‘Outside the Wire’ is a flawed but  mostly entertaining Netflix Original

by Gordon Shelly

In the not-so-distant future a civil war between pro-Russian insurgents and local rebels rages in the Ukraine. US peacekeeping forces find themselves in the midst of the battle to help save the day. The soldiers are a mix of Marines, drone pilots and robotic super solders called “Gumps.” A drone pilot named Harp (Damson Idris) finds himself in a precarious situation after he disobeys a direct order, launches a strike, and kills two Marines in the process. As punishment he is reassigned to a top secret mission with Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie). Leo is a secret weapon, a human-like android with superhero-type powers. Leo and Harp engage on a mission to stop a nuclear attack and in the process the robot warrior will teach Harp more about his own humanity than he could have imagined.

Outside the Wire achieves the number one goal of any movie – it entertains. It’s a bit of a science fiction movie, mixed with a buddy cop drama, but mostly it is a mix of an action and war movie with all of the tropes of such an adventure. Harp is partnered with Leo to bring a human element to the mission, or so it seems, but the movie takes a few interesting twists and not is all is as it seems. The movie itself stays on mission as much is it can, while asking the big questions we expect from such a science fiction movie where robots and humans co-exist. Who is actually the more human? The robot or the man? Can the man learn from the robot? Can the robot learn humanity from the man?

As a philosophical science fiction flick, Outside the Wire falls flat, never finding its own voice and leaving the viewer knowing they have seen this all before. As a war movie, however, it works quite well. The action is intense and on-going and there is just enough compassion between the two characters to keep us interested in their journeys and their outcomes.

Gordon’s Grade: C