“Put the bunny back in the box”
It was a time when a Nicolas Cage film meant something to the moviegoer.
Having managed to deliver three of the 90’s greatest action films, one after the other in the shape of The Rock, Face/Off and Con Air, it was a glorious era for Cage who sadly has slipped into the Straight to Rental territory over the last few years.
While his glory days seem to be behind him, to his credit Cage still turns out movies in what seems to be on a “every three month basis”, but apart from the quite fantastic Mandy, most I see sitting on the shelves, I give a miss, but for some odd reason, Primal intrigued me.
The premise sounded like Cage had taken the infamous “Bunny” line from Con Air and added the likes of snakes, monkeys and a white Jaguar, replaced a Plane for a boat and up against killer animals and a terrorist in a Die Hard meets Snakes On A Plane scenario.
I mean come on, what part of that does not sound fantastic?
Sadly the idea does not quite live up to the expectations as from the opening moments in which we see Cage’s Frank Walsh, fighting off a 400 pound Jaguar while on top of a tree, we get the sense that the entire plot is going to be as daft as the dodgy CGI that engulfs the film.
Walsh a former Zoo keeper who now traps exotic animals and sells them to the highest bidder, lands on a boat carrying his cargo when the US Marshal office turns ups at the same time to transport a known terrorist, Richard Loffler (Kevin Durand), who is so dangerous he needs to be locked in a cage.
Why by a boat, only the writers can explain? but anyone who has seen these kind of movies, will know what is going to happen as yes, Loffler escapes, releases all the animals and its up to Walsh to stop it all!
Your enjoyment of this film will depend on your taste and how much you value the quality on offer. Cage is always a dependable watch and we all know can do action scenes in his sleep and while Durand chews the scenery and seems to be enjoying himself in the bad guy role, the likes of Famke Janssen look bored through out and the film seems to lose itself half way through in what it wants to be.
Cage, trapped on a boat with a killer Jaguar seems fantastic on paper, but the white beast which by the way is up there with The Scorpion King in the ghastly effects stake, goes missing for massive periods of the film and even when it does show up, hardly plays a part in the plot.
Instead its basically an animal hunter against a terrorist and its that reason alone why this actioner fails to honour what it promises and will leave many frustrated, with a midway twist proving a complete waste of time.
The only thing you’ll take from this whole experience is a wonder if we will ever see Cage in a proper memorable action film ever again!
Primal had the potential to roar like a lion, but limps along to a whimper of kitten!