Now available on Blu-ray is hunter vs madman vs jaguar thriller, “Primal” starring Nicolas Cage, Famke Janssen and Kevin Durand. The idea of Cage trapped on a boat with a man-eating jaguar as well as a trained-to-kill psychopath is an intriguing one. So, does “Primal” live up to the premise or is it just as generic as its’ title? Unfortunately, for me it would be the latter.
Frank Walsh (Cage) is a wildlife trapper, who sells his animals to the highest bidder. His latest trip to the Brazilian jungle brought him his biggest score yet, a never-seen-before, white jaguar. The 400-pound animal nearly made a meal out of Frank before eventually being captured. Things go sideways when former government assassin/prisoner Richard Loffler (Durand) escapes his cage and is now loose on the same ship Frank and his animals are on. Not only has Richard begun to kill off the team that brought him on board, but he has let loose the vicious animals that haven’t eaten in over twelve hours. A 400 Pound jaguar’s gotta’ eat!
With skin ripping monkeys, venomous snakes, a big mean cat and a trained killer roaming the corridors, the crew have a very slim chance of survival. So, with all this going on, why is “Primal” so incredibly dull? The biggest problem is that the cast doesn’t seem to be trying. Cage simply walks through this without even giving us a hint of his zaniness. That’s a shame too because with a plot like this, crazy would fit right it. Janssen looks immensely bored, though in fairness, she looks like that in many of her roles. Michael Imperioli who plays agent Paul Freed has a hint of personality, but not much. The only one looking like they are having any fun is Durand, who is playing the same kind of character he has played countless times before.
Stunt coordinator-turned-filmmaker Nick Powell, follows-up his 2014 directorial debut, “Outcast” (Which also stars Cage) with this wasted opportunity. “Primal” could have been something quite fun if given a bigger budget and more of a campy feel.
By: Marc Ferman