Friday, January 15, 2021

Outside the Wire (2021)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Outside the Wire (2021)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Length: 115 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: 42, Automatik Entertainment, Inspire Entertainment, Leeding Media, Netflix, Pioneer Stilking Films
Director: Mikael Håfström
Writer: Rowan Athale, Rob Yescombe
Actors: Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, Emily Beecham, Enzo Cilenti, Michael Kelly, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Brady Dowad, Henry Garrett, Velibor Topic, Pilou Asbæk
Blurb from IMDb: In the near future, a drone pilot sent into a war zone finds himself paired with a top-secret android officer on a mission to stop a nuclear attack.

Selina’s Point of View:
Outside the Wire was a typical war movie with a dash of science fiction thrown in. The problem is that the sci-fi aspects were just as typical.
A drone pilot disobeys orders and launches a missile that kills 2 marines, so he’s sent to work under a snarky, not-quite-normal, captain. Oh, and that captain happens to be the first android in existence – which is a classified fact.
Honestly, I enjoyed the synopsis and the trailer. I knew there would be tropey aspects, but I still thought it had entertainment value. Which, it did.
I was surprised with how dark the story got. It didn’t shy away from showing the atrocities of war. It showcased mass graves, burnt corpses, and the weight of collateral damage.
For a lot of the film, I was on the edge of my seat. There was enough sugar to make the pill easier to swallow, and there was an underlying message to the whole thing. Unfortunately, I feel as though they didn’t have the balls to finish what they started.

It had a decent twist, one that made me think they were going to take the risky path. In fact, the risky paths for the ending outnumbered the safe.
As we neared those last moments, I hoped it would go in any of those risky directions. It would have elevated the movie and really slammed the point home. Instead, it left me frustrated.
The message felt like little more than a red herring. Nothing changes in the end. The world keeps on keeping on.
A lot of the negative reviews go into that. Normally I rake critics over the coals when they attack an otherwise entertaining flick, but I kind of see their point here. It was a decent mindless action movie, but it tried to be more and it failed so spectacularly at that attempt that it’s really hard to ignore.
If you need something action-based to turn your mind off to, it’s really not bad. Just don’t go into it with philosophical questions. Especially not if you expect answers.
So much lost potential there.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ve been eagerly anticipating Outside the Wire, as I mentioned in this month’s Top 20 list. After watching the film and then re-reading my thoughts based solely on the trailer, I realize that I misunderstood the movie’s general plot.
The good news is that it didn’t matter. I still enjoyed it.
In addition to a really solid and plausible sci-fi story, Outside the Wire brings us thought-provoking concepts and poses some hard questions. How much collateral damage is acceptable when seeking peace? When combat becomes machine vs. machine, is there really a deterrent to warfare? There are some deep concepts threaded through the plot of this fast-paced action flick.

Anthony Mackie (Triple 9, Point Blank, Altered Carbon) is at the top of his game here. I was all-in on his performance as a top-secret prototype android. Some of his action sequences were insane and amazing. A movie like this just gets me even more excited for Mackie’s next projects in the MCU.
I haven’t seen a lot of Damson Idris’ (Megan Leavey, The Commuter, Snowfall) work, though I think he did a bang-up job with this role. I really appreciated the depth that he brought to his character’s journey from joystick jockey to boots-on-the-ground combatant.
Honestly, there’s very little that I could fault with this film. The pacing was good, the twists and turns were exciting and interesting, and I’ll reiterate that the action was outstanding. I enjoyed seeing a drone pilot's perspective, as well. It’s an aspect of the modern military that isn’t really shown much in cinema.
All told, if you like sci-fi, action, and movies with lots of combat, then Outside the Wire is going to be right up your alley. I wouldn’t hesitate to give this film a recommendation.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 41%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 27%
Metascore – 48/100
Metacritic User Score – 2.2/10
IMDB Score – 5.2/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5
Movie Trailer:

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