“Rogue” scares and satisfies

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Rogue 2007

In the 2007 movie “Rogue,” Michael Vartan plays Pete McKell, a travel journalist who normally writes reviews of hotels, glamourous attractions, and restaurants.  Pete gets more than he bargained for when he joins a boatload of tourists on a ride upriver for a glimpse of saltwater crocodiles and other wonders in Australia’s rugged Northern Territory.

Kate Ryan, played by Radha Mitchell, runs the river tour company and skippers the flat-bottomed boat.  She is a tough, attractive, and sympathetic character who has never left the Northern Territory.  She and Pete develop a chemistry early on, and viewers can quickly predict how their relationship will develop.

Kate has to put up with a pair of human pests who harass her tour boat.  She must also contend with her own passengers who question her decision-making as the story progresses.  The tourists are a mixed lot of thrill seekers with their own strengths, weaknesses, and secrets—maybe just one aristocrat short of an Agatha Christie cast.

As viewers will guess, the boat quickly ends up in the territory of a particularly dangerous crocodile.  Ryan and her passengers have to attempt to fight their way back to safety.  This movie would appeal to fans of classic creature features like “Birds” and “Jaws.”  Unlike “Godzilla” or “Jurassic Park,” this is not a film about the hazards of scientific excess.  It’s about a big, old-fashioned natural predator and a series of missteps that leads a group of people deeper into trouble.  The fun and suspense is in seeing who gets offed and how any survivors escape.  The Australian vistas and realistic crocodile effects are also a treat.

The DVD can be bought on Amazon for $12.  Recommended with pizza and beer.

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