Opening in a French prison, The Prey revolves around bank robber Franck Adrien (Albert Dupontel), a man put away for his part in a massive robbery, the spoils of which are hidden where only Franck can find them.
Trusting no one with his secrets, even his own family, he does take pity on his fellow cellmate Jean-Louis Maurel (Stéphane Debac) who is wrongfully accused of being a predatory pervert and is therefore a target for the violent inmates who wish to punish him for crimes he says he didn’t commit.
When Franck defends Maurel in a brutal brawl the pair become friends, and when Maurel is released Franck asks him to look in on his wife and young daughter to check they are okay.
Returning to the harsh prison life dreaming of his forthcoming release, his incarceration is interrupted by a mysterious visitor who informs Franck that all is not what it seems and that his families life is at risk, a risk so great it is worth Franck staging an escape.
Now on the run with a massive manhunt on his trail, Franck must find his family and his money. However, someone has a much darker plan for Franck one that will push him to the physical and psychological limit, tearing his world apart in the process.
A tense action thriller, The Prey follows the pattern of a French Fugitive – complete with the wrongly accused hero, hunted by the entire police force, trying to take down the people who framed him and destroyed his life.
Packed with realistic violence and some impressive action sequences (including a particularly epic foot chase the wrong way up a three-lane motorway) The Prey keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, although not entirely convinced by the sometimes cheesy and trite characters and storyline.
Franck’s almost superhuman agility and endurance are brushed off and unexplained, and the role of the lady cop Claire Linné (Alice Taglioni) seems straight out of an American TV cop show, complete with her hard as nails skills, rag tag team and no nonsense captain who doesn’t believe in her female intuition. It’s all a tad out of place and unbelievable.
It’s these more clichéd and downright silly elements that fail The Prey, leaving it lagging behind other much more edgy recent European thrillers such as the amazing Dragon Tattoo series and the downright bat-shit crazy but brilliant Headhunters.
Perhaps the producers plan was to make something deliberately more mainstream, as The Prey is ripe for a Hollywood remake. There would be little need for change except for the cast and setting (as we couldn’t expect American’s to read subtitles now could we).
That’s not to say The Prey isn’t an entertaining movie. Its movement more in the direction of horror towards the end is a welcome twist.
Sadly however, you can’t help feeling that this film was almost made to be remade. So if you do fancy it make sure to catch it quick before Hollywood does.
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