Rogue should proudly occupy so-bad-it’s-good territory, but aside from a lion sprung to life on what looks like PlayStation 2 hardware, there’s nothing fun or entertaining about this grossly incompetent Predator knock-off.
There are lots of things that Rogue could and indeed should have been. For instance, it could have been a solid vehicle for Megan Fox, who plays Samantha O’Hara, a character who for once has some traits beyond being absurdly good-looking. The problem is that those traits only include being a no-nonsense hardened soldier whose competence is relentlessly questioned by the crack mercenary team she ostensibly leads, and indeed the young women – one of whom is a governor’s daughter – they rescue from a people trafficking operation somewhere in Africa.
With that kind of setup, Rogue could have at least been a serviceable mission-gone-wrong action movie, but it’s not that either, thanks in large part to Fox being obviously miscast in a role that demanded someone who can at least look like they know what they’re doing. Then again the flat, often incomprehensible action, with muzzle flashes and exaggerated blood splatters clearly added in post by someone with a BTEC in graphic design, doesn’t help either.
Another thing Rogue could have been is Predator, or at least a decent knock-off of it. Rogue really, really wants to be Predator. It apes the crack team of bantering mercenaries and the mission that goes haywire and then the dramatic framework of those battle-hardened killers being systematically hunted and picked off by an apex predator, which in this case is a lion sprung to life from PlayStation 2-era computer graphics. That also brings me to my next point, which is that Rogue could have been a message-movie about animal conservation and not poaching endangered species to extinction, but then it casts the endangered species in the dangerous alien hunter role, which hardly seems like it’s going to get people on-side.
So, Rogue is none of these things. All it ends up being, really, is a terrible film about very stupid and unpleasant people doing one thing after another. Samantha’s team is comprised of a rather cosmopolitan line-up, whose various nationalities amount to the entirety of their characterization, and the hostages they rescue start complaining immediately and never stop to the extent that, if you’re anything like me, you’ll actively wish to be rid of them. Sam’s team crack jokes constantly, even while those among them are dying horribly, and all their banter is race-related. Adam Deacon plays the villain, Zalaam, whose entire character amounts to being Muslim. That’s it, really.
If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, then more power to you, but I’d recommend Extraction for the hostage-rescue plot and The Old Guard for the strong female lead and diverse cast; both are currently available on Netflix and are a better time than Rogue.