Title – Beast (2022)
Director – Baltasar Kormákur (Everest)
Cast – Idris Elba, Sharlto Copley, Iyana Halley, Leah Jeffries
Plot – The recently widowed Dr. Nate Samuels (Elba) must fight for his and his daughters survival when he comes face to face with a man-killing lion that has Samuels and his family in his sights in the unforgiving African savanna.
Review by Eddie on 10/05/2023
There’s no one out there questioning if Idris Elba can act (we know the man can!) but there is likely a large portion of eager cinemagoers that must be wondering who on earth his agent is and why can’t they find the beloved British actor some decent feature film roles!
Famed for his unforgettable turns in hit TV shows The Wire and Luther, Elba has been struggling since the mid 90’s to find films to be a part of that are worthy of his talent, with the odd delights like Beasts of No Nation or American Gangster rare films that are surrounded by the likes of The Dark Tower, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Mountain Between Us, Cats and his newest effort Beast the dominate type of product that makes one wonder if Elba will ever be able to replicate his success on the small screen into the big screen world.
To be fair, Baltasar Kormakur’s movie was never going to be anything more than a B-movie but just because it had its ambitions set low didn’t mean there wasn’t significant fun to be had watching Elba’s softly spoken widowed Dr. Nate Samuels go toe to toe (toe to paw?) against a rampaging lion that has decided he’s going on a hunt for humans in the unforgiving surrounds of the African savanna that Samuels, his old friend Martin Battles and his two teenage daughters find themselves exploring at precisely the wrong time.
A familiar set up in both proposition and execution, Beast follows the well trodden path of countless other man vs beast thrillers that have been delighting audiences for numerous decades previously but despite a strong start that makes you hopeful that Beast, Kormakur and Elba are all working together to give us a rare Hollywood B-movie that is actually worth enduring, the film quickly gives way to increasingly unlikely happenings (even well before you witness Elba bare knuckle box an apex predator), bad CGI and uninspired characters with no real care from us the audience as too who comes out on top in this battle of wills, wits and brawn.
Showing some signs of promise in times past with some entertaining if forgettable Hollywood efforts like Everest, 2 Guns and Contraband, Kormakur is unable to instil his decently budgeted effort with much energy or creativity that appears possible early on but gives way to a tiresome ticking off of boxes that once more see’s Elba’s undeniable charisma stunted by a film with a weak script and poor set-ups, leaving the talented performer with far too much too do with far too little, making Beast an almost passable diversion that should have been considered unworthy of someone like Elba’s skill set.
Final Say –
Delivering exactly what it sold itself on doing but in a way that is neither interesting or entertaining after a short amount of time, Beast knows what it is but is unable to make us care with a plotline that very quickly runs out of steam despite a falsely promising start.
2 lion hugs out of 5
Thanks for reviewing this one, I’ve only read one other and hadn’t decided to give it a try or not. Idris Elba can certainly act as you said, and is deserving of what seems like could be better roles.
Certainly is one of those films you don’t expect a lot from but it certainly could’ve been a lot better this one!
It will be interesting to see if all the chatter about Elba being the new James Bond comes true, might just be what his feature film career needs.