Primal Force (TV Movie 1999) Poster

(1999 TV Movie)

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Formula monster movie done extremely well
drystyx7 March 2007
No mistake, this is a formula movie. The cynic imposed upon to go on a dangerous quest, teaching the others about the dangers. But it done exceptionally well. Ron Perlman has earned a lot of respect. He gives what could have been a stereotype a lot of character, but it isn't all him. Credit must also be given to the writers, director, and rest of the crew. It was a good team effort. The result is a fun, riveting film that leaves you hanging. The monsters in the case are mutant savage primates on an island. Perlman has dealt with before, and doesn't feel any impulse to deal with them again. He is coaxed into it, however. The story is good. The action well directed, the danger well defined. It lacks the silly blood and gore all over the place all the time that more comically inclined movies have, so you take it much more seriously. The reactions of the characters are well filmed. Stands out in the B monster movie genre.
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It's Not That Bad
Theo Robertson3 May 2005
A TVM that has an average vote of 3.6 ! Oh come on guys if this was a weepy drama with Jayne Seymour racing to save little Tammy from a life threatening illness this would be getting something in the region of a 5.5 average . At least some TV company realised that lads just home from the pub deserve TVMs sometimes

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
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Retro Cheese-Fest
smittie-112 December 2005
Say what you will, but this engaging and cruddy little film has at least one major thing going for it- Mr. Ron Perlman, the hardest working, most underrated man to cruise the B-movie circuit since Brad Dourif. Plus, it's got a delicious monologue from the requisite mad scientist.

"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 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.
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A Genuine Review of Primal Force
Aliens2Alien80 888822227 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Primal Force is a 1999 straight to video hidden gem. Yes Primal Force is a bad movie but here is why I love it. First I treasured the times this would come on the old Syfy channel and it was a big part of my child hood. Secondly I think that the actors know this is a silly movie,I think the director knows this is a silly movie, but they have fun with it and that is what really matters. I think the special EFx are energetic and reminiscent of a time long gone. Of course the film is very silly and not for people who want to see a serious flick, this is very much a Saturday night B movie. See this flick (if you can find it) if you like cheesy B movies with some class. Skip it if you hate cheesy B movies about killer animals. 8/10
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best film of 1999
V3RGE5 August 2002
This movie has all the characteristics of an oscar winner. Its a crafty tail of an island of killer baboons. The baboons are absolutely terrifying and I want to congratulate the makeup artist. The acting is also top-notch. In my honest opinion Ron Perlman delivers the best performance of his life. I insist that you rush to the video store right now and rent this movie. It is that good.
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Great star, shame about the movie
Helen Chavez29 November 2001
Not bad for a TV movie, but - well, could have been a whole lot better, both script and direction-wise. The baboons weren't that convincing either. (Trying to be kind, here ...)

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.
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Mutant Killer Baboons! Sadly not a good movie...
dannybonler28 April 2001
Yes... it's another one of those "I can't believe somebody actually thought this would be a good film" movies. Admittedly, the premise is deliciously ludicrous (clean cut Americans menaced on godforsaken island by mutant killer baboons!) but once the film starts you realise that 'Primal Force' is BEYOND bad. The characters are ridiculous simpering idiots... their actions are completely schitzophrenic. One minute they are running frantically from a location in fear for their lives, another they are sitting calmly back in the same spot they were running from beforehand. Who wrote the script to this thing? One of the characters knows about the killer baboons, but rather than warning anybody else ("Um, did I mention this island is populated by mutant killer baboons?") he decides to keep quiet and occasionally deliver gruff hints at the carnage to follow ("They've shent you on a shooicide mission"). And the baboons themselves? Well, you'de think they would make them look mutant... indeed, some good costume design and effects work could possibly have saved the movie... but instead they simply make the baboons look like, well, your every day baboon. All in all, Primal Force is clearly an attempt at Jurrassic Park, only with men in monkey suits. It's irredeemably inept scripting and it's dull and predictable plot developments make it one of the worst of the generally dire 'evil creatures' films. Please don't waste your life watching this. Unless your an acute masochist with a penchant for bog standard nature gone wrong flicks. In which case it might be exactly your kind of thing. Worse than Deep Rising. And that's saying something.
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This is cool!
lady_y11 November 1999
I watched this movie just because of Ron Perlman but I liked it not only because of his brilliant play. Hard to find a good sci-fi movie but this is the one! This is horror movie that has a plot which is a rare case. I mean, some movies of this type show you only scary scenes, without any explanations what characters feel and other stuff. "Primal force" is a nice thing.
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Sometimes being left to live is the worst monkey on your back.
Tressa Breen30 April 2005
A small charter plane has crashed on a banned and supposedly lifeless island, stranding the pilot, a real estate broker and a wealthy young woman. The rescue team put together to go in, unable to contract a professional adviser, as all believe the isle is cursed, are forced to hire the only guide available; a drunken ill tempered recluse, who's spent the last decade attempting to running from the memories of animal experimentation gone horribly wrong. Now, with the recovery crew, he will be going into his nightmare, and it is viciously wide awake.

