Bruce Willis has been quite the busy bee lately, churning out quite a number of projects that have premiered in this year only including ‘Midnight in the Switch Grass’ alongside Megan Fox, ‘Out of Death’ with Jaime King, ‘Cosmic Sin’ opposite Frank Grillo and ‘Survive the Game’ next to Chad Michael Murray.
Despite all of these projects involving some action, sadly, they haven’t been as memorable as one would expect from a project starring the iconic Bruce Willis.
The action thriller ‘Apex’ is the action veteran’s latest project which is set to release in the United States on November 12. Starring alongside Willis is Neal McDonough, Lochlyn Munro, Trevor Gretzky, Megan Peta Hill, and Alexia Fast, among many others.
‘Apex’ was helmed by Edward John Drake, marking the third time the director has worked with Willis. Drake penned the script in collaboration with Corey William Large. It serves as the umpteenth remake of 1994 classic ‘Surviving The Game’, which is interestingly almost the same title as one of the movies that Willis appeared in recently. This feature is yet another adaptation of the 1924 story titled ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ by American writer Richard Connell.
This feature is set in a futuristic world with highly advanced technology, including high-tech guns. Willis plays an ex-cop named Thomas Malone, who is serving life in prison for a string of horrible convictions that have led him to be labeled one of the most dangerous prisoners based on his past. Apex, a corporation that runs a hunting ground located in a deserted area for the deranged wealthy lot in society, approaches Thomas and gives the convict a shot at freedom.
Wealthy individuals come to the island and pay hefty amounts of money for a chance to hunt humans for sport like the way hunters do animals in the woods. Malone is offered the chance to become the prey, and if he survives his hunters, then he is a free man.
Desperate to achieve his freedom after being incarcerated for so long, Malone accepts the offer. In the beginning, the hunters misjudge their prey based on his age, considering him an easy kill but shock on them later when the tables are turned on them.
Malone uses his stealth to stalk and eavesdrop on his hunters and soon enough figures out that his hunters are psychotic killers who would shoot anything that moves, so he spends the better part of the movie hiding in the bushes trailing his exterminators, eating presumably poisonous wild berries and turning their plot against them in the end.
The corporation has been turning prisoners into prey, and the reason Malone is handpicked is because he is considered to be among the deadliest hence a bit of a challenge for the rich folks. This plot kind of follows the 2020 title ‘The Hunt’ though the latter has a different tone to everything while ‘Apex’ went for full action.
The story doesn’t seem to feel as intense as it should be, considering is an action flick with expert and deadly people seeking to kill an equally dangerous person who is not only highly skilled but considered as one of the best professionals on the field and the bigger universe created around the game is never explored enough.
Apex gives the vibes of the early stage of the ‘Westworld’ holiday rather than a fully-fledged hunt.
Just like what audiences witnessed with ‘Midnight in the Switchgrass,’ Willis’s character is pretty much a non-entity here as well. While he is featured throughout the movie, his impact is only felt towards the end of the movie.
‘Apex’ is majorly centered on Malone as the main protagonist; hence it doesn’t make sense that he doesn’t get as much action as the main character should do, making one draw the conclusion that he is used in the movie for marketing purposes.
Not sure whether that’s the legacy Willis would like to leave behind, considering the recent movies he has been involved in lately turn out to be such mediocre despite fans having high expectations.
The plot of the narrative, too, isn’t as interesting as advertised. The killings are dull. There is hardly any actual fight until well, after the movie has gone way past one hour. It’s basically a bunch of douchebags scheming and murdering each other. However, one thing is for sure, the landmine explosion scene was a fantastic jump scare.
Though he doesn’t get on the action as audiences would have loved, Willis delivers one of his better performances for the low-budget action flick. McDonough, as the twisted, blood-thirsty killer who gets his prey every time, is excellent in bringing out the cold-blooded killer who will send chills to any prey’s spine. Is menacing blue eyes add intense intrigue to how heartless his character is.
The rest of the hunters are simply a string of characters that are playing tough in this world, trying to hide their weaknesses or the thrill of the hunt. West is the lady behind the game and is determined to make sure that her business thrives by introducing more challenging targets that will keep her clients engaged and interested.
In the end, ‘Apex’ comes across as a big rip-off. The futuristic setting in the remote island is a couple of shots of fancy-looking aircraft and transporter coupled with really bad CGI and a few lines of dialogue. It is not astounding nor visually imploring. There is simply no wow factor to associate this movie with.
Contrary to what fans have gotten accustomed to when it comes to Willis’ movies, this title under-delivers to a great extent, leaving another bunch of disappointed diehard fans of the action hero.
Hence it is important to go in without major expectations as Apex is nowhere near the A-class category movies a star of Willis’s star power would play a leading role.
However, it is an easy to watch film; therefore worth giving it a shot just to get pissed at how underused Willis is in the movie.