‘Outside the Wire’ brings plenty of action but with tedious, cookie-cutter plot

This futuristic, Cold-War inspired sci-fi film delivers excellent action sequences but falls short with its unoriginal plotline.  With the film’s generic objective to stop a nuclear attack, the disgraced drone pilot Harp (Damson Iris) and his cyborg captain Leo (Anthony Mackie) team up.  Despite the film reaching #2 in trending on Netflix, this should not be viewed as a sign of critical success considering the discouraging 36% it received on Rotten Tomatoes.  

Set in the distant future during the year 2036, the film follows a war being fought in Eastern Europe that includes the use of robotic warfare.  The film opens with Harp, a soldier who is in a difficult dilemma involving a drone strike.  Harp is forced to act on his own instincts and calls a drone strike which he believes will save thirty-eight soldiers and eliminate two.  Although Harp’s impulse is correct, he disobeys orders from higher ranking officers, which leads to him being placed in the warzone to meet with secret android, Captain Leo.  

At first sight, Leo’s cyborg appearance seems interesting but upon watching the film I found that his character had little allure.  Even though Mackie played the role of a strong warrior very well, there was almost no specific information that elaborated on his character including his cyborg abilities among other things.  The film failed to push the boundaries of Leo’s character which ultimately contributed to the movie’s shallow plot. 

In comparison to Leo, Harp’s character was superior.  Harp starts off as a cold drone pilot who failed to realize that real human lives were at stake when doing his job. At the beginning of the film, Harp is piloting from inside a shipping container in the Nevada desert, not being able to comprehend the emotions and harpships coming from the battlefield.  This lack of exposure hardens the young pilot into taking human lives for granted. Harp is conflicted, but as he experiences war from “Outside the Wire” he realizes the weight of his actions as a pilot and begins to see more value in individual soldiers.  

Thematically, the film can be viewed as an anti-war sentiment by having the viewer question how ethical drones really are.  The film did an excellent job of illustrating the repercussions of drone strikes and the collateral damage that encompasses them.  

Where this movie truly shines is the action scenes.  The fights are well choreographed with Leo being a standout fighter.  The cinematography of the action sequences are eye-catching, showing Leo single-handedly taking down large numbers of men, almost giving off a Winter Soldier-esque vibe.  

Even though Outside the Wire is regarded as an entertaining film, the plot gets tedious as the movie progresses, leaving the viewer bored.  Director Håfström used a common topic to make this movie and followed a very predictable path, making similar mistakes as other films have.  

Grade: B