'Outside the Wire': Actioner you needed, philosophy you didn't
I Robot had raised great expectations about a movie that dealt with how machines, designed for war, would exercise emotional intelligence if need be. The promos of Outside The Wire threw in everything instantly likable of I Robot—the technology, the heightened fighting abilities and flawless precision, and even Will Smith (we are talking Anthony Mackie here, as that is what the film sells).
The initial storyline takes you in. There is this overconfident drone pilot named Harp, played by Damson Idris, who hovers around his target of a war zone with injured US soldiers, his own countrymen while stuffing popcorn in his mouth. His confidence ruins everything, as he makes a rather difficult choice of disobeying a superior's command of holding fire. His missile kills two soldiers.
Failing to convince officers that he decided to save 38 soldiers on the ground by firing at the launcher for the greater good, Harp is given a deployment drive to work on the ground in a base under Mackie's Captain Leo, who isn't like others. Mackie appears all analytical, flashing his android circuits with a cheesy dialogue about accepting his biotech existence, commanding for acceptance.
Harp continues to exhibit his woke indifference, something so artificial that it makes you think that director Mikael Håfström is desperate to squeeze some bromance within the two. But we must believe that Mackie's irritating mustache is part of a design that shows compassion towards even the enemy, thus making mediation easier. Don't troll me yet, as the fight sequences really make it worthwhile.
Let's understand what the title focuses on. It's a territory outside US jurisdiction in an area where the US army is (as always) being deployed to maintain peace between an emerging terrorist and Ukrainians torn in the strife, hoping to survive. It's where Harp learns to use the gun, gets scared by rival Russian gumps (combat robots of known technology), and distrusts Leo.
There are nukes involved, Russian terrorists informed, and the one on the hit list named Victor Koval just dishes out THAT accent we all know, before being killed like a moron. However, Håfström has done one good job of giving enough one-on-one Russian v/s US Gump fights and impressive stunts by Mackie to bear his smile when Idris gets tired of being played out.
Besides I Robot, Outside the Wire also reeks of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, with Mackie's Leo running like T-1000 and even getting hit by shotgun likewise (the CGI is similar, too). And spare me the philosophy of how the US gets to blame itself and save itself from the guilt of collateral damage. That done-to-death storyline with a lengthy timeline gets a 2.5/5.