It’s plenty of action but no substance.
This review of Italian Netflix film The Beast contains no spoilers. The action film was released on the platform on November 27, 2020.
In the opening scenes of The Beast, lead character Leonida Riva is talking to his doctor about his medication. The character suffers from PTSD — he’s an ex-soldier of war who does not want help, he just wants the drugs to numb the pain. This scene is highlighted to not only demonstrate the gloominess of the character coupled with his physicality but also to show that he is stubborn, and he will do anything to get what he wants. The opening scene shows that he is capable of transforming into something he was once in the past.
So, of course, when his daughter is kidnapped, The Beast triggers a series of events that is less about the dramatic one-liners like Wanted and more about the ruthlessness and one-track-mindedness of the lead character. Expect fight choreography, blood, and gore. The film has been constructed so it is a fast-paced, gritty action thriller where you are rooting for a character that you would not enjoy crossing paths with.
The Italian Netflix film does well to highlight how Leonida’s past has created tears in his relationships. However, what brings The Beast down is its dependency on grittiness. The film tries hard to make the character as moody as possible, but by the time the audience reaches the second act, it’s difficult to engage or care about what he is doing. There are many moving parts in The Beast — a circle of enemies that Leonida has to overcome, but it’s plenty of action and no substance. While it works for many films, it doesn’t for this because it’s directed in a way where it encourages the audience to believe that there will be some depth to the characters.
But if you want an international alternative to Wanted, then Netflix’s The Beast will not entirely replace that feeling. Still, it will entertain you with a character that will do anything to save the one he loves, by tapping into the brutal part of himself.