Film review: Nicolas Cage goes Primal in jaguar-on-a-boat B-movie delight

What the visual effects lack, Nicolas Cage makes up for it in one of his most inspired, bonkers performances in a long time

Nicolas Cage has long been a laughing stock in Hollywood. The Oscar-winning, once-formidable presence has been relegated to cheap, genre fare for a decade, none of which suit his talents.

Save for affairs like Color Out Of Space, Joe and Mandy, they’ve all been arduous, boring and painstaking flops. And yet, Cage remains utterly, constantly watchable because of his unique method acting.

So when you dress him up as jungle poacher Frank and stick him on a boat with FBI agents, an assassin on the loose, and the misfortune of an uncaged 400-pound jaguar, it makes for one heck of an action movie.

With hints of Con Air and Snakes On A Plane, there’s no doubt Primal’s low budget makes the CGI animals suffer, but what the visual effects lack, Cage’s most inspired, bonkers performance in a long time makes up for.

He has The Sopranos’ Michael Imperioli, Famke Janssen, and the wonderful, endlessly talented Kevin Durand as contract killer Richard Loffler aboard as well, making this a back-to-basics, good old-fashioned game of hide-and-seek with two very different predators.

To say Primal is schlocky and lacking slick dialogue or set pieces is to miss the entire point. If you don’t mind your entertainment with a little side of self-aware fun, then find another movie.

But if you miss Nicolas Cage kicking ass, taking names and loudly enunciating dialogue, you’ll surely enjoy the screen presence and effort he brings to this surprising, break-neck effort.

Jordan Parker is a PR professional and journalist in Halifax, and these reviews appear first on his film blog Parker & the Picture Shows.