Michael Vartan - Pete McKell
Radha Mitchell - Kate Ryan
Sam Worthington - Neil Kelly
John Jarratt - Russell
Caroline Brazier - Mary Ellen
Heather Mitchell - Elizabeth
Genre - Horror/Science Fiction/Deadly Animals
Running Time - 95 Minutes
Score - 3 Howls Outta 4
PLOT - ROGUE is another one of those "Animals Run Amok" flicks. Travel writer Pete McKell (Michael Vartan) decides to hop on a tour boat before leaving Australia. Lead by Kate Ryan (Radha Mitchell), the tour boat sails well through the Outback in crocodile country. Nothing bad could happen, right? Anyway, Pete and his fellow passengers seem to be enjoying the view and tour until they notice a distress flare a short distance away. Kate, kind of upsetting the tourists, decides to head into that direction to see what's up. Unfortunately, the group ends up in crocodile territory - or in this case, GIANT crocodile territory. Yeah this huge crocodile seems to be addicted to human flesh and blood, attacking the group any chance they make themselves vulnerable. With dawn slowly approaching and no help in sight, can these people come together and stop this crocodile from eating them? Are you hoping they kind of fail?
STORY - Greg McLean wrote a pretty decent flick here in ROGUE. This could have been a very cheesy killer animal film, but McLean actually plays this one seriously - and it works. He builds up the story, giving us time to recognize the characters and developing them more than they probably should have been for a film like this. The crocodile is barely seen really until the end [besides the quick cuts during the middle of the film] and I liked how he wasn't totally shown right away. McLean didn't write a complex script and does just enough to make you care about what's going on.
There's a lot of tension here and the story benefited from that. I loved the middle section with Sam Worthington trying to save the tourists by creating an alternative route that didn't require swimming into the river. I especially loved the ending, where the tension just built up to the point where I was totally caught up in what I was watching. I'm kinda tiffed that McLean teased me with the deaths of both the dog and Kate herself, only deciding at the last minute to play nice and do the happy ending sort of thing. I think the situation would be have been more effective for the Pete character. But I can't complain all too much about ROGUE. It's a realistic take on a B-movie formula and it was refreshing.
DIRECTION - Greg McLean, who also directed WOLF CREEK, did an excellent job behind the camera. The pace was perfect and the tension was incredible. I was really caught up in the suspense. I also loved the build up shots of the giant crocodile, which by the way was done with really cool CGI [looked pretty realistic to me]. I think the cinematography and framing were absolutely beautiful. The Outback looked very inviting. I can't complain about anything with the visuals. A very mature effort here.
VIOLENCE/SEX/LANGUAGE [aka THE GOOD STUFF] - No sex at all here. And the language was pretty tame. So was the violence, unfortunately. While we do get Vartan's fingers getting chewed off and some people getting munched on by the crocodile, there's not much in terms of gore and blood. Pretty disappointing in this aspect.
ACTING - Fantastic acting I thought. Michael Vartan did his thing, playing the serious hero and looking good doing it. Rahda Mitchell finally got to use her real Australian accent and she played the role of Kate with bravery, toughness, vulnerability, and sass. I enjoyed her here. Sam Worthington was very charismatic and played his short role well. A very nice cast for ROGUE.
MUSIC - We get a jungle soundtrack going with chants and stuff. I dug it and it fit the film well.
THE FINAL HOWL
ROGUE surprised me really. I was expecting a pretty cheesy or pretty lame crocodile flick here. But what I got was a competent, serious, mature killer animal film and I appreciated that. Lots of tension and suspense mixed with great acting and wonderful directing - sounds like a good time to me. I wish McLean didn't tease me with the bleaker ending deal by saving the lives of certain people. I also wish more victims were crocodile food because some of these characters deserved to be dinner. But what can you do?