Photo: J. Countess/WireImage/Getty Images

Itā€™s become commonplace to make fun of Nicolas Cage by suggesting that every new role he takes is part of a lengthy and exhausting scheme to pay off his debtors. This is akin to suggesting that a sabre-toothed tiger kills every member of a herd of gazelles just because heā€™s got so many mouths to feed back at the home cave. No, a tiger kills those gazelles because he is a tiger, driven by forces of instinct beyond his understanding. So too is Cage a force of nature, pushed by unknown inner powers relentlessly towards subpar action thriller after action thriller, savoring the rush of the modestly budgeted lackadaisical project.

Today, the Cage lets out a triumphant howl of victory, for he has landed another cinematic victim. Empire Online reports the actor is starring in a new film that sounds for all the world like a slight reworking of Snakes On A Plane that should be called Exotic Zoo Animals On A Boat. Saddled with the much more generic (and already-taken) name Primal, it features Cage as Frank Walsh, a ā€œlegendary big-game trackerā€ which, sure, that is a known commodity in the world. He captures exotic animals for zoos, and is on his way to deliver his latest haul via a Greek shipping freighter when ā€œa political assassin secretly being extradited back to the US on the ship escapes his guards and releases the animals.ā€

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While those of us who like nature would immediately assume, ā€œOh, no, the poor animals, heā€™s going to have to try and save all the rare jaguars and whatnot from the stupid gun-wielding humans,ā€ we would be wrong. Cage will be saving the crew from the rampaging animals, but at least give him a tranquilizer gun or something, for Godā€™s sake. Oh, also heā€™ll have to stop that political assassin, hopefully with a look of mild exhaustion on his face and a ā€œput the bunny back in the boxā€-level quip on his lips. Longtime second unit director Nick Powell will be making his feature directorial debut. Filming is set to begin next month in Puerto Rico.


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