Saturday, September 11, 2021

Movie Reviews: Outside The Wire

Outside The Wire
directed by Mikael Hafstrom
This sci-fi action film was a mishmash of Training Day and Chappie. It was entertaining but it lacked a really compelling Big Bad. 
It was at its core a war movie so I don't think it needed an interesting female role but there were nonetheless a few times when such might have been useful.
I am weary of Hollywood insisting on casting British actors into just about every conceivable role. 
It can take me out of the film to want to believe that someone is American or Ukrainian and hear them speaking in a pronounced British accent. Seems like casting directors and producers should start being open to more talent outside of Great Britain. 
Outside the Wire plays a little at the beginning and a lot later on with some heavy questions around wartime utilitarian ethics and the morality of following orders vs. making your own decisions.
Most of the war action felt much more Marvel like than Saving Private Ryan. I felt like I was watching special effects. That made some sense within the storyline for reasons that will become obvious should you watch the film.
In 2036 there is a Ukrainian civil war. One side wants to join with Russia; the other wants to remain independent. The US has deployed Marine peacekeepers, who are under attack from the pro-Russian side. 
Air Force First Lieutenant Thomas Harp (Damon Idris) is a drone pilot tasked to monitor and destroy significant threats to US soldiers. He does this while snacking on candy from the comfort of a cozy chair safe and secure on a stateside US Air Force base.
During a vicious firefight in the Ukraine, when US Marines are pinned down, Harp notices what he believes to be some enemy heavy weaponry (rocket launchers) being brought to the battlefield. 
Harp requests permission from the ground commander and his own commanding officer to destroy the threat. Both men deny permission because the Marines are still too close to the target. 

Because he's a self-righteous young man with extreme confidence, Harp ignores the direct orders and eliminates the enemy rocket launcher. 
But Harp also kills a number of Marines. Harp thinks this cost was worth it.
Disobeying direct orders, killing Marines, and substituting his judgment for that of wiser, higher ranking, or directly involved officers does not endear Harp to his chain of command. Deciding that court-martial and prison are too good for Harp, his superior officers determine that Harp would be better served experiencing war as an infantryman.
Harp is sent to the Ukraine and assigned to the command of Marine Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie) a special operations officer whose primary purpose in life, besides ridiculing Harp, is preventing local terrorist Viktor Koval (Pilou Asbaek from HBO's Game of Thrones) from obtaining nuclear weaponry. Leo needs Harp's help. 
Thing is though, Leo is not human. He's next generation android. And some of the work he's doing and orders he's giving Harp are things that you aren't taught in the military. Just as with the incident that opened the film, Harp will once again need to choose between following orders or his gut instincts. 
All in all a decent action/sci-fi movie that won't linger in your mind for good reasons or bad ones. Mackie carries the movie.
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