There have been several recent Hollywood-style French thrillers about injustice, incarceration and lone men on a mission, from ‘Tell No One’ to ‘Anything for Her’. The makers of ‘The Prey’ join this gang by casting Albert Dupontel as Franck, a convict who has a beautiful wife, a mute young daughter and a cast-iron reason for vengeance after he trusts the wrong man. Prison escapes and chases follow, along with an attractive detective (Alice Taglioni) whose sleuthing may just be the one thing to keep Franck alive – if her trigger-happy colleagues don’t reach him first.
At first the twists and turns are enough to engage and entertain, but an increasingly preposterous script and potential plot holes nudge this closer to B-movie territory. Franck’s survival and investigation techniques are glossed over in favour of convenient coincidences and sensationalist set-pieces: this hero’s emotional struggles are kept at arm’s length. It’s still a relatively fun watch for the genre – but a film that might, in America, star Jason Statham or even Steven Seagal.