This fairly entertaining, low budget film, almost succeeds at looking and feeling like one of its more expensive hollywood counterparts.
Hunter Prey is a 2010 independent science fiction action film directed by Sandy Collora, and written by Nick Damon and Collora. It stars Damion Poitier, Isaac C. Singleton Jr. and Clark Bertram. It tells a story that starts out as a game of cat and mouse, and then develops into a battle of wits between an alien soldier, and his human opponent.
Revisiting this film last night, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I first saw it several years ago, remembered enjoying it, and being pleasantly surprised. This is the first time i have watched it again since, and this time around I feel that while it does some things right, ultimately this is exactly what you would expect from a low budget independent film.
After their ship crash lands on a desert planet, an elite team of commandos attempt to recapture the last survivor of a destroyed planet before he can retaliate against their homeworld. The aliens, known as Sedonians, have the upper hand over their escaped prisoner, but using his wits and some obvious traps, they fall for anyway, he evens the odds until there is just him and one of the soldiers left. A Lieutenant named Centauri 7.
The film spends most of its time depicting the two running, and/or stumbling around in the desert that serves as the context of their efforts, until things change when the human gets the upper hand after capturing his former captor. He then does something very odd, he abandons his captured enemy, leaving him relatively unharmed, taking only his things like a backpack with some supplies, and a portable communication device/computer.
This is one of the key plot points in the story, and his decision is explained later. This poor decision, of course, results in his being captured by the Sedonian again.
The film has some beautiful shots of the desert that serves as the setting for the film, but falls short in other regards, namely the writing, in a story that might have made a good hour long episode of the Outer Limits or some similar venue. Hunter Prey has a few scant moments of CGI special effects, that are neither remarkably good, or remarkably bad.
The film’s script tells a pretty good story with some interesting wrinkles, but is hampered by the fact the creators tried to milk it for more that it was. This is a short story at best, and simply not enough material to build a feature length film around.
The dialogue serves mostly as exposition, revealing the backstory about these two characters, and from it we learn about the situation that has led these two to their duel of wits and their present situation.
The Sedonians are a race that travel the universe, aggressively imposing their way of life on everyone else they meet. Anyone that does not agree with their way of life, they wage war on. Theirs is a sort of holy crusade we have seen in genre stories before with a goal to convert the rest of the universe to their way of thinking. The human, who may be the last survivor of his species, is out for revenge after they destroyed his world, which I think is safe to assume means earth.
The production quality of the film also reveals this film for what it is, a really more or less pretty good idea for a movie that ends up being a production that’s a notch above a fan film in quality. Makeup and props are pretty standard fare for this sort of production.
Visually there are some good, even great moments, when the movie has the appearance of a well done comic with a series of images that tells the story well, but somewhere along the line it loses it appeal, and becomes redundant and even a little boring with shot, after shot, of the film’s characters stumbling around the boulders, and sand dunes of the film’s desert setting.
Another element of this film that was interesting and lent it some entertaining qualities was a Sedonian tech device the seemed as if it might be an AI. It is a portable computer device that monitors the condition of his spacesuit,and the wearer’s health, and serves as a communication device. He talks with it as if it is a person, and calls it Clea (voiced by Erin Grey). Although I liked this device as part of the story, I found it annoying at times because I found it difficult to understand everything it was saying.
Another thing worth mentioning about thes film is the brief introduction of a bounty hunter that manages to capture the human, but he doesn’t last long, and Centaur1 7 kills him in a confrontation that evolves into a knife fight. This character’s random appearance and exit, made it seem like he was just thrown in as a failed attempt to make the story more interesting.
It might have been an interesting wrinkle if the bounty hunter had lasted longer than a few minutes, and actually impacted the story as more than a way to explain the human being recaptured, or even if he had been a she. There’s no women in the film, which might have been improved with the introduction of the fairer sex. After all what’s a low budget, independent, sci-fi movie without some sexy women in it?
The whole plot hinges on the human trying to locate the Sedonian home world so he can blow it to hell with a bomb ship he has for the purpose. It is revealed this was the whole point of the human leaving his opponent unharmed, and allowing himself to be recaptured. This was because he needed access to the Sedonian’s computer, so he could learn the location of the enemy planet.
The Sedonians kept him alive so they could locate the ship, which it turns out was hidden beneath the desert floor the whole time. Like I said, the story does display some cleverness, but unfortunately the film as a whole lets the story down in its execution.
The film leaves the result of all this without revealing whether the human succeeds in his mission,or not, after finally finding out the location of the Sednoian planet just before it ends. Swing and a miss, but a pretty good effort was made.