Outside the Wire review: Netflix delivers an adequate sci-fi action B-movie

OUTSIDE THE WIRE, ​Anthony Mackie ​as ​Leo, Damson Idris as Harp, in OUTSIDE THE WIRE. Cr. ​Jonathan Prime​/NETFLIX ​© ​2020
OUTSIDE THE WIRE, ​Anthony Mackie ​as ​Leo, Damson Idris as Harp, in OUTSIDE THE WIRE. Cr. ​Jonathan Prime​/NETFLIX ​© ​2020 /
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Is Outside The Wire good?

Anchored by impressive action and visual effects, Outside the Wire proves to be a decent action-packed thrill ride that fans of the genre will not want to miss.

Outside the Wire is the latest action flick to make its way into Netflix’s stacked library, and many are probably curious about how it fares from start to finish. While it is not on par with the likes of Extraction, and The Old Guard, it will prove to be a solid addition that fans of similar sci-fi stories like I, Robot, or Robocop will absolutely enjoy.

The film, helmed by the 2003 directors of the movie Evil, Mikael Håfström, stars MCU Veteran and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie, who Netflix subscribers will also recognize from his work in the action original Point Blank, an episode of Black Mirror and the second season fo the sci-fi action series Altered Carbon. In Outside the Wire, however, Mackie is the supporting player in a story that follows a drone pilot, played by Snowfall’s Damson Idris, who disobeys orders and is transferred to work under an android officer.

As far as the story goes, it’s a pretty by-the-numbers sci-fi action flick that tries a little harder than it needs to in attempting to deliver a twits-filled affair that will keep audiences guessing until the very end. Despite having a lengthy runtime that might have been better suited to be a ninety-minute ordeal, the film feels a bit rushed, and the military aspect doesn’t feel very authentic.

The robotic side of things is pretty cool, and the sci-fi elements regarding how Captain Leo works are intriguing. Understanding the logic of his plan is a bit of a noodle scratcher, but the twist at the ending does make the whole experience a worthwhile endeavor if one can make it to the end.

Mackie is the obvious highlight of Outside the Wire, and just like every other role he takes on, his execution is exceptional, and he is most assuredly one of the top-tier action stars in the industry. He does such a great job with what he has to work with that a prequel film or series, showing how his character Captain Leo got to that point is something that streaming service should consider and may eclipse this version.

It’s hard to determine whether Idris just had a bad outing in this one or if he didn’t have a lot two work with script-wise. He is very talented, and this role should by no means be an example of his ability. But he struggles to carry the film, and his character is never likable, taking a bit away from the climax of the story.

Rounding out the cast includes Game of Thrones actor Pilou Asbæk, who is never bad at being a menacing bad guy, but doesn’t get enough screen time and feel wasted overall. Emily Beecham, who is a proven TV action star from her time on Into the Badlands, is also underutilized but does a good job regardless. House of Cards alum Michael Kelly is also on hand doing an outstanding job as the generic military officer guy.

The real standout MVPs of Outside the Wire are the visual effects and the action sequences. The look of Anthonie Mackie’s android physique is brilliantly designed and flawlessly executed. The Gumps are also very well designed, which is worth notice considering so many other titles do a terrible job of animating robot soldiers.

The fight and combat choreography is lightyears above the rest of the film in terms of quality and deserves an ample amount of recognition for their masterful display of breathtaking battles that stand out as the true champion of the Netflix original sci-fi film. It’s usually one or the other, but Outside the Wire manages to offer up both a stylish and exhilarating experience successfully.

The real issues lie with the underdeveloped script and an adequate plot that is oversaturated with robot protocols. The story is a bit of a jumbled mess and feels like it focuses on the wrong character.

Mackies is particularly strong in this one, and fans of his will not want to miss this one. As for the rest of the Netflix motion picture, Outside the Wire is a perfect choice for fans looking for a decent B-level action flick with some smooth sci-fi visuals when they need a reliable option for movie night.

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