Rogue (2007)
By: J.R. McNamara on June 27, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. English subtitles. 95 minutes
The Movie
Director: Greg Mclean
Starring: Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, Sam Worthington, John Jarratt
Screenplay: Greg Mclean
Country: Australia
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ROGUE. It's one of those words used to instil fear, making for a kick-ass scary sounding movie title. In fact, it's one of those words that immediately gives you an idea of what the tone of the film will be. Like "APOCALYPSE" or "REQUIEM", as soon as you hear the word stated as the title of a movie you think "ooh, I'd like to see THAT!!" Actually, after AvP: Requiem, that word has perhaps lost some of its impact.

Rogue is the second feature film from Australian director Greg Mclean, whose previous outing Wolf Creek had him lauded as a hero for Aussie horror, with his name being bandied about with the likes of Rob Zombie and Eli Roth and other members of the so-called "Splat Pack". Unfortunately with Rogue Mclean suffers from what is commonly called "the sophomore slump".

Alias' Michael Vartan plays Pete McKell, an unpleasant travel writer from a Chicago newspaper who has ventured to Australia's Northern Territory on business. Here he meets Kate Ryan (Rahda Mitchell), a guide for a river tour boat company who takes tourists through saltwater crocodile infested waters to see the sites of the Kakadu. The tour that McKell has joined has the usual bunch of unpleasant stereotypes that movie-goers are force fed (played here by Steven Curry, John Jarratt and others) although these ones mainly have Australian accents. While up the river, they spot a flare and decide to investigate, to see if they can assist the people in distress.

When they get to where they believe the flare came from they are met by... nothing, except a sunken boat, when suddenly their craft is attacked by something big.... a Rogue Crocodile, ready to pick them off one by one. Soon they are joined by a pair of local morons (one played by Sam Worthington) and with the tide closing in on the small island they have sought refuge on, all looks hopeless. Can they escape?

Now, I am an Australian, reviewing an Australian film for the Australian horror and exploitation website, and so I feel remarkably un-Australian when I say that this film is far too Australian. Remember whenever you saw an Australian character in a TV show like, say M.A.S.H., and you thought how much that didn't seem to you, as an Australian, like anyone you've ever met? Rogue is like that, the "Fair-Dinkum Aussie"-ness of it has been amped up so overseas audiences can appreciate the completely untrue fact that everyone in Australia is like a cross between Crocodile Dundee and the late Steve Irwin.

In the films defence though, the scenery in the Northern Territory is filmed entirely gorgeously. The wide shots of the environment are nothing short of spectacular! Sure some of the footage is stereotypical of what you would see in a documentary or a travelogue about the region, but that doesn't stop it from being breathtaking.
Rogue is presented in a crystal clear 1.78:1 16:9 enhanced transfer. Lovely!
Awesome audio on this disc! While the actual sound effects are nothing special, the layers of the incidental music soundtrack have more layers than an onion, or a parfait for that matter! The sound is presented in a grand Dolby Digital 5.1 that probably makes the film much more effective than it actually is!
Extra Features
The DVD opens with a trailer for The Invasion. Is it an extra? Well, the trailer for Rogue on this disc is classed as one, so I guess it is.

There is also a 46 minute Making of Rogue Documentary, and 4 mini documentaries: The Music, Northern Territory, Effects and The Real Rogue. These documentaries have some amazing archival footage of croc attacks, including the monster 5.1 metre bastard named "Sweetheart" that terrorized a section of river for over 12 months. These docos feature interviews with those involved in the making of the film including writer/director Greg Mclean, actors Rahda Mitchell and Michael Vartan, DOP Will Gibson, Producers Matt Hearn and David Lightfoot.

Some of the footage from the main doco is duplicated in the individual mini-docs, but it never gets too annoying. These docos have some great behind the scenes footage, including that of the animatronic crocs, which were so good I don't know why we didn't get to see more of them. Most surprisingly were Rahda Mitchell's admission that she, an Australian actress, needed a voice coach to help her get her Australian accent right, and Michael Vartan's continued proof that he is a funny, amiable guy, who realizes that being an actor isn't a life changing occupation. The Music section is particularly interesting as well. The depth into which the composer Francois Tetaz went into to score this film is also quite surprising. I perhaps would like to say excessive, but maybe that would be disrespectful.

I must add that these docos also feature some lovely footage of our beautiful sun-burnt country, and flora and fauna... especially of the big, lizardy type.
The Verdict
Rogue is an average entry in the 'giant animal vs small group of humans' sub-genre, which mainly suffers from some desperately bad Australian stereotypes, designed clearly for an overseas market, and some dodgy, sub-standard CGI. It's a competent film, but I won't be holding my breath for a sequel (Rogue Apocalypse perhaps?).
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