Title – Primal (2019)
Director – Nick Powell (Outcast)
Cast – Nicolas Cage, Famke Janssen, Kevin Durand, Michael Imperioli
Plot – Exotic animal hunter Frank Walsh (Cage) gets stuck on a cargo ship bound for Puerto Rico as his prized white jaguar and dangerous criminal Richard Loffler (Durand) escape and hunt down the ships crew.
“Take it easy with my cat”
Review by Eddie on 27/02/2020
Nicolas Cage’s willingness to sign up for what appears to be any film that comes across his desk, has made for one of the most interesting and unpredictable modern day acting careers.
An actor at home in Oscar worthy heavys, yet also an actor content to headline straight to disc D-grade fare, Cage and his newest film Primal appear on paper to he a match made in cheesy film heaven, but sadly this high concept thriller never lives up to the possible glories of it’s idea.
Hearing about the chance to witness an angry Cage as hunter and black market animal trader Frank Walsh go toe to toe against a rare white jaguar, as well as Kevin Durrand’s off the rails government assassin on a cargo boat bound for Puerto Rico makes you excited for what oddities could be coming our way, but sadly stunt man turned director Nick Powell ensures Primal is a mostly boring and lethargic exercise.
It all seems set up well as the film opens with Cage reading real estate magazines whilst hunting animals in Brazil, then yelling at wise cracking parrots but as Primal’s story kicks in as Durrand’s Richard Loffler escapes containment and starts unleashing Walsh’s exotic animals whilst murdering the ships crew, you realize Powell wasn’t too sure on how to balance the films tone and story developments, as he instead falls into a lame rhythm of scenes and scenarios that virtually squander it’s fun sounding concept.
Around the half way mark of the film you begin to wonder what the whole point of the film’s animals on the loose idea even is, as Loffler takes centre stage and the badly CGI’d jaguar, snakes and monkeys get short shift as Cage gets lost in a dull procession of setups that anchor the ‘Crazy Cage’ the film needed.
Joined by slumming it one time stars Famke Janssen and Soprano’s hard luck story Michael Imperioli, Cage and Walsh appear to be a great match up but Cage is relatively restrained throughout as he plays Walsh as a self-centred money hungry loner who just so happens to have a heart of gold.
With the film founded to get Cage versing some of the most deadly animals on the planet while also hunting down a deadly assassin, you can’t help but feel ripped off by a film without a singular genuinely memorable action sequence or character interaction, as Primal becomes nothing more than a generic action thriller, one that just sadly had the potential to be something much more.
Final Say –
Cage is known to be a part of many more misses than hits, with Primal not an exception to that sentiment. Squandering a solid concept, Primal is a hunt not worth gearing up for.
2 blow darts out out 5
Definitely a film that sounded better on paper.
I was actually keen for it when I heard of the premise! So bland in an end product.