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Beast review: Idris Elba fights a lion 

If you were forced to

 come up with a quick elevator pitch for a film that was more or less guaranteed to attract the attention of cinemagoers, "Idris Elba does battle with a rogue, man-hunting lion" wouldn't be a bad bet.

And that's pretty much

the exact synopsis of Beast, the new survival thriller from Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur, whose previous directing credits include buddy cop comedy 2 Guns and adventure flick Everest.

The result is a somewhat

silly but largely enjoyable film that should keep viewers thoroughly entertained for the duration of its tight 90-minute runtime, even if it won't give them too much to chew on upon leaving the cinema.

Elba takes on

the role of Dr Nate Samuels, a recently widowed father who is attempting to put his life back on the right track.

What follows is a 

suspenseful survival tale complete with some well-staged action set pieces, naturally culminating in the ludicrously entertaining sight of Elba grappling with the rogue lion mano-a-mano

One scene in which

he must perform emergency surgery on his leg with a knife is particularly gnarly, and the ever-charismatic Copley excels in a physical performance full of winces and yelps.

There's a strain of

tension running through all of these scenes and as pure popcorn cinema, it delivers just about exactly what it promises.

Where the film falters 

slightly is in its attempts to become something rather more meaningful.

The deeper, emotional 

core regarding the family's grief and their struggle to mend their relationships comes off a little trite and overplayed, with some creaky dialogue along the way – and the flashbacks and dream sequences that occasionally disrupt the action don't really work.

Meanwhile, an 

intriguing conflict between poachers and anti-poachers is hinted at a handful of times – and even seen overtly in one chilling, key scene – but it's never really fully probed, serving essentially as a surface-level backdrop to the survival story as opposed to anything more insightful.

Still, the film

makes good use of its bonafide movie star

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