The ridiculous Idris Elba movie sinking its teeth into Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)

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The ridiculous Idris Elba movie sinking its teeth into Netflix

After becoming a regular fixture of the streaming service’s original output in recent years, it stands to reason that anything bearing the name of Idris Elba is in with a decent shot at finding success on Netflix. Lo and behold, it’s only gone and happened again.

The actor played a pivotal role in a history-making moment for the platform when he appeared in 2015’s Beasts of No Nation, the first feature to be released exclusively on Netflix. Since then, he’s returned to the fold for urban drama Concrete Cowboy, revisionist western The Harder They Fall, a guest spot in Chris Hemsworth’s Extraction 2, and movie sequel Luther: The Fallen Sun.

Needless to say, Elba is no stranger to the streamer, but it isn’t an in-house exclusive that’s been capturing attention this week. Instead, it’s one of the silliest flicks he’s ever been a part of, which in this case is intended to be among the highest of compliments that can be paid.

Elba’s high concept output has always been decidedly sketchy, whether it’s his own dissatisfaction with playing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Heimdall, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad bombing at the box office in the throes of the pandemic, Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw wasting him as a one-note villain, or The Dark Tower generally being a steaming pile of butchered garbage.

However, sells don’t come much easier than the prospect of watching the popular star battle against a man-eating lion in a survival thriller, so it’s hardly a shock Beast became a minor hit. Released in cinemas in August 2022, the schlocky B-movie with an A-lister in the lead was a word-of-mouth sensation based on its premise alone.

Elba’s recently-widowed Dr. Nate Samuels takes his children to visit the South African nature reserve where he first met his late wife, in an attempt to resolve some of the lingering trauma for her death. Unfortunately, trauma of an entirely different type arises when a bloodthirsty lion decides the clan would make for a deliciously tasty snack.

Both the leading man and director Baltasar Kormákur know exactly how preposterous Beast is in every respect, wisely opting to approach the film as such. The end result is a wonderfully ludicrous tale of one man taking the animal kingdom by the scruff of the neck and proceeding to beat the living shit out of it, with the end result currently the fifth top-viewed title on Netflix among subscribers in the United Kingdom.