Apex Predator review – chipper Bruce Willis is getting hunted for kicks

Cheap and cheerless sci-fi action thriller pits cunning prisoner Willis against wealthy hunters in dreary genre retread

A mutant mashup of Squid Game, The Hunger Games and Suicide Squad, this cheap and cheerless sci-fi action film posits a future wherein wealthy hunters come to a remote island to pursue and kill human targets foolishly hoping for a big win if they survive.

Apex, the company that runs the show, is represented by a hologram hostess named West (Alexia Fast), who has a posh British accent as if it’s the mid-1990s when that was still a signifier of evil. When one of Apex’s most ruthless but regular customers, multi-trillionaire Rainsford (Neal McDonough), complains that the prey have become too easy, West brings in Malone (Bruce Willis), a prisoner so notorious for his cunning and ferocity he’s been kept in solitary confinement for years. Despite this treatment, Malone seems none too distressed by those years of isolation. Indeed, he seems just as chipper and quippy as Willis always seems in crappy movies like this; moreover he is apparently quite content to spend a lot of time on his own creeping around the island forest, oddly almost never in the same shot as any of his co-stars.

In fact, a lot more of the film is taken up with Rainsford and his fellow hunters alternately arguing and scheming among themselves, and then inevitably betraying one another, in order to win the dubious trophy of Malone’s head, to be rendered as a hologram post-mortem. The competing middle-aged white guys with beards and barrel chests are a fairly interchangeable lot, although Nels Lennarson puts on the most florid display of psychopathology, piped through a cheerful Ulster accent. (Megan Peta Hill gets to be the lone female hunter.) Not even the section where Malone begins “tripping balls” thanks to some psilocybin-laced blackberries manages to spruce up this tedious genre exercise.

• Apex Predator is released on 12 November on digital platforms.


Leslie Felperin

The GuardianTramp

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