Director Baltasar Kormákur’s “Beast” is better than most mid-August releases.

It executes its wild-animal-gone-rogue premise in just under 90 minutes. Veteran cinematographer Philippe Rousselot shoots some gorgeous views of the South African wilderness. 

 It used to let viewers know they were in for some fun, cheesy mayhem. “Beast” has plenty of that; the murderous lion can take out an entire group of men with AR-15’s while finding time to jump on top of cars and reach into windows to swat at human prey.

The screenplay by Ryan Engle doesn’t give the big cat a name, so let’s call him Rory. Rory is presumably pissed that poachers have killed his entire pride, therefore it’s his mission to execute every human he encounters with extreme prejudice.

Beast” opens with the aforementioned poachers gunning down a pride of lions, followed by a brief glimpse of Rory exacting the first of many attacks. 

As the film progresses, we’ll see his handiwork in more graphic detail, first on the body of a injured man who stops Martin’s Jeep seeking help.

(He calls Rory “the Devil.”) When Martin goes to a nearby village to seek help, he discovers the place littered with mutilated bodies. “Lions don’t do this,” Martin tells Dr. Nate. Well, one lion does, and to prove his point, Rory traps the Samuels in their Jeep after causing them to crash during the attack. Clearly, this lion has seen “Cujo.”