An action movie that’s lion around.

“Beast” is the better survival movie than last week’s “Fall,” which had to rely on typical cliches to make the film longer. But it still could have been more dangerous and exciting in terms of its story. It has the look and feel of an exciting action thriller about a family man and a dangerous lion, but it could have pushed itself further.

We’re in the middle of August, when movies aren’t doing as much business as in the beginning of the summer. I can’t really recommend “Beast,” but I’m pretty sure that moviegoers, who have already seen the better action films (“Top Gun: Maverick,” “Bullet Train,” etc.), might need something else to gaze at. There’s a lot to look at, if only a powerful story could go wild. It has potential. Let’s put it at that.

The movie stars Idris Elba as a recent widow named Dr. Nate Samuels, who takes this two daughters (Leah Jeffries and Iyana Halley) to South Africa-the same place where he met his wife and their mother. They have an old family friend named Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley), who also serves as their guide and wildlife biologist.

It has to start with the typical line: “We don’t have any WiFi,” and “There’s a lot to see, that you won’t need your phone.” It middles with the beauty of South Africa and its majestic creatures. Next, it becomes the survival thriller with some poachers trying to drag them down. And all of them tries to be balanced by a ferocious lion. This ain’t Simba.

Martin has such a bond with a pack of lions, that they’re able to greet him and Nate. But unlike those lions, they find themselves dealing with a lion so fierce and deadly, it was able to take out an entire village with one fell swoop.

Nate must get his girls to safety, but they end up in a car accident with very limited water until they can find help. So, now, it’s a game of man vs. beast. Then, comes the poachers who find out their friend Martin cares for the lions, and would soon get chewed upon by the big lion.

And finally comes the confrontation between Nate and the lion. It’s entertaining, but silly in the ways that he can fight back. If he was a short and out-of-shape actor in real life, he probably wouldn’t have a fighting chance. But I don’t judge by size.

Elba gives a good performance in the ways his character struggles to protect his family, while trying to figure out his daughter’s aspects of their mother and how much he loved her. And Copley is likable as his friend, who gets injured and is able to dodge the hungry lion, with some help, of course.

Director Baltasar Kormakur (in first film since “Adrift”) makes “Beast” look remarkable with its images of the African country, and exciting with how the father must protect his daughters. But he needed to make the film longer and more detailed in order for us to really get sinked in.

Let’s look at the bright side. At least, Elba doesn’t have to wear a green suit. He has to portray a human.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4.

Categories: Adventure, Drama, Horror

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