In Primal, what you see is what you get. Nicolas Cage plays a Frank, a big game hunter who has bagged a rare white panther and plans on selling it to a zoo in Europe. Unfortunately, his cargo frigate is co-opted by the United States government to transfer Loffler (Kevin Durand), a highly trained, psychopathic mercenary. Loffler escapes and lets Frank’s animals loose as well, resulting in a situation wherein Frank has to work with his much-hated federal tormentors to capture both Loffler and the cat. You see, Loffler is an apex predator, as is the white panther. Soon the hunter becomes the hunted. All that jazz.
The only reason to watch Primal is in hopes that Cage will go full-bore with his performance. Unlike this fall’s disappointing Running With the Devil, Cage delivers. Many of his early bits are in the trailer, but thankfully plenty of glorious moments await anyone willing to shell out a couple bucks to rent Primal on VOD. Drunk Cage is a particular favorite, but really, Frank is an angry character who is constantly yelling and insulting other characters. He’s well within the latter-day Cage archetype and will please anyone looking for him to bring the noise.
There are some decent action beats, sometimes rendered humorous due to piss-poor CGI. Famke Janssen slums it as Dr. Ellen Taylor, the resident government expert on Loffler. The plot moves forward at the speed of stupid. The boat is clearly a soundstage and has the geographic coherency of a map drawn by a third-grader. It’s fine. Nothing else really matters besides Mr. Cage screaming “I’ve hit the motherLODE!” Being angry at the feds. Screaming at a cook not to attack the baby monkeys who escaped into the galley. Explaining the effects of snake venom. Staring down his giant jungle cat. Oh, and he has a parrot sidekick. Does that sound appealing? Go for it.