Set in the not too distant future of 2036, where civil war has broken out in Eastern Europe and the US have been stationed there to keep the peace, Outside The Wire is a futuristic, sci-fi movie packed with action and twists and turns.
Rookie drone pilot, Lieutenant Harp (Damson Idris) is sent into the field as punishment for not following orders and killing two Marines (let’s just forget that he actually saved 38 out of 40 for the purpose of the plot!) He’s thrown straight in at the deep end as he’s tasked with accompanying Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie) on a dangerous mission to deliver some vaccines to locals.
There’s more than meets the eye with Leo though as he quickly reveals himself to be a robot – well, actually a secret prototype of a new breed. It’s the use of robots which gives this film its futuristic feel. They have a heavy presence as the US Marines use robot soldiers called ‘Gumps’ to try and keep the peace. Leo’s robotic appearance is much more sleek, giving off a very Terminator meets Ex Machina vibe. There’s light and shade to Leo which kind of distracts from the robotic element and left me a little confused with the essence of his character.
I’m sure many fans of this genre will completely enjoy this. We’re thrown straight into the plot and there’s a lot going on. Both Damson Idris and Anthony Mackie do a great job, but I found myself wishing that they had better material to work with. Mackie is great in the Marvel franchise and by the end of this movie you’re left in no doubt of his capability to lead a great action movie successfully. Perhaps it’s quick pace and lack of use of so many characters who you’re lead to believe are integral to the story, results in some dissatisfaction and the betrayal leading to an explosive ending just lacks a punch. It carries some great concepts of man vs robots, war and humanity but by the end of the movie these just miss the mark.
There are however some really good scenes. The stand off between Harp and a bunch of extremists and their robots is very enjoyable as he scrambles to save members of public from being blown up in the middle of the street. Pilou Asbæk might be criminally underused but the fight between him and Leo is another highlight of the movie which sticks out in my mind.
Outside The Wire shows off a great cast and has some great action, behind which has a strong message. It just doesn’t seem to find its stride and that’s a real shame because it has plenty of potential.