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.
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Mmm good
The_Triad8 June 2006
I liked Primal Force a lot more than I thought I was going to. The film is about a group of people sent into a small island to rescue people who have been in a plane crash, the catch is that the island is overrun by killer hybrid baboons. Ron Perlman plays the guy tortured by his memories of being on the island who gets brought in to help the team find the survivors. There was both good and bad examples of acting and directing and such forth in the film, but when the directing came of as bad it was because the director was taking risks, some of them worked and some of them didn't but he should be commended for doing so. I was quite surprised how much I got into the film towards the end, especially as I was expecting something that would raise a chuckle at how bad it was, in the end I found the film wasn't bad enough so that I couldn't laugh at it, but it didn't have that little something to make it worth a strong recommendation. So if you want a little action thrills with a bit of cheese, this could be for you.
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Cheesy killer baboon outing
Leofwine_draca16 March 2015
A typically low budget, cheesy TV movie monster flick, starring Ron Perlman before he became a well-known Hollywood player. This one feels like a Sci-Fi Channel movie, even though it isn't, and it was filmed in Mexico, so at least it has something going for it. The plot sees a pack of genetically-modified baboons invading a small island, where they kill off anything and everything that moves. Unluckily for them, two survivors of a plane crash are stranded on the same island, so a rescue party headed by the grizzly Perlman is sent to rescue them.

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.
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Some deserted islands really are fun...
Vomitron_G20 September 2009
Damn it, I actually had a lot of fun watching this made-for-TV rubbish. Here we have a whole bunch of aggressive mutant-killer-baboons on an island. A plane with a few people on it, crashes on the island and a special force team, guided by a traumatized alcoholic Ron Perlman, gets sent in to rescue them. You know the drill: one by one they go down and who will survive? Watch this for Ron Perlman. His one-liners keep getting better and better throughout the movie! The primates in this film are supposed to be mutants, but they pretty much look like regular baboons to me. Except for the fact that they're extremely violent. The film itself, kind of plays out like a survival video-game: A not too complicated plot, rigged together with scenes where you just have to shoot your way from one location to another. Too bad I wasn't doing the shooting.
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Good actor, bad film
lynn-4312 September 1999
The movie isn't very good. The baboons are ludicrous. No one survives a fight with a regular baboon, much less a huge mutant. But Ron Perlman is a fine actor, and that made it worth watching. Another example of his talent wasted on inferior material.
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Casual production.
shanfloyd16 June 2003
A much-told story, a reluctant direction, some incompetent actors... Primal Force never seemed something unusual than a cheap TV feature. Basically the plot is a cheaper modification of Michael Crichton's Congo... where Perlman stars as a macho, experienced hunter and guide.

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.
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not bad for a monkey monster movie,
johncavanagh3 June 2006
But not bad enough, i was hoping this would fall into the so bad it good category but alas no. This movie was so bad it was bad, but that did not stop me from watching it till the end. It would not of taken much to make this either good as in made for TV good or bad as in straight to video bad, u know the kind of bad movie that your little brother brings home when he has seen all the new releases in the video store and he doesn't know what else to get.


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...

Rgds John
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Comic Masterpiece
k-a-w-a-d-a30 October 2005
Primal Force is a terrible movie but it's one of those ones that's so bad you actually enjoy it. Now, Ron Pearlman is a fine actor but this film probably isn't one of his proudest moments.

