Rogue review – it’s Megan Fox v stalking lion in an energetic action thriller | Action and adventure films

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If hit Netflix documentary Tiger King had you championing the big cat cause, here’s the animal rights-respecting action-thriller you should watch next. Transformers’ Megan Fox stars as Samantha O’Hara, the gun-toting girl-boss of a mercenary crew in South Africa who must retrieve a high-value hostage from a band of Islamic militants-cum-ivory-poachers. It’s a money-making mission though, not a humanitarian one, and any heroics are performed reluctantly: “If I die because I’m doing the right thing, I’m gonna be so pissed,” says Sam.

The action rattles along at a decent pace, punctuated by regular mauling deaths as Sam’s utterly expendable crew hunker down in an abandoned “lion farm”. It’s not just the local al-Shabaab cell that threatens their lives; they’re also being stalked by a lioness gone rogue.

Clearly, Fox v Lion was intended to be Rogue’s big, dramatic showdown, but the computer-generated imagery is so pathetic it barely registers; a free augmented reality app could magic up more fearsome predators. Instead, it’s the contrast between Samantha’s dead-eyed, implausibly groomed professionalism and the full-throated compassion of the al-Shabaab leader (Adam Deacon) that intrigues. This is thanks mainly to an energetic performance from Deacon, whom some will remember as a mainstay of British urban drama until his falling out with Kidulthood’s Noel Clarke.

Rogue isn’t offering nature-documentary realism, but director MJ Bassett is a former wildlife presenter whose interest in the South African grassland goes beyond mere backdrop. This is explored through the conflicts of Pata (South African star Sisanda Henna), a Maasai tribesman, turned al-Shabaab fighter, turned mercenary. Fox is undoubtedly at the apex of this filmic food chain, but it’s those further down who are enabling it to function.

• Rogue is available on digital formats.

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Source: The Guardian
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