Outside The Wire movie poster

Outside The Wire

In theaters January 15, 2021

Rated

,

115 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , , ,

Outside the Wire drones on for almost two hours, seemingly going out of its way to alienate viewers with a questionable, late plot twist. Anthony Mackie does all the emotional heavy lifting – creating some connection with the audience – but the actor can’t save a movie set for self-destruct.

Lieutenant Thomas Harp (Damson Idris) is a disgraced drone pilot relieved of his duty for failing to follow orders. However, the “higher-ups” deem the soldier’s training too costly to court marshal and discard him from service. Instead, Harp is sent to the frontlines of a deadly war breaking out in Ukraine.

The year is 2036, and U.S. ground forces are backed by drones, robot dogs, and robot soldiers called Gumps. Mackie plays an advanced, sentient android soldier named Captain Leo (he’s occasionally referred to as “Cap” *wink *wink). His mandate is to recover a nuclear-capable device before it finds a way to terrorist Viktor Koval (Pilou Asbæk). Leo partners with Harp to go “outside the wire” (figurative and literal) to prevent a potentially catastrophic event.

The film’s initial premise is straightforward if familiar. Harp is sent to learn his lesson firsthand about the real human consequences of his actions behind a computer screen. The ironic twist is Harp’s teacher isn’t even human, and in some ways, a drone himself. It seems unoriginal, sure, but why not just leave the movie here? After all, this is Netflix on a Friday – “give us a kick-ass action flick, man!” Leo’s actions take multiple turns throughout the movie, endangering the viewer with a bewildering array of unneeded behavioral and moral twists.

Director Mikael Håfström and screenwriters Rowan Athale and Rob Yescombe’s movie couldn’t leave good enough alone, and that’s unfortunate when you score Mackie as your lead. He’s a veteran for sure, showing he can handle his character shifts with ease. His opposite player Idris however, never seems to escape that blank look you get when you’re stuck behind a computer screen all day. As a matter of fact, that’s the face I’m making about this clinker, as not even the action sequences or filmmaking were all that groundbreaking in retrospect.

With Netflix recently announcing the streamer is releasing a new movie every Friday this year, I hope they start thinking outside the box because Outside the Wire just didn’t work for me. The film is available on Netflix beginning Friday, January 15th, 2021.

Movie Reelist Contributor: Chris Giroux
Chris Giroux is founder and editor-in-charge at Movie Reelist, an entertainment news and review blog serving the most fanatic moviegoers. Chris started his publication in Detroit in 2010 and has since reviewed hundreds of films and interviewed numerous talent across the country. He is an avid film festival attendee and red carpet photographer, having shot the likes of Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray, Mark Hamill, and more. Chris grew up in New Mexico, where he studied mass media writing while working in post-production and multimedia authoring. It is also where he discovered Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, resulting in an unhealthy Kurt Russell obsession.

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