Retro Review: Deadly Prey (1987)

Retro Review: Deadly Prey (1987)

A glorious B-Movie action-fest for the ages.
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"Deadly Prey" is everything I want to see in a B-Movie. Second-rate genre fare works best when it can boil down its native genre to its bare essentials and run from there. For me, the best kinds of crummy/amazing movies are those that seem unreal, like a half-remembered movie watched while falling asleep in front of the TV. I find myself amazed that a movie like "Deadly Prey" exists, it just seems too goofy to be true, but here it is. There is an unselfconscious air about the best B-Movies. Outings like "Deadly Prey" are either completely unaware how schlocky they are, or they are aware but do not care. This film falls into the latter category: it feels like an attempt to cash in on the popularity of "Rambo: First Blood Part II" and other military action films of the 1980s, but it goes completely over the top while remaining oblivious to its own low-budget excess.

The story is more or less "The Most Dangerous Game" with mullets. The villainous Colonel Hogan (David Campbell) likes to train his squad of mercenaries using real people. These unfortunate souls are left in the woods to be hunted down by goons with guns. This time, Hogan's men abduct the wrong guy and the hunters become the hunted. By the wildest of coincidences, the victim this time is Mike Danton (Ted Prior), a former marine who once worked under Col. Hogan ("Know him? I trained him!" Hogan declares). Danton is dropped off in the woods wearing nothing but acid wash cutoff jeans. He begins making quick work of the mercenaries in the woods, taking down scores of men before he is finally captured and taken back to base. I can only imagine this brief pause in the action is to give the audience a breather from the glorious sight of a human G.I. Joe figure mowing down unsuspecting extras for half an hour.

The movie only stop the action briefly for the scenes at the mercenary base camp, so Hogan and Danton can swap tough guy threats. Danton does not remained imprisoned for long, however, as he is freed by an old buddy from the Vietnam War who is conveniently working for the colonel. Even though the base camp is apparently "seventy-five miles southeast of Los Angeles" according to movie, Danton is able to run back home in a short amount of time. Upon returning to his house, he finds that his wife has been kidnapped by Hogan's henchman. The stakes, as always seems to happen in action movies, have been made personal. Danton gears up in greasepaint and army fatigues (but still no shirt) and runs back to the woods (again, located at least seventy-five miles away) to set up booby traps. What follows is a glorious action spectacular as mercenaries continually step on Danton's jerry-rigged tripwires, triggering spike traps and cheap explosions. Danton also beats a guy to death with his own arm. You know, as you do.

The true joy of "Deadly Prey" is how juvenile and brainlessly macho it is. There are two women in the film, a henchman and Danton's wife. They exist to be Evil Female and The Victim, respectively. The rest of the movie has so much testosterone it becomes testostertwo. "Deadly Prey" is not a film that adheres to logic, it is a film of visceral lunkheaded thrills. It is a movie that will put hair on your chest, only so you can wax it off to better showcase your giant pecs. This film is a magnificent jumble of clichés and charming cheapness. This is Action with a capital A. It may not be a smart film, or even a well-made one (although there are actually some pretty striking shots here and there), but it is certainly fun. A good time is all the movie ever promises, and it delivers on that and then some.

Rating: 10/10

Cover Image Credit: imagesthai

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A Letter To My Dancers

Everything your dance teacher wants you to know.
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When anyone (especially a child) chooses to invest their time, talent, and passion into dancing, it's nothing to take lightly. These kids spend more time with me at the studio than they do at home with their parents. Before long, they're my "kids," too. When I only have an hour to lead a warm-up, teach choreography, and rehearse a number, there isn't much time to express the thoughts and feelings I'd necessarily like to. Being a dance teacher is the most spectacular and rewarding job - and I want my students to know that. Between the great rehearsals and the frustrating ones, the competitions and recitals, and the endless hours we spend together each week, there are just a few reminders I need to share with them.

Dear Dancers,

Please love yourself and love what you do with every ounce of your being. Do it with so much passion that your heart wants to burst. Dance is the most special thing; it's something we are privileged and lucky to have, so don't take it for granted.

Please believe in yourself. You are worthy. You are talented. You are strong and capable of everything you set your mind to. Strive to be the best version of yourself every day, not the reflection of the girl next to you. Dance like you. Move like you. Experiment and find what makes you, you. Be an individual. Trust me when I say I don't want 20 carbon-copied robots. I want you.

Trust that I have your best interest in mind. Sometimes my choices and decisions won't make sense, you might be confused, hurt or frustrated, but keep the faith that I'm on your side. I don't want to see you fail, and I'll do everything in my power to help you find the success you're looking for.

