Director: Edward Drake
Writer: Edward Drake and Corey William Large
Starring: Bruce Willis, Neal McDonough, Corey William Large, Lochlyn Munro, Trevor Gretzky, Nels Lennarson, Megan Peta Hill Adam Huel Potter, Joe Munroe, and Alexia Fast
In the last couple of years Bruce Willis and writer/director Edward Drake have made a quite a few films together, some released such as the critically panned Cosmic Sin, and some still to come. The latest offering is Apex Predator, another adaptation of the classic short story ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ by Richard Cornell. It’s a classic story of rich people hunting humans for sport. The new spin on it is bizarre and over the top in the best way possible.
Thomas Malone (Bruce Willis) has been imprisoned for years after a series of crimes and incidents. He hasn’t spoken to anyone for seven years, being in solitary the entire time. It makes him the perfect candidate for Apex Island, a place where rich people can hunt criminals for sport. Malone won’t go down easy, and with the rich hunters turning against each other, he might have a chance to win and live a free life with his grandchildren.
Even though the short story Apex Predator is based on has been adapted many times, and inspired even more films, there’s still a lot of life in the story. The recent adaptation The Hunt really works, for example. Apex Predator isn’t close to being on the same level as that. The characters aren’t that interesting. The hunters are all bland, turning against each other due to their egos and that’s as developed as they get. The performances are poor, with a lot of cringe-inducing, unnatural dialogue. There are a few sci-fi elements in the film, with teleportation being used a few times, but it’s just feels random, when it happens later in the film, you’ve forgotten it was there at all.
What makes this film worth watching is Bruce Willis. At first, before the game starts, it seems like Willis is just here for a pay-check. His dialogue is stilted and awkward, it feels like his scenes are sliced together from many different takes, because none of the dialogue flows. Once the game starts, he takes a backseat plot-wise to the hunters turning on each other. He pops up every few minutes for a few seconds of sitting around, wandering around the jungle, and just doing whatever he wants.
Bruce Willis is hilarious. His random ramblings to himself about hating the jungle, smoking a random cigar he finds on the floor. Once the film gets going it’s clear he’s having a lot of fun. The absolute highlight of the entire thing is him mis-quoting Shakespeare while holding up a random skull he finds on his travels with playful and child-like music playing in the background. It’s one of the funniest scenes this year. If it wasn’t for these moments, it would be a bland and forgettable film.
Neal McDonough plays the leader of the hunters, who sees himself as the only person who can take down Malone. His performance is a step above everyone else, he’s taking it really seriously, at least until he faces down Willis. Beyond him, everything else is bland and dull. The other hunters are wooden. There’s not a lot of action, and when there is, it’s really not entertaining. If you’re looking for a good adaptation, then The Hunt is the way to go. This falls safely in the ‘so bad it’s good’ category.
Apex Predator isn’t a good film. If it wasn’t for the randomness of Bruce Willis, it wouldn’t be worth watching at all. Thankfully his strange performance and the over-the-top humour makes this funnier than some of the straight up comedies recently released. It’s not essential viewing, but it’s more than entertaining enough to pass the time.
Signature Entertainment presents Apex Predator on Digital Platforms 12th November and DVD 15th November
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