Written by Elliot Lines
A concoction of ideas. Take films such as Terminator, The Hurt Locker, Gemini Man, Black Hawk Down, compile them together and you get the outcome of Netflix's new Sci-fi action war film Outside the Wire.
Set in 2036, where robots (called "gumps") and human fight side by side. When a young drone pilot, Harp (Damson Idris), makes a decision that cost the lives of his fellow troops. He gets sent to Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie) who has surprises in store, he is not human, but an android made to seem human. Together they attempt to stop Victor Koval (Pilou Asbæk) from getting his hands on some nuclear codes that could spell the end for millions of Americans.
Fully humanised androids is all to familiar in film, and the use of them in a military fashion is the normal direction.
Mackie is flexing his super human side here, almost as if he'd had the same serum as Captain America. This creates some astonishing fight scenes, some of which become all too gruesome. Most notably Captain Leo taking on Victor Koval, a stand out scene with some interesting ideas. These moments come thick and fast, the film isn't afraid of the bold explosive action, even if the "gumps" aren't all that impressive to look at.
Each character you meet has a purpose, but the film seems to attempt to focus on the story-line rather than actually introduce any kind of characteristics. There are little attempts when Cpt Leo makes wise cracks to Harp, but these almost get shut down by the script, which doesn't elaborate on any of the personal tones it touches on, making them almost redundant.
With more focus on the plot you would think the film would succeed on the story telling level, and for the most part this ran quite smoothly. Easing characters in, which have meaning to the story and moving at a decent pace most could follow. It is the back end where this fell apart. Adding a little more complexity to the story weighed this down, and just when you think this was drawing to a close you realise there was still 45 minutes left of the run time. Where it did come to some kind of conclusion, the payoff wasn't all that great. Stick to the action sequences and simplicity, rather than introduce an ulterior motive for your main character.
Outside the Wire will be watched by many, a film in which the typical tropes for this genre all appear. It's not all that memorable, and will most likely get lost in amongst the Netflix library, but it certainly does provide some fun, entertaining and intense action sequences throughout.
Out on Netflix January 15, 2021