Would you like to see Idris Elba punch a lion?  Whether or not you enjoy Beast will entirely depend on your level of enthusiasm in answering that question. Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, Beast tells the story of a doctor who must protect his daughters from a vengeful lion, whose pride was murdered by poachers.   

Beast is a tight thriller that takes place over the course of less than twenty-four hours, and the film’s strengths are its efficient story-telling and excellent action sequences. The lion attacks are quite well-shot and suspenseful. Too often in modern-day action films, the editing is choppy, and the sequences are cut to ribbons. There are several long one-shots in Beast that accentuate the film’s suspense and realistic feel. Most of the time, the CGI lion looks relatively realistic, and Beast is cribbing from Jaws in how often it shows the lion.  

I’m recommending the film because it delivers exactly what it sets out to accomplish and fulfills all the promises it sets for itself, but the character development is barely sufficient. There’s a whole section of this film about the relationships between the father and his daughters (Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries) and their deceased mother that barely holds together. And the characters often do unadvisable or stupid things just to keep the plot moving.  

These are important elements of the film, but they’re not nearly as important as the question: Does Idris Elba punch a lion? Yes, I can guarantee that he does, and if you really want to see that, then go see Beast. 

Three out of five stars.