Rogue (2007 film) review…

Rogue (2007 film) review after the break…

Rogue (2007 film) review…

I’ll admit that I tend not to “travel” well. I’m not interested in “Seeing the world” because, quite frankly, I don’t think that there’s an awful lot to see. Oh, look, that building looks different then the buildings back home. That’s nice. Wow – The natives dress different then we do. Weird.

The closest argument that I could make for “Seeing the world” would be, perhaps, the museums, attractions & major landmarks if only so that you could check off an imaginary box on an equally imaginary list so that you could claim that you’ve “been there, done that.” Otherwise, and no offense to all the locals everywhere, but what’s so great about your town? Honestly?

Therefore, I guess that I have to admit some sort of mental barrier towards appreciating “Rogue,” a 2007 film about a really large, really hungry crocodile who manages to strand a bunch of sightseeing tourists on a boat on an ever-shrinking spit of land while trying to chew up more then a few of them.

The movie was filmed in Australia so, naturally, all of the Australian cliches are out in full force. Dusty, lazy backwater town? Check. Full-blown Australian accents & lingo? Check. What? No cameo of Crocodile Dundee or Yahoo Serious? You really wonder how peeved actual Australians must get whenever a movie is set in their country. Oh well – I’m sure they’re crying all the way to the bank.

The movie starts out slowly, introducing our eventual hero as the usual (another cliche – nice) American prick who is oh-so-inconvenienced by the locals’ hospitality. Wanting nothing more to quickly wrap up a writing assignment so that he can return home (Hopefully, with the luggage missing from his flight), he takes the guided boat tour. All is normal until a signal flare at the end of the tour causes them to investigate the source of the flare… And then the movie begins.

I have to admit that the movie, once it actually begins, is initially quite suspenseful. There’s no question that the monster is a huge crocodile; That’s all but given with the promotional material & even the initial first few moments when an unfortunate mammal becomes a snack to (presumably) the exact same crocodile.

What creates the suspense is the fact that there are three pressing issues for our newly-minted castaways: (1). Nighttime, (3). A rising tide (which, supposedly, will swallow up their little island in no time flat) & (3). A huge, man-eating crocodile. Not necessarily in that order.

I liked the initial phase when the movie actually begins & even the first real crocodile kill (which, without giving anything away, illustrates a point that Mark Twain made when he wrote, “All good deeds never go unpunished”).

However, the movie begins to sputter when the first attempt to leave the island fails because of a glut of horror-movie cliches. Despite a surprise “kill” later on (one that really would’ve been impressive had it not been rescinded), the movie packs it in early, settling for a conventional finale where our hero must battle the huge crocodile in it’s lair, all while saving the barely breathing damsel in distress amidst all of the finale cliches one could possibly think up.

What really devalues this movie for me is the ending & how it is set up. In fact, I’m going to spoil it for you right now since that may prevent you from actually seeing this – The female tour guide (naturally, cute & young) is supposedly “killed” by the crocodile. However, our hero & the tour guide’s dog eventually stumble upon her barely breathing body in the crocodile’s lair. The dog is killed by the crocodile (minor kudos points for that but far too little, far too late in the movie for that to be worth anything) & the hero eventually kills the crocodile by sitting advantageously next to a huge boulder while holding a spear. The crocodile attempts to chomp down on the hero but, because it can’t get it’s jaw around the boulder, get’s the spear through the mouth instead, dying.

I just think that the ending was such a wasted opportunity – Why was the tour guide spared but the others implied that they were killed instantly? Why not more bodies in the lair? Why not some explanation on how the crocodile got so big in the first place? The initial “dusty, Australian town” is absolutely wasted – Why not have them hiding a secret or having a secret cult about this huge crocodile (because, obviously, locals don’t know ANYTHING about the local area that they live in, especially huge crocodiles). It just felt that there was nothing “there,” no story beyond a bunch of tourists stranded due to an aggressive crocodile. Why not have that huge board with all of the newspaper clippings be a foreshadowing of danger? A brazen display by the locals that they know of the danger but won’t reveal it?

The initial set-up of this movie was legitimately suspenseful but the movie undercuts itself by following that set-up with a completely conventional series of events that, pun intended, has little bite.

P.S. It was not lost on me that our hero is wearing a white shirt. Cute nod to the hero wearing a white hat.

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