02nd Nov2021

‘Apex Predator’ Review

by Jim Morazzini

Stars: Bruce Willis, Nels Lennarson, Neal McDonough, Lochlyn Munro, Trevor Gretzky, Corey Large, Megan Peta Hill, Alexia Fast | Written by Edward Drake, Corey Large | Directed by Edward Drake

Apex Predator, released in the US under the title of just Apex, proabably given a title change to avoid the taint of Apex Predators, is the third teaming of Bruce Willis, director Edward Drake and writer Corey Large after Anti-Life and Cosmic Sin. Despite that, I decided to watch it anyway. You can guess how well that ended.

Sometime in the near future ex cop Thomas Malone (Bruce Willis; Out of Death, Survive the Game) is serving a life sentence. He’s offered his freedom by a representative of the Apex Corporation in return for appearing on their show. What does he have to do? Simple, he just has to survive being hunted by a group of wealthy sportsmen, Bishop (Nels Lennarson; Cold Pursuit, Countdown), Rainsford (Neal McDonough; Monsters of Man, Justified), Lyle (Lochlyn Munro; Riverdale, Scary Movie), Ecka (Trevor Gretzky; Spiral, Mile 22), Carrion (Corey Large; Poker Night, Broil), and Jeza (Megan Peta Hill; Open Water 3: Cage Dive).

Now if you’re getting The Running Man style vibes from this you’re not the only one. But Apex Predator doesn’t have nearly that kind of budget. It also doesn’t have the outrageous imagination of Turkey Shoot. Instead it’s billed as a remake of the Ice-T film Surviving the Game. They should have saved the title of Willis’ last film, Survive the Game, for this one.

Once the hunters got around to the hunt two things quickly became apparent. Firstly, being bloodthirsty psychopaths was far from the only mental issues they had. Secondly, Malone had the superpower of always being hidden nearby when people were discussing said issues so he could take advantage of them later. In fact, for skilled hunters it’s amazing how often they can be mere feet away from their prey and not notice him.

Not that he really has to worry, it seems the hunters on Apex Island don’t really care who they kill. They’re more than happy to knock each other off while Malone hides in the woods. Which makes sense since once again I’m sure Willis was only on set for a couple of days. Just shoot some footage of him standing in the trees and splice it in as needed.

And that is all we see Willis do for most of Apex Predator’s first hour. He hides in the trees, wanders abound while a ridiculously old timey score plays in the background. He also has a conversation with the hologram of Apex’s owner West (Alexia Fast; The Ninth Passenger, Grace: The Possession) who informs him that the blackberries he’s eating are hallucinogenic because of radiation from the war. What war? Your guess is as good as mine.

Just like Midnight in the Switchgrass, Willis’ character is pretty much a non entity here. While he does appear throughout the film he only has some impact on its events at the very end. Which may be even worse since, as the protagonist, Malone is supposed to be an integral part of Apex Predator’s plot. That’s some deceptive marketing even by the usual standards of these kinds of films.

Unfortunately the main plot of Apex Predator isn’t much more interesting. The kills are bland and pretty dull, there isn’t even an actual fight until after the hour mark. It’s just a bunch of unlikable assholes scheming and killing each other. I will admit the landmine going off worked as a jump scare, but that was about it.

In the end, Apex Predator is basically one big rip-off. The futuristic setting is just a couple shots of fancy looking aircraft and a transporter, a bad CGI cityscape and a few lines of dialogue. And Willis is barely in the film, let alone playing an action hero type role.

* 1/5

Apex Predator will be released on on digital platforms 12th November and DVD 15th November, courtesy of Signature Entertainment. The film will be released, under the title of Apex, on November 12th in North America via RLJE Films.

Review originally posted on Voices From the Balcony.

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