By: Devon B. on November 12, 2007  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Director: Greg Mclean
Starring: Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, Sam Worthington, John Jarratt, Robert Taylor, Stephen Curry
Screenplay: Greg Mclean
Country: Australia
Distributor: Roadshow
Running Time: 93 minutes
OFLC Rating: M (Moderate horror violence, moderate coarse language)
Look, there are two ways to make a good killer crocodile movie. The first is to be very silly, like the vastly underrated Lake Placid, which is ridiculous, knows it, and just wants to give the viewer a few laughs and jolts along the way. The other way to make a good killer croc film is to show the reality of the stealth and lethalness of these animals. Like…uhm, actually, I can't think of a movie that's done this successfully. I'd hoped Rouge might be the first, but had my doubts given director Greg Mclean helmed the vastly overrated Wolf Creek.

The story is about a croc tour on a river in the Northern Territory, featuring your usual cast of disposable cinematic characters. The tour goes fine, and is wrapping up, when one of the tourists notices a distress flare being fired from up river. The tour group go to check it out, and their boat is attacked by a giant crocodile. The boat begins to sink, but the tour guide manages to ground the boat on an island mid-river before it's fully submerged. Unfortunately, they're on a tidal river during low tide, so the water level will be rising and will make their island less of an island and more of an underwater feature. Trapped, the group try to come up with a way to get to safety.

Honestly, I don't think that's such a bad idea for a plot. Sure, a croc attacking boats is implausible, but once you suspend that disbelief, you could enjoy the movie. Except, Mclean is attempting to draw terror from the "reality" of the situation and the idea that you yourself could be in that situation, but fuck me the people are too stupid to believe. If this was a joke, I didn't get. What I did get was a movie full of the kind of ridiculous characters that would in other circumstances be prone to investigating strange noises outside armed only with torches. The only way I could've bought that characters would make such poor choices was if this had been a special education tour, and all the stranded people had been concerned with making doodies and fingerpainting instead of the crocodile.

Some might argue that because almost everyone was an international tourist, they wouldn't understand crocodile behaviour, but the tour guide should know what's going on. When someone inevitably has to go for a swim to reach the bank, instead of plausible actions being taken, like beating the water on the opposite side of the island with a long stick, everyone just shines lights on the poor guy, drawing even more attention to his being in the water. Not that it matters too much, 'cause the numbnuts has his own torch on while swimming. Even disregarding stupid actions around the crocodile, characters do implausible things, like standing by while other characters do stupid things that will clearly jeopardise everyone's safety. Essentially, all the characters' motivations are based less on them trying to survive, and more on creating inane reasons for them to end up in the water. Don't get me wrong, I like to see people eaten by big animals just as much as any other decent person, but there's far too little actual chomping to justify the pretentious set ups. The characters are so idiotic, there's zero tension.

Since the humans are just annoying, the croc needed to carry the film, and I would've forgiven all of the moronic character elements if there was plenty of croc mayhem. Alas, while the CG croc is decent, he's not seen enough, and this isn't a case like Jaws where less worked out to be more. With little crocodile action, we're left with a movie made up of scenes that would be more at home in Dumb and Dumber 3.

Ultimately, Rogue is a disappointing movie. It's okay, but isn't fun enough to justify its characters' stupidity. Mclean clearly didn't learn any lessons from the video camera scene in Wolf Creek, and has delivered a film brimming with moments just as brain dead as that was. If some effort had been made with the script, Rogue could've been a hugely entertaining movie, but the film is really dragged down by the lazy plot contrivances.
Movie Score
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