Beast (Action) (2022)
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writer: Ryan Engle, Jaime Primak Sullivan
Stars: Idris Elba, Sharlto Copley, Iyana Halley, Leah Sava Jeffries
While taking a tour through a wildlife reserve in South Africa, a father who recently lost his wife visits a friend alongside his daughters. As they progress through the savannah, they're confronted by the realities of poaching and a ferocious lion intent on showing his species' ferocity.
In a primal way, Baltasar Kormákur's "Beast" seems similar to 2020s "Rogue" by M.J. Bassett. In comparison, both feature similar themes, "Beast", though, centres around the safety of the pack and familial bonds. The film has been joint-produced by American production company Will Packer Productions and the Icelandic RVK Studios and was distributed by Universal Pictures.
Recently losing his wife to cancer, Dr. Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) retreats to South Africa on a trip to reconnect with his wife's roots. Meeting an old family friend in Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley), Samuels and his daughters explore the nearby reserve. They soon discover a Tsonga village to be slaughtered, as a fierce lion mauls Martin leaving the family of three to fight to survive.
Through hyperbolic means, "Beast" displays the instinctual compulsion to protect family in the wildest of situations. Lions provide both a vital part of the narrative shown and a metaphor for Dr. Samuels protecting his figurative cubs.
An action film featuring Idris Elba going fisticuffs with a feral lion presents about as tense and ridiculous as you'd expect. Within, though, also lies a heartbroken father and his daughters trying to cope with the loss of a mother, all in their own distinct ways. There are many moments of drama as both Elba's Samuels and his daughters in Halley and Jeffries' characters attempt to find peace within the South African landscape and a listening ear in Copley's Martin Battles. Tranquillity doesn't last long as "Beast" fuses action with slight horror foreshadowing.
If you'd expect anything but the conventional within, "Beast", it might not be as satiating as human flesh is to the wild lion. Once leaving that behind, watching this safari tussle with an empty mind can be amusing. The film isn't meant to be in any way realistic, but wondrous views of the landscape will almost make you want to book a flight. Thankfully enough budget was spent on the visual effect, as often this'll be the most noticeable area of faltering for the average viewer, only a few shots with the hostile lion specifically break that barrier and lifts the suspension of disbelief.
Still, there's enough in "Beast" to stay hooked for its duration, which is just about enough not to bore; animal lovers won't have a fun time, though, despite seeing the savagery of this lion, as it features a multitude of poachers and unnecessary harm towards these animals. But, for those cinephiles fond of action-packed scuffles, it serves the popcorn entertainment purpose.
More beast rather than beauty.