Primal sees the prolific Nicolas Cage back onscreen as Nicolas Cage, but this time he’s animal hunter Frank Walsh, in the Brazillian jungle, exporting a 400lb jaguar back to the US on the same ship as political assassin Richard Loffler (Kevin Durand – Resident Evil: Retribution 3D), who’s being taken back at the behest of the US Government. What can go wrong?!
Naturally, the prisoner escapes, causes havoc and needs capturing, as he’s bumping off anyone he comes across, but Cage is shouting all the time in this film because he must feed his animals!!!
The US Govt representatives have a pencil-neck for a boss, and a team of wide-upper-armed mercenaries as the control team. Meanwhile, Frank also breaks away and goes out on his own around the ship like a latter-day John McClane, but nowhere near as smart.
And there’s too many beards in this film.
Along the way, the jaguar is also referred to as both “he” and “she” in the same conversation. Continuity SNAFU? Meanwhile, Famke Janssen is looking great for 55, although in addition to working out in the gym, she clearly has had some work done on her eyes as they’re looking more like that of an anime character.
Primal is ridiculous in that so many of the good guys are trying to play the hero when they come up against Loffler. Plus, you can expect the ‘Noah’s Ark’ of animals to be more CGI than a modern Doctor Dolittle movie, given how it’d be too difficult to direct them amongst the fight scenes.
This also has a whiff of Wesley Snipes’ Passenger 57 about it, with everyone in a confined space and no escape. That was also a so-so but tolerable movie.
Overall, Primal is not terrible, but it’s not great, and it really does make you wonder why Nicolas Cage needs the money so badly, that he constantly resorts to making what he knows will be such sub-standard fare. Why not take a holiday somewhere instead?
Before the main menu, there are trailers. Normally, I wouldn’t name them because we’re no longer in the age of rental video of forced trailers, but guess what? The first one is another half-assed Nicolas Cage movie: A Score To Settle, which came out on DVD in September 2019. In that one, his character is called… Frank, again. I’d love to know how much he gets paid for each of these.
However, that’s all the ‘extras’ there are on this disc.
Subtitles come in English only, and there’s a perfunctory 12 chapters.
Film score: 5/10
Running time: 97 minutes
Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Released: February 17th 2020
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Red Epic (8K))
Disc Format: DVD9
Director: Nick Powell
Producers: Jeff Bowler, Daniel Grodnik, Luillo Ruiz, Bret Saxon, Kirk Shaw, Belly Torres
Screenplay: Richard Leder
Music: Guillaume Roussel
Frank Walsh: Nicolas Cage
Dr. Ellen Taylor: Famke Janssen
Richard Loffler: Kevin Durand
Paul Freed: Michael Imperioli
John Ringer: LaMonica Garrett
Harrison: John Lewis
Forrest: Tom Walker
Prettyman: Rey Hernandez
Commander Delaney: Brian Tester
Scuddy: Sewell Whitney
Alfonso Diaz: Joseph Oliveira
Captain Morales: Braulio Castillo hijo
Rafael: Jeremy Nazario
Dominic Delgado (Chef): Jaime Irizarry
Miller: Drake Shannon
Jerome: Leon Andrew Joseph
Shelton: Sebastian Vázquez
Diego: Pablo Tufino
Barnett: Daniel Salinas González
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.