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.
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"It ain't broke but lets fix it anyway...what the hell!" Monkey business ahoy!
Paul Andrews11 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The made for TV film Primal Force begins with Frank Brodie (Ron Pearlman) waking up from a recurring nightmare about his mate being killed by some Baboons. There is a knock on Frank's door, he answers it & standing before him is a guy named Scott Davis (Mark Kiely) who has been told that he knows San Miguel Island better than anyone else & that he needs his help to lead a rescue mission as a plane recently crashed there. Eventually Brodie agrees, together with a female medic named Tara Matthews (Roxana Zal) a computer guy named Stan Kovacs (Julian Sedgwick) & Eddie Mendoza (Guillermo Rios) who carries a gun, gets in the way & does very little else, they set off for San Miguel Island. Meanwhile on the Island itself the three survivors, the pilot (Jimy Hefner), a real estate guy named Deutsch (Richard Fancy) & a pretty young girl named Kelsey Cunningham (Kimberlee Peterson) whose Father is interested in buying the Island, are deciding what to do when a group of vicious genetically altered Baboons kill the pilot. Kelsey & Deutsch just sort of run away. Our heavily armed group of rescuers, lead by Brodie, arrive on the Island via boat. Scott feels Brodie is withholding some information but they troop on regardless of all the human & animal skulls they find. They find Kelsey & Deutsch but they are all attacked by the genetic Baboons. The Baboons now know they're on the Island & will stop at nothing to kill the intruders as Brodie has to use his experience & firepower to keep everyone alive, with varying degrees of success. If that wasn't enough the guy (Bruno Danza) driving the boat has buggered off leaving them stranded & the Baboons have killed Kovacs & destroyed the radio equipment. As the survivors run low on ammo & morale they decide to fight back against the Baboons!

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!
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So bad, I had to watch it again
organised7 January 2008
Primal Force gave me as much laughter as any comedy I can remember in recent years. It was so bad throughout, it was almost good and I HAD to watch it again to make sure I wasn't just imagining 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!
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Who agreed to loan these people real apes?
fallingdownstairs3 June 2006
A incredibly innovative film tackling those issues that the major studios are afraid to discuss. An amazingly low budget film, the fact that the guy from hellboy was in it was the only thing that kept me from reaching the remote. A poor decision.

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.
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Poor narrative, poor direction and limited budget combine to rob this of any tension it may have had
bob the moo19 April 2005
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.
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Totally uninvolving
Jack7 September 2004
This is about the survivors of a plane crash and the rescuers who come to escort them back to safety. They crash on an island that is inhabited by killer baboons, and Perlman's character is your stock cliché who knows the secret of the island, is haunted by the memories, drinks a lot, but puts on a courageous show in combating his fears, blah blah blah. The only other character worthy of note is the spoiled little rich girl who survived the plane crash. She could have almost carried the movie if there had been perhaps one more interesting character for her to interact with, but there wasn't. There's also a doctor who says the most spectacularly stupid thing in the whole movie. After finding the crash survivors, and needing to get off the island as quickly as possible to escape the baboons, she states that the survivors are in no condition to travel. Um, lady, the survivors just spent all day hiking around the island. Are they too tired now? It's the sort of stupidity that almost makes you yell at your TV set.

The story wasn't bad overall, but the fact that the characters were so uninteresting and not really sympathetic left me not really caring.
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A primal mutation.
sibisi732 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Deliriously awful mish-mash of 'Congo' and 'The Island Of Dr. Moreau' with Ron Perlman leading a rescue mission to find the survivors from a crashed plane on a remote tropical island. His is the only character with any kind of backstory, given that he escaped the island after the genetically mutated baboons ran amok killing all the playboy hunters they'd been so delicately reared to entertain. How did this ever look like a good idea? Any remotely interesting subplot about the dangers of messing with nature are jettisoned for a below average action flick featuring some of the dumbest people you've ever seen. Once we are on the island it's just one long game of hide and seek, with no development whatsoever, and, unforgivably, the one person you'd like to see eaten first actually survives!

Totally, irredeemably bad, with the least scary monsters since Dr. Who - unless you're petrified by huge poodles.
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