Primal Force (1999 TV Movie)
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Yeah okay it's not an original plot as it features a deserted island , baboons on the rampage , the survivors of a plane crash , a macho man with internal demons that manifest itself as a drink problem etc . If Steven Spielberg directed this movie it would make lots of money at the box office and everyone would say it was a great movie . If I remember correctly Spielberg did indeed do a very similar movie in 1993
If JURRASSIC PARK 4 ooopps I mean PRIMAL FORCE suffers from anything it suffers from some internal continuity where a minor character is all alone and gets killed by a troop of baboons while a major character is alone with the mutant monkeys but for some reason the baboons don't attack thereby allowing the hero to turn up and rescue the character . I also noticed that the scenes where the baboons attack suffer from editing that is cut far too quickly which makes it difficult to see what's going on which is a common problem with these cheap and cheerful low budget productions . I feel no shame in giving this six out of ten
"Radical? I will show them 'radical'!" As modern TV movies go, Primal Force is more of a throw-back to an age when even the loosest, most derivative stories were set to celluloid with an intense determination and the utmost of integrity...no cheap shots or meta-jokes. Films like Alligator, Island of the Alive, and, of all things, Re-Animator had the same sort of consistent internal logic... and the tour-de-force acting styles of Michael Moriarty and Jeffrey Combs compare to Perlman's attempts at rising above the material. It is a modern movie, though, as the slightly irritating, music video style quick cuts and bwaa-bwaa electric riffs very quickly make clear. Aside from these minor quibbles and typical low budget continuity problems, Primal Force carries its modest concept cleanly through beginning to end, trying as hard as it can to make the material fresh and interesting. I've seen much worse on the Sci-Fi channel, anyway.
Anyone who enjoys '80s style nature-gone-wild flicks should take a look at least for Perlman.
Its one saving grace was a fine, well-observed performance by Ron Perlman as the nightmare-ridden guide, Frank Brodie. Always a delight to watch, he brought much-needed gravitas to an otherwise run-of-the-mill film. Haunted, grouchy and cynical, he shone in a cast that was generally lack-lustre.
Great star - shame about the movie.
This is average paint by numbers TV movie quality; dialogue is generally uninspired, sieve-like plot, and characters are stock (the spoiled little rich girl-Kimberlee Peterson, the chatty plotting business man-Richard Fancy, the doctor with a secret-Roxana Zal, the hard nosed tough guy-Mark Kiely, the haunted man-Ron Perlman). The acting runs from so-so to excellent. The camera angles and cuts are very frenetic, attempting to create a suspenseful atmosphere, and there are the obligatory stunt shots in slo-mo. Basically, it's a pizza and a movie evening TV fare.
Ron Perlman has the lead; a broken man unable to have a life because he stayed alive when many others did not. He takes a generic, usually one note role; the haunted man, and imbues him with multiply layers of emotional depth (quakingly fearful yet strong, bravery in spite of moments of cowardice, morose but dryly humorous, fatalistic yet willing to act, haunted but yet still able to hope, etc) turning in a well rounded, excellent performance.
Favorite Line(s): (Matthews/Zal) "They're evolving at an incredible rate! They're almost Neanderthal!" (Brodie/Perlman) "I'd like to get out of here before they get cable."
Worth a rent/buy for Ron Perlman fans.
What follows will surprise nobody: the group are whittled down by the killer baboons, while the bloodshed is kept to a bare minimum. The low budget hampers the production values, and the direction doesn't match the story: the baboon attacks are silly rather than frightening, and the special effects just aren't very special. Perlman is the only thing going for this, his performance standing out in a typical jumble of histrionic acting and clichéd situations.
The movie, however easy the plot is, could be made better. It is not, mostly due to casual production. There should have been use of a little more money, with a bit more tolerable camera work and special effects.
No one should ever watch this movie unless they have several friends over in the gaf and at least 2 or more mind bending narcotics. That may make it enjoyable. Actually turn the sound down and put on some tunes, it makes a good music video, i recommend desert island disks giles peterson Anyhow in drunk and angry because there is no way to get the last two odd hours of my life back so i should stop ranting...
Drunken Irish dude is going to bed...
It is hilarious at times. The 'mad scientist' giving his speech is unbearably funny and the psychopathic mutant baboons will make you wet yourself (not with fear, of course). When you're not dying of laughter, you'll be marvelling at just how bad this films is.
