He was the best in Vietnam. He still is.
is a 1987 action film directed by David A. Prior and starring his brother Ted Prior as the protagonist, Mike Danton. Danton is an ex-Special Forces soldier who is abducted from his home one day by a group of thugs and forced to take part in a lethal training exercise for mercenaries lead by his former mentor, Colonel Tom Hogan. Mike then proceeds to kick tremendous amounts of ass in his quest to stop Hogan and prevent the deaths of any more innocents. Meanwhile, Mike's wife Jaimy enlists the aid of her father, a retired police officer, in order to find him.
The film was followed in 2013 by a sequel entitled The Deadliest Prey
, in which Hogan is released from prison and goes back to running his deadly training course, only this time his mission is more personal. He again kidnaps Danton and places him in a forest filled with cameras, planning to broadcast the hunt all over the internet. Danton must then deal with a larger and more powerful mercenary unit lead by Hogan and his powerful new ally.
Deadly Prey contains examples of:
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: There is one in each movie where Danton has to make camp for the night and eat some food, reflecting on how alone he is against the overwhelming odds.
- Anti-Climax: At the end of The Deadliest Prey there is no climactic fight between Mike and Hogan. He just goads Hogan into not shooting him, then tricks him into a trap that kills him instantly.
- Anti-Hero: Danton, who doesn't hesitate in killing Hogan's mooks when he can.
- As You Know: "I haven't seen you since the time you took a bullet trying to save my life!"
- Award Bait Song: "Never Say Die" by Steve McClintock.
- Backup Twin: Thorton is replaced in the sequel by his twin brother who is out for revenge against Danton.
- Bad Boss: Lieutenant Thorton executes his underlings for failure, showing weakness, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Badass Boast:
Danton: "In Vietnam, you made me the best. Well I still am."
Hogan: "I've killed more people than cancer!"
- Blood Knight: Jack Cooper in the first movie, who became a mercenary because Vietnam ended and he missed the action. Kaplan, in the second movie, had the same reason but he was older and fought in Afghanistan.
- Bottomless Magazines: No one ever runs out of ammo until the climactic battle of the sequel where Hogan sends his Mooks to wear down Mike's supply of traps and bullets.
- Call Back: Mike spent most of Deadly Prey running around without footwear or clothes. The first thing he does in the sequel after killing his first Mooks is take their boots and trousers, commenting that he's not "doing this shit barefoot again".
- Combat Pragmatist: The first half of the movie is composed of Mike taking out Mooks silently from behind, and drawing them further into the forest where he has the advantage. Subverted when he doesn't bother to equip himself with some better weaponry or, y'know, some boots to protect his feet. Justified by him being made of iron, as discussed below.
- Cool Guns: Mooks in The Deadliest Prey carry M4's or M16's with EOTech holographic sights but not Thorton. He favors an M1 Garand.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Don Michaelson.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Thorton casually shoots his own mooks if they even disagree with him on trivial matters or make good points.
- Downer Ending: Mike gets his revenge but everyone he cares about is dead.
- Averted in the sequel where he arrives just in time to save both his wife and son.
- Dramatic Gun Cock: Taken to absurd levels in the opening credits.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Danton and Hogan used to be in the Army Special Forces.
- Five-Bad Band:
- Follow the Leader: Deadly Prey is such a carbon copy of Rambo that it drifts into mockbuster territory.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: In his rematch, Mike cuts off Thorton's arm and beats him unconscious with it before scalping him. Said arm, incidentally, doesn't drip a drop of blood.
- Guns Do Not Work That Way: No, having a grenade go off next to your foot does not mean you can still get up and keep running for three more minutes.
- Heel-Face Turn: Jack, after witnessing what they did to Danton at the camp.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Colonel Hogan trains his mercenaries by having them pick people off the streets and hunt them down.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: To hurt Danton more than he could ever hurt Hogan.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Seriously. Special note goes to Thorton, who couldn't get a shot at Mike even when he's charging at him with a bolo.