I want you to succeed, but for me to do that, you need to tell me what you need. Do you need the counts again? Do you need me to review the transition to floor one more time? If you understand, tell me. If you don't, tell me that, too. Be vocal, be present, be smart, and be prepared. Practice on the sides. Pay attention to the small details. Ask questions. Don't be late, and definitely don't forget your choreography. Take responsibility for your responsibilities and lead by example. Do you have any remote idea how many children look up to you? Who want to be just like you someday? Dance just like you? Kids watch, listen, and copy. Make sure the behaviors you're teaching them are behaviors you're proud of.

Make memories with your dance family while you still can. Cherish every 9 a.m. Saturday morning rehearsal, every competition you attend, every fundraising event, and every team sleepover. It'll be gone so fast. You're going to miss these days. Please, enjoy them.

Don't compare yourself to other dancers. You are you, and nobody can do "you" better than yourself. Don't wish away your abilities by secretly wishing you had Suzie's feet, Betsy's port de bras, or Charlie's center. The only thing you need to worry about is being a better version of yourself than you were the day before. You are your only competition, so don't be too hard on yourself. Be kind to your mind and body. You work day in and day out to perfect your craft and artistry. You work to mold and create yourself. You'll be rewarded with time if you keep fighting and don't give up. Usually when you want to throw in the towel, it's after you don't get the part you wanted or you don't make the team you hoped to. What you need to understand is the answer isn't "No," the answer is "Not yet." You know you're trying and working hard, and those efforts don't go unnoticed -- even if it seems they are.

Please, remember that it's not going to always be fair. You're going to be let down, and you're going to feel disappointed from time to time. You're not always going to win the trophy. You're not always going to get the featured solo part, and not everyone can be the front row and center dancer. This doesn't mean you're "bad" and this doesn't mean you're not "meant" to dance either.

Quite frankly, it's just how it works, you guys. It doesn't mean I don't like you, and it doesn't mean the dancer who does have the solo is my favorite. The dancer just might be more talented. Yeah, I said it. They might have better lines, straighter knees, or stronger stage presence, and that is entirely okay. You're going to run into this for the rest of your adult life. Someone is going to be smarter, more qualified, more desirable for a particular job or position. So instead of despising and resenting these dancers (and especially me), try to learn from them instead. You'll learn more from each other than you could imagine. But if you take away one thing from this, know that you are still worthy of my best training, my best analogies, my best choreography -- whether you are featured, in the third row, or even off-stage for the turn section.

As your teacher, it's my job to teach. Learning (and learning correctly) requires close attention to detail, incredible focus, and a plethora of corrections on my part. Yes, I will go out of my way to critique you, and I will continually tell you what needs fixing until it's fixed. I might have to tell you over and over and over again. And you know, I might even get frustrated with you once in awhile because of it, but here's what you need to understand: This doesn't make me mean or a bad teacher. This doesn't mean I hate you. What it does mean is that I see potential in you and I want to help. I just have to ask, do you see what I see in you? Do you see the talent and abilities I see?

Corrections are good. Success is an incredibly long and never ending process that takes time, but the corrections I give you are helping you get one step closer. So next time you catch yourself getting upset about receiving the same critique week after week or you want to complain about how mean I am, please remember that my intent is not malicious. I'm doing my job.

It's also my job to instill perseverance, dedication, discipline, trust, humility, confidence, creativity, bravery, and strong work ethic into you. I want to push your limits. Test you. Challenge you. I want to mold you into the person you want to be. Even though you probably don't even know who that person is, I do.

There are so many possibilities, opportunities, and challenges that are out there once you enter the world of adulthood. The dance world is so much bigger than your studio, competition routines, and conventions. At the end of the day, no one remembers or cares (especially your future employers) if you won a quadruple diamond platinum plus on your lyrical solo in 2016. They don't care about your first place overall at Showbiz. They don't care if you're Teen Miss Winner of the World. They don't care. What people do care about is your character, your heart, and how you made them feel.

Dancers, I will always support you. Whether you want to pursue a professional dance career in Los Angeles or New York City, in a company overseas, on your college dance team, I will support you. Whether you want to teach dance or choreograph locally in town, I will support you. Whether you don't want to dance at all and maybe be an engineer or a cosmetologist, I will support you. I will always fuel your dreams, goals, and desires, no matter where they'll take you.

I love you and I'm proud of you.

Sincerely,

Your Dance Teacher


Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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