With cinema attendance still in a state of flux (or in some cases, non-existence), it is up to streaming services to provide us with entertainment. A few weeks back, Disney+ unveiled a long list of TV programmes and movies that will be heading our way in the coming months (hurrah), and this week Netflix made a rather significant announcement of its own: The streaming service promises to drop at least one new movie every week throughout the whole of 2021.
Over the weeks and months, we will see a huge collection of movies, including The Woman in the Window and Red Notice. Some of these movies will be much-talked about affairs, that film fans have been waiting for; while others will be obscure titles or sequels to existing Netflix pictures.
One of the first movies out of the gate is this week’s new release, Outside the Wire – a sci-fi feature set in the near future. The movie, about a drone pilot and an a cyborg sent on a secret mission, is directed by Mikael Håfström, and stars Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, and Emily Beecham.
From the poster and the short teaser that plays on Netflix, Outside the Wire looks like a decent action flick, with enough bangs and bullets to fill out an otherwise slow Saturday night. Unfortunately, Outside the Wire is far from it, and is instead a ponderously slow picture that is likely to bore audiences into a coma within 20 minutes of pressing play.
I stuck with it beyond the 20-minute mark, and I am not entirely sure why. Perhaps I soldiered on so I could offer a fully-rounded review; or possibly it is because I couldn’t be arsed to switch it off, as I was too distracted stuffing Mini Cheddars into my mouth.
And before you ask, yes, the two-hour run-time of this movie was a long time to spend eating Mini Cheddars and I really should think of my health. But I would argue that the two-hour Mini Cheddar binge was far more enjoyable than the two-hours of boredom I endured watching Outside the Wire.
Now it is at this point that I should tell you about some of the minor plot details, to give you a better understanding of the movie. However, I really don’t feel you need me to do this. Instead, let me explain how this picture plays out, in terms of its ‘action scene’ to ‘everything else’ ratio.
At the beginning of the movie there’s a bit of action. Then there is some talking, largely about nothing, then WHAM(!), another action scene.
Back to lots of talking, still largely about nothing, then WHAM(!!), another action scene. Some more talking, still about nothing, then WHAM(!!!), more action. This pattern continues for 115 minutes, and gets increasingly tedious along the way.
The film’s only saving grace is Anthony Mackie, who plays a sort-of android/enhanced super soldier. He’s part Captain America, part RoboCop, and VERY bloody good in every action scene he is in.
Mackie is a great actor, largely known for his work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and one who really comes to life when given the right role. To date, the MCU has side-lined and underserved him, but Outside the Wire demonstrates what he can bring to the screen when allowed to take centre stage and this bodes well for his forthcoming show, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
But Mackie can’t save Outside the Wire, and no matter how often he leaps about the screen or pops a cap in someone’s ass, the movie just falls flat. And then falls into an unending void of dullness, that goes on… and on… and on.
Just in case you’re wondering, no, I’m not drunk, I’m not high on Mini Cheddars (is that a thing?), and I’ve not decided to abandon my usually quite detailed style of reviewing for some quick gags and a chance to bad mouth a movie. Instead, I am just very bored.
Outside the Wire has all the makings of a decent film, and I can see huge potential, but this is a complete snooze-fest. By all means, stick it on while you’re doing the ironing, defrosting the freezer, or watching the emulsion dry on your freshly painted walls, but certainly don’t centre a whole evening around this film.
I have high hopes for what Netflix is going to deliver this year, and I look forward to seeing all of the movies that are promised. As far as I am concerned, this one is simply a bump along the way.