- Invincible Hero: Mike Danton in both the film and its sequel. The only character he has a problem with is Thorton and that's only when they first fight.
- Ironic Echo: In the end, Hogan is forced to run while Danton hunts him.
- Just Plane Wrong: Mike blows up an Apache helicopter with an M203 grenade launcher in the sequel.
- Kick the Dog: Hogan rapes Danton's wife, Jaimy, and taunts him about it over the phone.
- Made of Iron: Mike. Seriously, a tank shell goes off near him and he doesn't seem to feel it much.
- Made of Plasticine: All the mooks. Danton is able to kill several of them with sticks and have them die instantly from a stab to the heart.
- Mood Whiplash: The film ends with Danton's anguished scream before cutting to a beautiful ballad about never giving up.
- My Greatest Failure: Inverted - Hogan sees Mike as his greatest student and the only person who ever lived up to his standards while participating in non-lethal training exercises.
- No Ending: The movie just ends with Colonel Hogan running away with his shirt off after Mike tells him to and Mike screaming to the sky and flexing his arms. Then it fades to black.
- Oh, No... Not Again!/This Is Gonna Suck: Mike's reaction in the sequel after Hogan pulls the sack off his face.
- Only in It for the Money: The whole reason Hogan decided to form a mercenary group was to hire himself out to Third World dictators for lots and lots of cash.
- Playing Gertrude: Assuming the movie takes place at the time of its release (1987), Danton would have been at least 40 years old if he fought with the Army Special Forces in the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975. His actor, Ted Prior, was 28 when the movie was released.
- Private Military Contractor: What Hogan tries to be.
- Rape as Drama: Hogan rapes Jaimy, but her acting in the aftermath somewhat lessens the effect.
- Recurring Riff: The same three-note jingle keeps popping up throughout the film, sometimes at inappropriate times.
- Recycled In Space: The Deadliest Prey is just the plot of Deadly Prey set in the present with the internet and hip "hackers".
- Recycled Soundtrack: It also uses the exact same music from the previous movie.
- Say My Name: Too many times.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In The Deadliest Prey, Hogan's last two Mooks decide to cut and run after Danton has killed off everyone else. Presumably they made it since Mike kills Hogan a few minutes later.
- Sinister Shades: Thorton's trademark is his sunglasses with reflective lenses.
- Skyward Scream: Danton does this at the end twice for some reason.
- Smug Snake: Sybil, who doesn't waste any opportunity to rub it in Danton's face.
- The Spartan Way: Hogan doesn't believe in the standard training exercises because, according to him, they don't prepare soldiers in the same way as fighting real enemies.
- Start of Darkness: For Hogan, when he was discharged from the Army and put on a crummy $600 pension. Also, they ignored his advice regarding the training of elite soldiers, which essentially amounted to war crimes.
- Stupid Evil: Thorton keeps killing off his own men well after that would have stopped reaping any benefit.
- Tanks, but No Tanks: None of the armored vehicles in the movie are actually tanks.
- Too Dumb to Live: The three hackers in The Deadliest Prey drive down to the training site intending to help Mike, thinking that it's the coolest thing ever, and after escaping death once, they come back to help him and get in the middle of a firefight between Mike and Hogan. They are promptly gunned down for their troubles.
- The Vietnam War: Serves as a backstory and is invoked by the box art.
- Villainous Breakdown: When Hogan realises most of his men are dead he becomes more and more frantic, and by the time he captures Jamie his screams sound more like an Anguished Declaration of Love for Mike.
- Visible Invisibility: After Hogan decides to deal with things personally, he moves into the woods. Little does he know that Mike is watching him from a tree some two feet off the ground.
- We Can Rule Together: Hogan tries to convince Danton to join his mercenary army, but he refuses.
- You Have Failed Me: Hogan and Thorton really love those summary executions.