Rogue (2020) Review

Rogue (2020)
  • Directing7
  • Writing6
  • Acting7

Megan Fox is surprisingly the best part about Rogue, which balances action and suspense on a simple, yet effective premise. The CGI is questionable, but understandable, while the film's occasionally slow pacing holds it back from becoming something more memorable.

M.J. Bassett‘s Rogue is an action-heavy movie featuring Megan Fox (Transformers) in one of her best roles yet, reminding us not to count her out as she plays a hardened mercenary with confidence and compassion. Rogue highlights the ability to pump out an effective thriller on a tight budget with the use of a mostly reliable cast and a simple, but worthwhile script.

Samantha O’Hara (Megan Fox) is leading a group of mercenaries on a rescue mission in the middle of nowhere Africa. The name of the game is simple, rescue the precious cargo and get the hell out of dodge. But plans quickly foil as they experience heavy firepower only to escape harm’s way for a brief minute and then are thrown right back into the fire while they set camp at what they thought was an abandoned lion farming site.

Now, the group of soldiers and hostages must fight off a fierce lion, not to mention the deadly group of men looking to take back their hostages and kill those that dare step in the way.

Rogue makes for a slick action flick, taking a simple concept and then stretching it to include some actual backstory and meaning. For one thing, it spreads awareness to the whole idea of lion farms, which involves taking these lions and killing them not for sport, but for the resale of their fur and bones.

Secondary, Rogue is about victims of human trafficking and the toll that it takes on those involved directly and indirectly. Rogue doesn’t tread lightly touching on this topical subject in ways that again, shed some light and dig a little deeper than the norm.

Lastly, Rogue is an action movie about a bunch of tough-as-nails soldiers that are led by Megan Fox (yes, the leading lady of the first two Transformers films). This Jennifer’s Body star has definitely taken on the role with the utmost respect and dedication, totally playing the boss woman in believable and even likable fashion.

I never understood the Megan Fox hate in the past, because she’s mostly stuck true to the roles that she’s played, delivering exactly what was required, whether you like it or not. Her character in Transformers was never really supposed to be much more than what it was, yet people constantly say she can’t act because of how helpless and sort of pointless she was to those films, which I disagree with strongly on so many levels.

Here, she plays the hardened and weathered warrior without flinching an eye, making you fully believe that her character has seen some nasty shit over the years and she’s to the point of simply following the orders and deviating as little as possible, knowing the responsibilities and likely bloodshed that will come if you stray from the main priority.

And this makes Megan Fox the best thing about Rogue. She displays a certain amount of on-screen confidence that you just don’t see in many actresses these days that are gifted with the curse of being cast as eye candy in major franchises, yet never given the real ability to flex those acting muscles in other leading roles. She was basically outcast from Hollywood for quite some time, taking on smaller and even sometimes less important roles, despite displaying an amount of talent worthy of the spotlight.

Fox’s interaction with other characters in this film drives Rogue forward as I can honestly say the rest of the cast mostly does their part by avoiding death via lion or enemy to the best of their ability, with nothing else really becoming of their performances.

The lion CGI is pretty horrible, but only occasionally glaring and distracting. I understand the difference between a movie budgeted on millions or hundreds of thousands vs. 50-100 million and I think that must always be considered when reviewing. They did the best with what they had and for the most part, the lion was still an effective part of the film, bringing that sudden jolt of adrenaline when needed and always giving us some bloody kills to keep our eyes focused.

There were a few moments that were a bit more obvious and rough than others, but aside from those few times, the CGI served its point and didn’t completely ruin this movie’s ability to tell its story.

Director M.J. Bassett co-wrote the film with Isabel Bassett and you can feel their connection to this material. Everything about Rogue feels like they are trying to say something as firm and as loud as possible. Yes, this is an action movie that can be described as mindless and fun at times, but there’s always the underlining text about the lion farms and the human trafficking that isn’t glaring, but definitely takes center stage more than you’d think for a film that stars Megan Fox playing a game of cat-and-mouse with a lion.

I think many are going to be surprised with Rogue and its ability to capture all of these things in a compact film that’s available to rent on most VOD platforms for about $6. It’s a heck of a rental that I would recommend without a doubt. There’s some pacing issues that hold back the film from becoming something more memorable and I would be lying if I said the rest of the cast elevated the material, because this really is Megan Fox‘s show and that’s more than fine for me, because any chance she gets to remind the world that she can act with the best of them is okay by me.

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