Outside the Wire (2021)

★★ | by

Posted on Jan 17, 2021

© Automatik Entertainment, 42 Films, Inspire Entertainment, Netflix | Jonathan Prime


In the near future, a drone pilot sent into a war zone finds himself paired up with a top-secret android officer on a mission to stop a nuclear attack.

The feeling of entrapment washes over me again, as I select the number #1 trending film on UK Netlix… and for the numerous time, I’m left feeling frustrated. Reeled into a film, with a great trailer and great cast. The film starts with ‘Harp’ (Damson Idris) overseeing, via drone, a combat mission for the US military. The eeriness around the cold hearted, logical motions of Harp’s demeanour were well portrayed for the first part of the film, left the audience in suspense with a lot of unanswered questions.

It did somewhat surprise me that the Lieutenant would not be receiving a court martial after disobeying orders and proceeding to unleash a missile onto a launcher, but there we go. Instead Harp would be going to a random base to see out his punishment. This should have been my first clue that the film would be somewhat force feeding us into the next scene, as if the semantics didn’t matter. Upon entering the random base (which even had random robot dogs) is where we encounter Captain Leo (Anthony Markie). Leo reveals himself to Harp to be an artificial intelligence robot and not the human commander in chief Harp was expecting. The whole scene felt like it was an extended portrayal of altered carbon.

As the film progressed the more I thought 2036 was a tad ridiculous for the film to be set in. But then again a film focused around a demilitarised zone between Russia and the Ukraine with militant serving robots, was equally ridiculous. I didn’t really understand any of the plot concepts and the exceptionally quick rate that A.I. rules can be followed, over ridden, obeyed, not-obeyed was just too much to keep up with. At that point I’d already relaxed my mind to knowing that the fight scenes were going to be great and Victor was the bad guy. Clinging onto this, got me through the film to be honest.

The story takes a big U-turn two-thirds of the way through, which frankly saved this from being a 1 star, to a 2 star (2.5 at a push). It opened the audience to an element of the significance of what A.I. and UAVs can bring to militaries, both positive and it’s negative. I wouldn’t go as far as saying the film was ‘anti-drone’, but it was refreshing to see that there was a recognition of its downsides. The message of the film was pretty simple; collateral due to logical decisions from a place of safety and warmth, do in fact have their consequences.

If you like a below-average action film with death, destruction, and random robots, then this is the film for you.

If your war machine turns against you, why should I care? – Sofiya

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