Tuesday, October 4

Apex review: Bruce Willis does little to elevate the messy, spin-off gender cliché

Thoughtlessly stretched to cushion running time, Apex is an incredibly dull and weak ghost of what might have been a spunky Bruce Willis action actor.

Bruce Willis, in addition to being an iconic action star, has been a part of his fair share of commendable sci-fi offerings, with The fifth element, Looper, and 12 monkeys emerging as classics that define the genre in their own right. Willis has been producing a considerable number of projects lately, including Midnight on the shifting grass and Survive the game. Unfortunately, the end results have been mixed or, at best, average. However, Edward Drake Appendix, also know as Predatory apex, sets Willis in a way that completely strips him of his former glory, resulting in a sci-fi thriller that is tedious and derivative in terms of narrative and execution. Stretched without thinking to improve runtime, Appendix he’s a wildly dull and weak ghost of what could have been a Bruce Willis action star.

Appendix it opens in the middle of a hunt, in which a group of hunters appears to be chasing a man deep in the forest. Once the prey is killed by one of the hunters, billionaire Samuel Rainsford (Neal McDonough) collects the man’s head as a personal trophy. From the beginning, the visual cues hint at the fact that the events of Appendix are set in the future, due to a roaring transport device and the presence of West (Alexia Fast), who only appears in holographic form throughout the film. Apex is posited as a shadow entity removed from the “real” world, hosting games on a private island where hunters are assigned a prey, which must be killed within a stipulated period of time. West acts as a ranger in Apex, looking to recruit challenging prey for the next game, when he learns of former cop Thomas Malone (Willis), now incarcerated for a crime he did not commit.

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Malone is portrayed as a man known for having evaded death by almost unnatural means, displaying a stubborn determination to survive even the worst odds. Although he initially rejects West’s proposal, he eventually decides to participate in the hunt, due to the promise that he will be a free man if he manages to win. As the game begins, six hunters converge on the lodge, discussing techniques to overwhelm their prey while underestimating Malone’s strength to survive. Rainsford, of course, is one of them, and the others seem particularly suspicious of him due to his cold-blooded view of existence and the cruelty with which he claims his trophies. Having had access to state-of-the-art weaponry from West, the hunters individually venture into the arena, but things take a nasty turn as they slowly begin to clash with each other due to their personal ego, deep-seated grudges, or a simple lack of human integrity.

While the premise of Appendix It seems quite derivative, the plot could have been a gateway to an exciting action movie, given that the movie consists of all the right elements to make it work. In a puzzling narrative twist, Malone is seen wandering aimlessly through the woods, eavesdropping on hunters’ conversations and stumbling across radioactively mutated berries without caring for the world. This decision changes the tone of the film quite drastically, as the perfect opportunity to utilize Willis’s presence is thwarted in favor of silly squabbles between the hunters, who stab, punch, and blow up each other without the slightest provocation, making it easier for Malone to get to the end.

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Malone, unfortunately, is not an entity at all Appendixas it does not do much except towards the end, which, compared to anticipatory accumulation, fails. McDonough is formidable as the sadistic Rainsford, landing an aura of sinister with perfection, though his character is poised for failure during his big confrontation with Willis’ character at the end. Other aspects of Appendix fail too: the dialogue seems awkward and ridiculous at times, with the refrain “I’m an apex warrior!”It is repeated ad nauseam, and the action sequences, while well done, are not flashy or credible in a visual sense. Very little attention is paid to AppendixThe world-building and sci-fi aspect of the film seems more like an afterthought than an active factor, making the film a terrible and mediocre disappointment.

Appendix it was released on November 12, 2021. The film is 94 minutes long and remains unrated as of now.


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