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Primal Force

Primal Force (1999) Movie Poster
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USA  •    •  86m  •    •  Directed by: Nelson McCormick.  •  Starring: Ron Perlman, Mark Kiely, Roxana Zal, Kimberlee Peterson, Guillermo Ríos, Richard Fancy, Julian Sedgwick, Jimy Hefner, Bruno Danza, Ramiro González, Lola Noh, Gustavo Tecuapetla R., Lincy Anahy Avila G..  •  Music by: Martin Davich.
        When a plane full of tourists crash-lands on an island off the coast of Mexico, the survivors soon discovers that they have an even greater danger awaiting them once they free themselves from the wreckage -- the island is overrun with bloodthirsty mutated baboons, the result of a scientific experiment gone wrong. An eccentric guide who understands the strange apes is brought in to save the stranded travelers before it's too late.

Review:

Image from: Primal Force (1999)
Image from: Primal Force (1999)
Image from: Primal Force (1999)
Image from: Primal Force (1999)
Image from: Primal Force (1999)
Image from: Primal Force (1999)
Image from: Primal Force (1999)
Image from: Primal Force (1999)
Image from: Primal Force (1999)
Image from: Primal Force (1999)
Image from: Primal Force (1999)
When a civilian plane crashes on a deserted Mexican island, a rescue team is put together and leader Scott Davis goes to Frank Brodie for help as Brodie supposedly has the most knowledge of this uncharted island. While the pilot of the crashed plane comes to an immediate sticky end, the other two survive and await rescue. When the team reaches them, Brody opens fire on an unseen menace, killing a large baboon in the process. Brodie then explains that these baboons have been bred to kill (a fact he didn't think to mention before going to the island) and the team find themselves quickly becoming the prey of a species of baboon that have been developed to be hunters and killers.

The concept is not anything new and I'm not one to judge ¿¿¿ it might have worked if it had been given the chance. Who knows, with the right mood and effort put into it, this film may have been a gripping little thriller. Sadly as it is, everything conspires to make this boring, flat and lacking any real atmosphere at all. The plot is lacking any sense of logic and it doesn't even try to really explain anything to a satisfactory level; preferring instead just to try and quickly get things out and move past them. This is not a major problem though, if the film had really delivered the goods in terms of pace and action but here it falls down too. The threat of the baboons changes to meet the requirements of the film ¿¿¿ one minute they are seconds away, next they are just on the edges waiting for our characters to finish preparing for their attack. The attacks are a mess of quick cuts and the film never makes the baboons produce a constant tension or pace. In between these poor attacks, the dialogue and characters are poor and totally failed to engage me on any level.

The director uses zoom ins to try and generate excitement but he fails; likewise his use of quick cuts feels gimmicky and forced. The cast mostly struggle to come across as excited in the face of all this and few make much of an impact. Perlman is such a gruff presence that he is nearly always worth seeing ¿¿¿ in fact he was the reason I thought I'd give it a go. Here he did what I expected and was quite good despite the material but he is on his own with a supporting cast of fillers and by-the-numbers performances. Kiely is a standard action man while none of Zal, Peterson, Rios etc make any mark at all and I never cared about any of them.

Overall this is a standard film that has nothing really going for it. Perlman is better than the film deserves but nothing else really stands up to be counted: the baboons are never a consistent threat, the direction is flat and uninspired while the cast are mostly TV actors running around trying to look scared. Not really worth seeing unless you are a massive Perlman fan.


Review by bob the moo from the Internet Movie Database.