Director: Edward John Drake
Cast: Bruce Willis, Neal McDonough, Corey Large, Alexia Fast, Lochlyn Munro, Nels Lennarson, Megan Peta Hill, Trevor Gretzky
Runtime: 1 hr 34 mins
Rating: NC16 (Violence and Some Coarse Language)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 24 March 2022
Synopsis: Five elite Hunters pay to hunt a human on a deserted island. But each Hunter begins to fall as the Prey fights back with mind-games, traps, and a determination to survive they have never witnessed before. Serving a life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit, ex-cop James Malone (Bruce Willis) is offered a chance at freedom if he can survive a deadly game of APEX.
Collaborating again with Edward Drake and Corey William Large after the critically-panned Cosmic Sin (2021) and Anti-Life (2020), Bruce Willis continues to smear his own A-list celebrity movie star status to star in yet another laughable, low-budget sci-fi flick called Apex.
In the not too distant future, rich American citizens are offered a chance to hunt human prey on a remote island named Apex Island. Among them are pharma billionaire Dr. Rainsford (Neil McDonough from Minority Report and Captain America) and a group of forgettable hunters.
Their target happened to be ex-cop, ex-military Thomas Malone (Willis) who is imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Promised by game master, West (Alexia Fast), Malone is now given the chance to be a free man and unite with his grandkids if he can walk out of the hunt alive.
Apex is ultimately a poor man’s version of The Hunger Games (2012) and The Hunt (2020) despite Drake’s best attempt in plagiarism. It’s littered with abrupt editing, atrocious dialogue and horrible acting that you can forget about all the subtext about politics and violence.
Although Thomas Malone is touted as a man perhaps more resourceful and highly trained than John McClane, we never actually see the man in action as ridiculous as it sounds. Malone is shown most of the time casually strolling in the forest, hiding behind bushes and trees, eavesdropping on his enemies. Willis is not even in the movie much relying most of his scenes on a younger stand-in and some shaky off-camera action. He even took a break smoking a cigar and getting high on wild berries. Maybe it’s just one of the many clauses stipulated in his contract.
Neil McDonough on the other hand tries at least to put in some effort into this psychotic villainous role, a character that loves to collect human heads a la The Governor in The Walking Dead. But end of day, he is letdown by Drake’s wobbly script which fails to establish Dr. Rainsford as a worthy antagonist except for the fact that he is a cold-blooded killer with intense eye contact.
With perhaps 90% of the budget allocated to Willis’ paycheck, the screentime is peppered with the cast of unknown hunters spouting crap and tediously turning on each other with no specific reasons, motives whatsoever. These people are simply planted here to prolong the runtime, slowly building up the flick to the final confrontation between Malone and Rainsford which by the way is as flat as the hologram rendered in the movie.
In many ways especially in terms of execution and budget, Apex fared much worse as compared to those original streaming movies. It’s so bad that it’s not even worth fitting into the bargain bin. And to think it stars Bruce Willis.
(Willis is definitely not at the apex of his career)
Review by Linus Tee