Review: ‘Outside the Wire’ stays inside the box

Sun, 2021-01-17 10:21

LONDON: Seemingly overnight, Anthony Mackie has gone from
supporting player in the sprawling Marvel universe to one of
Netflix’s most bankable action leads, appearing in such diverse
shows as Charlie Brooker’s “Black Mirror,† season two of
“Altered Carbon†and the ambitious 2019 sci-fi epic

Leading man status is hardly a surprise since Mackie has proven
himself capable of dramatic heft in films such as “The Hurt
Locker†and sardonic camaraderie when playing Sam Wilson, Captain
America’s friend and sidekick.

But it makes it all the more disappointing when a film doesn’t
give him enough to do. In “Outside the Wire†Mackie plays Leo,
an android super soldier embedded in a European war zone who
recruits a naive drone pilot to help him prevent nuclear

In what could have been a fascinatingly paradoxical (maybe even
cerebral) spin on the genre, Leo is a weapon with an anti-war
stance. He is designed to win hearts and minds, but is capable of
shockingly efficient bouts of violence. And, in another potentially
fascinating narrative move, he is partnered with rookie soldier
Thomas Harp (British actor Damson Idris), who has never seen
conflict up close.

These ingredients could make for an altogether different take on
the standard military action thriller, but Swedish director Mikael
Hafstrom opts for the safe, spectacular path instead. All of which
is done very well, though a little long.

“Outside the Wire†is nicely paced, well choreographed and
avoids any narrative lulls by knowing precisely when to ramp up the
action. Mackie packs a (literal) punch when called for, but is
never given much more to do than scowl and kick terrorists through

The movie is perfect middle-of-the-road sci-fi — it asks a few
interesting questions, but never really troubles itself trying to
come up with the answers.

Anthony Mackie cements his leading man status in an uncomplicated Netflix sci-fi thriller. Supplied
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Source: FS – All – Interesting – News
Review: ‘Outside the Wire’ stays inside the box