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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 23.33%
Pretty Bad: 20%
Total Crap46.67%

4 reviews, 6 user ratings

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by William Goss

"Not A Complete Croc"
3 stars

Mediocrity is a helluva thing.

See, by creature feature standards, the killer crocodile flick Primeval is just about watchable. It follows the typical plot: a news crew – consisting of diet leading man Dominic Purcell, attractive-but-intelligent Brooke Langton, and token black guy Orlando Jones – is sent overseas to investigate claims of a legendary creature (a croc named Gustave) and inevitably verify its existence in the face of mortal danger.

Sure enough, Jaws gets name-checked early on, and a tracking beacon proves to be the modern digital (read: beeping) equivalent to those yellow barrels in that undeniably superior film. We have the vengeful hunter (Jürgen Prochnow), the animal expert (Gideon Emery, bearing a likely deliberate resemblance to the late Steve Irwin and a more inadvertent likeness to Denis Leary), and the loyal local guide, among other native red-shirts, and just as expected, they will end up stranded and fending for their lives on their remote island station. In a move of equal consideration and conservation, a subplot involving a warlord who, all too bodingly, shares the croc’s name flares up now and then to provide action without necessarily eating up the effects budget before the hour mark.

Until then, our protagonists journey across war-torn Burundi and deliver dialogue that is frequently along the lines of “You don’t seem stupid, so you must be insane.” That is, whenever the pigeonholed Jones isn’t spouting out zingers about slavery and ass-tapping (not to mention jokes about O.J. Simpson, Queen Latifah, and Lee Harvey Oswald! Is nothing sacred?). Along the way is many a dead-end scene, with new characters and clothing popping up out of the blue (in what must’ve been a severe matter of consistency, Mr. Purcell’s shirts never do find themselves fully buttoned). Requisite eye candy Langton is certainly cute enough to get by for the most part, although one scene of dishevelment later does transform her into a remarkable ringer for a possible sister of Adrien Brody’s. (Of the two, Purcell regrettably outdoes Langton in the cleavage department. Sigh.)

What initially seems to be mercifully skimpy exposition soon falls victim to superfluous scenes with the local tribe and false scares that never come, and soon enough, the first hour becomes a demonstration in the consequences of poor editing. Although they aren’t cut as frantically as recent thrillers, scenes are frequently ended rather abruptly, often fading to black or white mid-attack for no apparent reason. It really doesn’t come across as a film snipped to satisfy the MPAA, but whatever meager suspense was building swiftly evaporates. Were the proceedings not so violently interrupted, one could appreciate the brisk clip with which the plot moves along, although it still takes about an hour to finally get a good look at the creature. Then we finally get some decent glimpses of good old Gustave, rendered with quite serviceable digital effects (I doubt that a cast like this seriously cut into the effects budget). Only on occasion does director Michael Katleman seem entirely comfortable with flaunting the beast in wider, steadier shots, and while such fine dialogue falls by the wayside during the climax, the characters still succumb to the hackneyed likes of stray dog rescue and vehicles stuck in mud.

It may not have a distinctive sense of humor, or even a surplus of gore, but as far as the lowered expectations of attacking-animals cinema goes, 'Primeval' will either get the job done or come frustratingly close. Jones remarks at one point on how “this shit is embarrassing.” Little does he know that, with a tweak or two, there’s some perfectly good crap to be found here.

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originally posted: 01/12/07 20:13:53
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User Comments

9/09/07 Rachel It was amzing, i love it! 5 stars
9/08/07 jyfujrxf it was awsome and if u think it was shit ur shit 5 stars
6/18/07 action movie fan a bit too hyper and overloaded but last half hour was exciting 3 stars
2/03/07 g-c-c Political statement disguised as horror movie..and bad CGI too. 1 stars
1/30/07 Roger Sheebi Probably the best movie ever... or at least since the Toxic Avenger 5 stars
1/16/07 steve owen to quote kool and the gang, "misled." this movie is a crock o' shit! 1 stars
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  12-Jan-2007 (R)
  DVD: 12-Jun-2007


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