Idris Elba attempts to escape from a ruthless lion and the idiocy of his family in Beast, a moderately fun if incredibly stupid action-thriller.
Elba plays a surgeon who has traveled to somewhere in Africa with his two daughters to visit a friend and go on safari. When they encounter a lion who is killing every living thing in its path, he is forced to lead his family to safety.
Whether they deserve to be saved is another story.
His daughters are just plain dumb. One repeatedly wanders off, jumps out of hiding places, and makes other decisions that not only are questionable but literally defy our most innate survival instincts. His older daughter opts to dwell on family drama, the kind of thing that would only happen in a crappy movie to fill gaps between action scenes.
I wouldn’t call Beast crappy, though. Director Baltasar Kormákur operates the film at a relentless pace, which clocks in at a mere 90 minutes. Things are always in motion, constantly pressing forward, that he rarely gives you time to process the inanity of his characters. There’s solid carnage throughout, and more than anything Beast thrives off a frenetic energy that doesn’t let up until the closing credits.
The lion special effects are also worth drawing attention to; they’re quite good and very effective.
Beast would have undoubtedly benefited from a better script, but if you’re looking for dumb fun, the movie is a streamlined piece of simple entertainment.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.