Just how far will a father go to protect his family? An age-old question that has stumped civilization ever since the first blob of stem cells stood upright and beat its chest. And if we take what we’ve learned from Beast, a cautionary tale about nature’s laws of survival, we begin to understand that we’ve been asking the wrong question all along.

The real dispute we should try and settle is the question of just how many stupid mistakes and dumb decisions a father will make while trying to protect his family. And unfortunately, from Beast, we get the answer.

"watching Idris Elba punch a pesky lion smack-dab in the kisser might be worth the price of admission alone"

Competently directed by Baltasar Kormákur, well-acted by Idris Elba in an ass-kicking romp, and beautifully shot on location in South Africa by cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, Beast is felled by its faulty script from Ryan Engle (Rampage), who asks for way too much lenience for us to buy into what the film is selling.

That’s not to say there isn’t any fun to be had with it. There is. Just not enough to make us forget all the things it doesn’t get right. Properly positioned in the waning weeks of the summer movie season, Beast is packed with plenty of over-the-top action and features some genuine human moments as Elba is American doctor Nate Samuels who is desperately trying to connect with his daughters Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Jeffries).

They have come to the homeland of Dr. Samuels’ ex-wife and the girls’ deceased mother in Africa. Blamed for abandoning their mother via a painful divorce, Dr. Samuels is in a near impossible situation emotionally with his daughters. Already fighting for their emotional well-being, the family is in peril before even stepping foot in Africa.

Once in country, the family meets up with old family friend and anti-poacher Martin Battles (Sharlto Copley) who takes them out on a private tour of the nature preserve where they meet up with a pride of cuddly lions that Martin raised from cubs. The peace and quiet will be short-lived however as they soon arrive at a village decimated by what appears to be a rogue lion.Beast

The remainder of the film follows the family caught in a battle for survival as the super-predator feline stalks every living human it can find, including our friendly nature-watching party who it traps inside their safari jeep. As the action heats up, this is unfortunately where the story begins to lose its way.

Now, who am I to say what I would or wouldn’t do when finding myself and my family in the deadly sights of a rampaging carnivore. But I can certainly tell you my decisions would be a lot more sound than those made by our heroes. Way too many unheeded “now stay in the car” and “keep quiet” warnings threaten any credibility the film has going for it. Not to mention radios that never work, a car that won’t start, and more than one case of wading out into waist-deep water after shooing away the crocodiles. Really? And then, as we approach the finish line, the real battle of man vs. lion begins and… well, you just have to see it to know that they really went there.

Sure, lovers of man vs. animal exploitation flicks will likely find plenty to enjoy in Beast. The action is thrills-a-minute, the performances get the job done, and watching Idris Elba punch a pesky lion smack-dab in the kisser might be worth the price of admission alone. But if you’re going to go where Beast goes, taking one’s self a whole lot less seriously would make the destination much more enjoyable.

2/5 stars

Film Details


MPAA Rating: R for violent content, bloody images and some language.
93 mins
: Baltasar Kormákur
Ryan Engle
Idris Elba; Sharlto Copley; Daniel Hadebe
: Action | Adventure
Sometimes the rustle in the bushes actually is a monster.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site: h
Release Date:
August 19, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: A father and his two teenage daughters find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion intent on proving that the Savanna has but one apex predator.