Year
1999

Starring
Ron Perlman, Mark Kiely, Kimberlee Peterson, Roxana Zal

Directed by
Nelson McCormick

Tagline
None

Synopsis

After a corporate plane crashes on an exotic Mexican isle, a rescue team is dispatched to look for survivors. The team enlists the help of a local guide, who is still burdened by the ghosts of his past and his sordid history with the island. Together, they must confront the true evil that looms over the tropical paradise: a troop of murderous, genetically-altered baboons.

Review

A long time ago, I remember flipping through the channels and catching the last ten minutes of this movie on the SyFy channel. It was just one of those movies you kind of need to see in order to believe it exists. I’d never seen the film in its entirety, but something about Ron Perlman getting into a knife fight with a mutated baboon just kind of stuck with me all through the years. The film randomly popped into my head the other day, so I tracked it down on Youtube and watched it with my dad.

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Despite the absurdity of the plot, actors play the whole thing seriously. Ron Perlman of Hellboy fame stars as the rugged, gun wielding guide for the rescue team and he’s easily the best part of the film because… Well, because he’s motherfucking Ron Perlman. I am a big fan of his and I would watch him face off against genetically-altered toaster strudels if I had to(if such a movie exists, please let me know). His character is given the most to do with a decent redemptive arc and Perlman really swings for the fences when it comes to the “loner haunted by the ghosts of his past” thing. Overall, I would say the acting in the film is one of its strongest components across the board, with maybe one or two “questionable” performances.

One of the movie’s biggest flaws is its annoying habit of not making any sense. Now I know that seems like a weird complaint to level at a movie based on the premise of an island overrun by mutant baboons. However, I’m talking about common sense stuff here. Characters seem to do nonsensical things purely to move the plot forward or to set up production pieces. For example, when the rescue team first approaches Perlman with the job offer, Perlman simply tells them that if they go to the island, they will all die. I can appreciate why he might not specifically mention the island is overrun by evil, super baboons, but you can do a little better than if you go, you’ll die. Another example is when the baboons decide to abduct a chick for seemingly no purpose other than to have Ron Perlman rescue her. Little nonsensical things like that add up, bringing the whole production down.

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This movie is also full of 90’s action cliches that seem especially contrived because they aren’t done well. All I’ll say is someone on the production team was really into slow mo, John Woo gun foo, action scenes. I actually think the movie could have benefited if they had gone more into a suspense thriller route. You can hide the low funds of a production better, while simultaneously building tension. It worked great for Jaws and I think it would have helped this movie as well. You end up seeing a lot of folk in baboon costumes. It would have been cooler if you felt their presence more than actually saw it. Poor editing and directing didn’t help either.

This is by no means a good movie, but it does provide an entertainment value in a cringy sort of way. Unlike other terribly cheesy, low budget sci-fi movies such as the Sharknado series, Primal Force looks like it was aspiring to be something more and was a pretty easy watch despite its flaws. Unlike Legion, I would watch this again with friends and that’s saying something. 

Is Ron Perlman VS Killer Baboons enough to make you watch this movie? What are some of your favorite Ron Perlman movies? Let me know in the comments below.

Posted by Nachthymnen Carcharoth