Beast review: Idris Elba vs Lion showdown – more thrilling than expected

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Could he beat up a lion? That issue is finally settled in this wildly implausible but thoroughly entertaining creature feature.

The artist sometimes known as DJ Big Driis dusts off his American accent to play Dr Nate Samuels, a surgeon who takes his two teenage daughters Meredith and Norah (Iyana Halley and Leah Sava Jeffries), to South Africa to visit the place where their recently deceased mother grew up.

Nate wasn’t around when she died from cancer, but hopes to heal wounds with a turn around a nature reserve.

They’ll stay with Martin (the always watchable Sharlto Copley), the man who runs the place and who introduced Nate to his wife.

The girls greet him as “Uncle Martin”, and the avuncular animal expert is also a big hit with the local lions. Two of them giddly greet him with a big, soppy, cuddle. Bless.

But not all the predators are feline so friendly. We also get a glimpse of the slightly shonky CGI monster the locals call “Devil”.

This is the Beast, a revenge-seeking lion who went nuts witnessing his pack being gunned down by poachers.

“Lions don’t behave like this,” says Martin surveying the mauled, but not scoffed, corpses that litter the nearest village.

From here, Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur busies himself with crafting a hairy homage to (or rip-off of) Jurassic Park. A jeep breaks down and the lion’s head lurches through the open window.

When you’re not jumping from your seat, you’ll be silently screaming at the screen as the humans make increasingly stupid decisions. But this one of those rare B-movies that are much better than their trailers.

The touted Idris vs Lion showdown was more thrilling and even dafter than I dared to imagine.

  • Beast, Cert 15, In cinemas now

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