Netflix had a huge year in 2020 with a list of great movies released on the streaming service. 2021 is not starting out well for them.
Outside the Wire is the new sci-fi/action film starring Anthony Mackie. Set in the future, a drone pilot Lt. Harp (Damson Idris) disobeys orders and he makes a dangerous decision that winds up getting himself into trouble and sent to a specific place as a punishment. There, he meets Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie), an android officer, who is on his way for a mission to stop a Russian insurgent from getting nuclear codes.
While there are some decent action bits in the movie with some interest fire fights, there was little emotional depth to any of them, which tends to make them both hard to care about and easily forgettable. Typing this up right now just a few hours after watching the film, I cannot remember any specific action sequence worth the time in Outside the Wire.
Then, while Anthony Mackie is a charismatic actor with a remarkable screen presence, the film places him in a character that simply is not allowed to do that. There are a few flashes of Mackie’s charm here and there, but he is more of a hard nosed robot than a leading man. Damson Idris is shown in the first half of the movie in such an inconsistent manner that you’re never sure if you are meant to be rooting for the character or if he is meant to be the one learning about his own mistakes. He was very dislikable for much of the run time of the movie, which is not a good choice in the story that they are outlining.
The third act completely blows off the rails too. The first part of the film was dull and disposable, but the final half of the movie spends its time deconstructing just about everything that the movie set up in the first part. Without spoilers, there are some decisions made that make no sense and exist to simply give the narrative that twist that too many movies are expected to have.
By the way, there are not really any reason for the military to have these robots they called Gumps. In fact, much of the sci-fi aspects of this movie are extraneous and a waste of time. This does not have to be a sci-fi story. In fact, Anthony Mackie did not even need to be an android. All of the science fiction could be removed and the story could still work exactly as it is as a strictly action movie.
Unfortunately, this is a film that you won’t remember too long after you see it. I am sure that in December of this year, I will look at the title of the movie and wonder exactly what this was about.