OUTSIDE THE WIRE (2021)
Action aplenty is not enough to cover for the want-to-be complex story of Outside the Wire that falters after the thrilling opening scenes.
The year is 2036 and a problematic drone pilot (Damson Idris) is sent to partner with an android-human hybrid officer (Anthony Mackie) to stop a Russian terrorist attempting to gain control of Ukraine’s nuclear defense systems. Cool premise, poor execution. You will feel as though you are watching a low-budget television show or an indie without much backing; both the graphics and the cinematography is subpar. And while Mackie is often a delight on screen, his character’s tough-as-nails, no BS attitude becomes domineering over the talented actor behind it. Perhaps it is the fault of the script, which also doesn’t do Idris any favors. The dialogue is uninspired and generic in many ways, filled with an overabundance of f**ks that is borderline annoying, let alone distracting. When not dropping those f-bombs, Mackie spends most of his time literally running in scene after scene.
I think there is a lesson here about over-reliance on technology in warfare. There is also some sort of message here about the price of war, both on the ground and waged remotely, as Idris’s character must face the reality of drone strikes leaving countless casualties first-hand (this was a note I wrote while watching the film, moments before it was said verbatim). In fact, much of the plot is advanced only by each character taking the time to explain and break it down for the audience, a trait of weak storytelling that is simply tiresome. Outside the Wire would have worked better as a series, allowing time to flesh out the futuristic world in which it is set and further dive into the technology-driven war being waged. Unfortunately, the film is sci-fi misfire that could have been so much more.
Outside the Wire hits Netflix Friday.