Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Beast.Beast, the new film from director Baltasar Kormákur, answers the all-important question: who would win in a fight between Idris Elba and a bloodthirsty lion? Sure, lions are intimidating, but are they as frightening as “Stringer” Bell? Well, Beast answers that question definitively, at long last. With Beast coming out this weekend, let’s explore what happens at the end of Elba’s survival film, and most importantly, who wins in this fight of man vs. beast?
In Beast, Elba plays Nate Samuels, a recently widowed doctor who brings his daughters Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Sava Jeffries) back to South Africa, where Nate first met his wife. While on a tour of a game reserve managed by Martin (Sharlto Copley), an old family friend, this group of four discovers that an entire village has been decimated by a lion. This lion was the sole survivor of a poacher’s attack on his pride, and now this lion is out for revenge.
Most of Beast takes place with the family and Martin trapped on the preserve, in a car that doesn’t work, that is frequently attacked by this angry lion. At night, however, a group of poachers finds the stranded car, and once again, the lion attacks, ripping the poachers to shreds. While Nate is searching the dead bodies for the keys to the poacher’s car, the lion again attacks the car holding Meredith, Norah, and Martin, and injuring Meredith. Nate’s kids run to the poacher’s car, while Martin stays behind in the car, distracting the lion. The lion, Martin and their car slam down a cliff, and in his final moments, Martin uses a gas leak to light the car on fire, singeing the lion in the process.
Nate returns to the poacher’s car, and he and his daughters drive off, as Nate is desperate to find someone or somewhere that he can patch up Meredith. Unfortunately, the car soon runs out of gas, but just close enough to an abandoned schoolhouse that Martin showed the family on their tour of the preserve. The poachers have been using the schoolhouse as a base of sorts, full of their kills. Nate hastily patches up Meredith, and looks for help, but as he does so, the lion returns, ready to finish the job on the Samuels family.
Nate makes the decision to lead the lion away from his children, knowing that nearby the schoolhouse is another pride that could aid him in this fight. As Nate and the stalking lion get closer to this other pride, Martin and the lion go at it, with Nate desperately fighting to survive. Nate is clawed and mauled, and just when it seems like there’s no hope for Nate, the family of lions intervenes, bringing the bloodthirsty lion to his end, finally.
After the lions take out the other lion, Nate has a dream of his wife, and is then woken up by his daughters in the hospital. The Samuels family has survived their exhausting ordeal, and once Nate is recovered, the family visits a tree that Nate’s wife photographed years ago, a loving testament to the woman that the family still dearly misses.