic.
But this is not that film. The Prey doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a vicious manhunt chase, with a few nice musical interludes to punctuate the violence.
For fans of the genre, it will be a satisfying watch, with a few quirks to keep interest going as the action moves along. For others, worth it to be able to add a Cambodian film to the list at the very least!