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Not even the good ol' "Inspired by true events" tag can save Primeval from itself. But there's still time for you to save yourself from Primeval!


With stories like this who even needs the "Inspired by true events" shield? Primeval tells of the world's most prolific killer, Gustave. You see, Gustave is a crocodile, and he remains at large to this day. His thirst for human blood goes unpublicized until he chows down on a white woman, at which point an American newsman, Tim Manfrey (Dominic Purcell), his cameraman, Steven (Orlando Jones), and TV personality Aviva (Brooke Langton) head down to Burundi, Africa, where they hope to document the capture of Gustave. They're joined by a wildlife preservationist of sorts (Gideon Emery)—a rare breed in a post-Steve Irwin world—who doesn't want to harm Gustave. The deep jungles of Africa become a veritable obstacle course when the locals, embroiled in a long-standing civil war and unwilling to have some damn Yankees televising their homeland, stand in the crew's way, not to mention Gustave proving an evasive 20-foot-long, um, little bugger!


The names might not ring a bell, but you've seen these three stooges before--all on TV, in fact. Purcell is currently enjoying about half the 15 minutes of fame of Wentworth Miller on Fox's slipping Prison Break. Purcell plays Tim with steel and virility as he hides his Aussie accent for the most part, but he's still got a ways to go to reach Clive Owen's caliber of acting--and more importantly, Owen's caliber of roles. Langton, of The Net (the TV show adapted from the Sandra Bullock movie of the same name) and Melrose Place fame, shows off the beauty that will afford endless opportunities to prove herself as a "real" actress—which is ironically similar to her character's plight—but will never get there with roles in movies like Primeval. And Jones, still best known for and plagued by his 7-Up commercials, is in true negligible-sidekick mode here--worthy of a snicker approximately once out of every dozen times he tries, overzealously, to get one.


Jaws may come to mind based on the water creature-stalking-man plot, but, well, it's tough to even mention those two in the same sentence. Director Michael Katleman, a TV fixture himself, at least doesn't even aim high enough to reach that level. No, from the get-go he's shooting more for an Anacondas feel—and yes, that's the horrific sequel to the so-terrible-it's-fun J.Lo "original." Katleman almost reaches Anacondas-ian highs but not quite. Among other notable problems, the director cannot for one moment strike the right balance between the aforementioned level of guilty pleasure-dom and genuine horror. Instead, he catches us off guard with what are supposed to be the thrills—and also with the comedy. Finally, once Gustave is revealed, which should essentially be the moviegoers' reward, the croc looks more a prop sitting in a theme-park lot. And the script, from John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris (Terminator 3 co-writers)—well, let's just hope, with the story being uber-derivative and cheesy enough as it is, Orlando Jones ad-libbed all of his unlaughable comedy!

Bottom Line rated this film 1 star.