PRIMAL / CERT: R (USA) / DIRECTOR: NICK POWELL / SCREENPLAY: RICHARD LEDER / STARRING: NICOLAS CAGE, FAMKE JANSSEN, KEVIN DURAND / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (USA)
When presented with the sentence “Nicolas Cage hunts a murderer on a cargo ship full of loose, wild animals,” it becomes clear that there are two types of people in the world: those who think “Cage obviously needs money, again” and those who think “that sounds absolutely outstanding.” If you fall into the latter camp, then you’re most likely a fully-fledged member of The Cult of Cage®, so listen up because Primal is almost certainly for you.
Somewhere along the line of trying to make “Die Hard on a boat meets Snakes on a Plane on a boat,” someone made the absolutely genius decision to cast Nicolas Cage. For Cage aficionados, Primal does absolutely not disappoint. Sure, there’s minimal overt Cage-iness; he doesn’t spend too much time running around screaming about venomous snakes and big cats like you may be imagining. He does, however, relish in the opportunity to play a total dick: Frank Walsh, a game-hunter whose knowledge of Brazilian wildlife is second to none and who makes no secret of how annoying he finds it when people underestimate his abilities. Truly, Primal is a film that asks the question “Is man the deadliest predator?” before quickly deciding that, no; a white jaguar is. And it does so while Nicolas Cage stands around, insulting the rest of the cast.
Among the rest of the cast are Famke Janssen, bringing a good deal of personality to her role, and Kevin Durand, doing his very best to out-Cage Cage as the homicidal Richard Loffler, a government-trained assassin gone rogue. Think Rambo, but evil. Speaking of Rambo, if you ever wanted to see Nicolas Cage navigate a hostage situation using a bow and arrow, then this is your movie.
Is Primal good? Not exactly. But it is a film in which Nicolas Cage goes man-hunting on a ship full of snakes and parrots and monkeys and, at one point, screams “Take it easy with my cat!” and, in a way, that’s good enough. As a resting post, as fans await more Cage lunacy between the likes of Mom and Dad and Mandy, Primal is highly recommended. It falls firmly into the category of must-see Cage, as opposed to the other category of Nicolas Cage movies which are more along the lines of “Cage paying off debts accrued from buying too many illegally-obtained dinosaur fossils at auction.”
The film-lover in you might be less than impressed, but your inner Nicolas Cage fan will have an absolute blast.