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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Michael Katleman

Dominic Purcell
Brooke Langton
Orlando Jones

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What's it about
A camera crew heads to Africa to film the capture of Africa's most notorious serial killer: the crocodile known as Gustave. Since the county's in civil unrest, they soon become the targets of African warlords... political thriller meets killer croc movie ensues.
Is it good movie?
PRIMEVAL is like watching two different kinds of movies at the same time. On the one hand, it's a political thriller showing us the horrors of living in Africa, and the violence that is prominent throughout the country. On the other hand, it's a monster movie, with the main monster in question is Gustave, the gigantic killer crocodile that has killed thousands of Africans over the years. Personally, I'll take a killer croc movie over a political thriller any day of the week... but hey, that's just me!

The cast of characters wasn't bad, with PRISON BREAK's Dominic Purcell rockin' the role of the badass reporter, Orlando Jones as his wise-crackin' camera man, and Brooke Langton as the reporter who's actually serious about being there and doing her job. Jones stood out in the crowd for me, as he fulfilled his role as comic relief and then some. This dude's funny! Give the man some more work!

The actual crocodile scenes were pretty exciting and fun to watch, reminiscent of superior monster movies (like JAWS), but still entertaining enough to hold your attention and not let go. Nothing ground-breaking or 'new' when it came to the croc, but it did know how to brutally eat folks left and right, making the body count high enough to satisfy the biggest gore-hound. If you were disappointed by LAKE PLACID's lack of dead people, you'll find more than enough here to make up for it!

I also really dug the setting, as there were plenty of landscape shots of Africa to make even National Geographic jealous, with the color palate and look all of it's own. Basically, it looked good and the scenery never bored me.

So what's the problem, then? There wasn't a lot of build-up for the croc, I was never really afraid the damn thing was gonna come out and eat people at any moment- in fact, I was looking forward to dinner time. Maybe it was because I didn't really care all that much about the main characters, or that I just tend to root for the bad guy- either way, Gustave as a villain was just kind of 'blah' for me. That's not to say that when he showed up it wasn't intense and exciting - it was - but in the end, it was forgettable. I mean, even shite like ANACONDA had some memorable moments- this one had nada! And why is it that it's utterly impossible to make a CGI croc look real? Every movie I've seen with one, whether it's PLACID or ERASER, they all have that 'too fluid for their own good' look to that that I can never buy- and here, it's no different.

Finally, the whole political angle didn't really mesh well with me here. If I wanted to watch a movie about the horrors and injustice happening in Africa, I'd rent THE CONSTANT GARDENER or HOTEL RIWANDA- not a movie about a giant man eating crocodile! These parts took the 'fun' out of the monster movie angle, and slapped an ugly 'too real' element that I just wasn't down for. These parts were well done and all, they just felt out of place, considering the type of movie.

Video / Audio
Video: 2.35:1 Widescreen. The look was crisp and clean, no complaints here.

Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Great during the croc attack scenes, adequate for everything else.

The Extras
"Croc-umentary: Bringing Gustave to Life": This feature focuses on bringing Gustave the crocodile to life through computer and special effects. While it was a pretty cool 'how'd they do that' feature, the fact that the croc looks pretty damn fake throughout made it hard to watch these guys sit around and talk about what an awesome job they did to make it look real.

Deleted Scenes: Here you can watch 3 deleted scenes, or rather, extended scenes that were already in the film. This feature would've been cool, except you're forced to listen to Commentary from the Director and Special Effects Coordinator- there's just no way to turn it off. Lame!

Audio Commentary with Director Michael Katleman and Visual Effects Supervisor Paul Linden: If you're really into listening to commentaries, this is one to watch as the director is super into the movie, and obviously has a great deal of passion for it. If you normally don't check out commentaries... skip it.

Last Call
In 5 years, no one will remember this movie was even made, but for the right here and now, it accomplished it's goals of being an entertaining killer croc flick, filled with enough chases, deaths and CGI croc footage to satisfy even the mildest monster movie fan. Whie I wasn't really into the political aspect of the film (a little too 'real' for me), it was based on a true story, so telling the story without it probably wouldn't have been a good idea either. If you enjoyed LAKE PLACID and THE CONSTANT GARDENER, you'll likely get a kick out of PRIMEVAL.
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