It is awful but I recommend it just because it's so much fun to watch a great 'bad' movie sometimes. If you're not up for Kurosawa or Tarkovsky, some beer, a few friends and Primal Force are a great way to spend an evening.
Directed by Nelson McCormick I thought Primal Force was an OK time waster but nothing that overly impressed me. The script by Micheal Thoma is about as clichéd as you expect of this sort of low budget TV production. First the characters, there's the moody, unshaven hero with personal demons to exorcise but turns out be be a throughly decent chap in the end, the clean cut hero, the computer whizz, the tough female character, the token nobody who is there to die & nothing else just so something happens & the character who has other more mysterious motives for being on the Island. The innocent plane crash victims aren't any better with the young pretty girl who screams a lot & the annoying selfish fat guy who doesn't care about anyone but himself. Then there's the story, a group becomes stranded in an isolated location & can't call for help, sound familiar? Group encounter living threat that wants to kill them all for no real reason at all, group run low on ammo even though they never actually run out & have to come up with other ways to defeat their enemy in a nail-biting (not) climax, been done yeah? Genetic experiments gone wrong. One character who gets abducted by the enemy & is not killed for some unexplained reason unlike everyone else who are killed on sight. You probably get the message. Having said all that for what it is I thought Primal Force was OK & rolled out the clichés with a certain degree of entertainment value. Ron Pearlman as the muscle bound, wise cracking Brodie is great & almost makes Primal Force worth watching on his own, everyone else is utterly forgettable. Unfortunately one area where Primal Force loses a couple of stars is in the violence department, basically it hasn't got any. This was obviously made with a fairly young teenage audience in mind as the blood, gore & nastiness is kept to an absolute minimum. The killer Baboons are just people in monkey suits, nothing particularly spectacular. Technically Primal Force is OK, it's very MTV in style with quick cuts, jerky hand held camera movements during the attacks, slow motion, bleached colours & every other flashy pointless trick you can think of. On the plus side the Mexican locations on occasion look stunning & a few nice shots here & there captures it well. Overall Primal Force isn't particularly good, but it ain't particularly bad either just sort of average & I think a decent helping of blood & gore would have helped no end to improve it!
There is always scope for a cliché low budget sci-fi/horror/action film to go wrong. If Primal Force was to be compared to meal, it would have to be 'Cheesy Chips'. Students will know what I am talking about.
Much has already been said about the wastage of Ron Perlman's talents on this movie, how badly made it is, how stupid the plot is, how low budget it is, how bad the effects are, how unconvincing the killer mutant baboons are, etc, etc. And all that is true in my opinion.
However, if what you want is a low budget b-movie that's as tacky as fondue and makes you laugh out loud, then this is just your cup of tea.
I feel there is something to like about genre films like this. Primal Force promised to be really bad right from the start and for me it delivered the goods and I was entertained as well as amused.
For all it's flaws, short-comings, it's lashings of cheesy clichés and predictable outcomes, I really enjoyed myself. The mutant killer primates are hilarious. And, then there's the mad professor who's totally lost the plot. His experiment has gone pear-shaped with disastrous consequences. Inspired stuff.
Such a volume of laughter gives me a sense of warmth and well-being. So I thank everyone who conspired to create Primal Force for that!
This film is as painfully predictable as it is financially restricted, with the director apparently unsure as to whether to plunge all of his cash into buying quality monkey suits for his actors/stuntmen or hiring real monkeys from the zoo. There is literally no good dialogue whatsoever. Written, shot and edited like a bad episode of "goosebumps" this is a film whose studpidity is only equalled by the ineptiude of all those unfortunate/ignorant people involved in the production of this turgid piece of action/adventure fun.
So, to summarise:
Rookie Explorer: "How many (killer baboons) do you think are in there?"
Grizzled, been there- killed it- got the tshirt Veteran: "1 or 2 less than a million" (referring to a cave which looks to be big enough to hold maybe 10 crazed apes at the most)
Cut To Next Scene; the cave has somehow morphed into a sandy bunker populated by a strange mix of confused looking baboons and desperate for work actors. They are all then killed having failed to realise that attacking one at a time isn't a great long term strategy. etc....
This film is what "Lost" will hopefully turn into.
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.
The story wasn't bad overall, but the fact that the characters were so uninteresting and not really sympathetic left me not really caring.
Totally, irredeemably bad, with the least scary monsters since Dr. Who - unless you're petrified by huge poodles.