Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: The Outsider

A thoroughly generic action picture about an ass-kicking Brit searching Los Angeles for his missing daughter, The Outsider never rises above the clichés of an overpopulated genre.

Feb 7, 2014

-By Maitland McDonagh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1393898-Outsider_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Has there ever been a genuinely good, low-budget action movie built around a slab of snarling beefcake with a barely concealed soft center and a comic-book name like Lex Walker? OK, other than 1984's The Terminator, which did an end run around the fact that its star's physique was more distinguished than his acting chops by making him a time-traveling cyborg of few words? The Outsider is no genre breakout, but it hits the ground running and never overreaches its abilities, which is more than can be said for many of its peers.
 
A veteran of 25 years in the military, Walker (Craig Fairbrass) appears to have gone through life without encountering a problem he couldn't pummel into submission…except one. Fatherhood, apparently undertaken in haste and ignored at leisure, gradually slipped down his priority list until it dropped off sometime not long before The Outsider's opening scene, in which a pretty young woman is chased to her death plunge from a long, long bridge. Notified that his estranged daughter, Samantha (Melissa Ordway), is dead, Walker hightails it to California to officially identify the body, only to be confronted with a stranger's corpse. But the real Samantha, whose credit cards and ID were found with the corpse, is missing, having recently abandoned both her job and her social life without so much as a word to anyone.
 
Having already kissed his career goodbye—Walker's parting words to the higher-up who refused to grant compassionate leave were, shall we say, intemperate—the born-again dad dedicates himself to finding his daughter. His mission puts Walker at cross-purposes with both honest LAPD detective Klein (Jason Patric) and crooked businessman Schuster (James Caan), who clearly knows more about Samantha than he's letting on, and forces alliances with a tough cookie (Shannon Elizabeth) and a nightclub owner (Johnny Messner) who is quite as sleazy as the shady company he keeps. Let the mayhem begin!
 
To be fair, U.K. tough guy Craig Fairbrass busts ass as well as kicking it—he's been plugging away in movies, TV and videogames since 1980, amassing a substantial, if not particularly stellar, body of work—and resists the impulse to crack wise after cracking heads, a convention that's been stopping action movies dead in their tracks for close to three decades. But it's hard to imagine him cracking the A-list: He's got the look and he isn't a total block of wood, but Fairbrass lacks the cheeky charm that distinguishes the likes of Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham from the Olivier Gruners of the smackdown universe. And without a charismatic lead, The Outsider is just another blip on the B-movie radar.


Film Review: The Outsider

A thoroughly generic action picture about an ass-kicking Brit searching Los Angeles for his missing daughter, The Outsider never rises above the clichés of an overpopulated genre.

Feb 7, 2014

-By Maitland McDonagh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1393898-Outsider_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Has there ever been a genuinely good, low-budget action movie built around a slab of snarling beefcake with a barely concealed soft center and a comic-book name like Lex Walker? OK, other than 1984's The Terminator, which did an end run around the fact that its star's physique was more distinguished than his acting chops by making him a time-traveling cyborg of few words? The Outsider is no genre breakout, but it hits the ground running and never overreaches its abilities, which is more than can be said for many of its peers.
 
A veteran of 25 years in the military, Walker (Craig Fairbrass) appears to have gone through life without encountering a problem he couldn't pummel into submission…except one. Fatherhood, apparently undertaken in haste and ignored at leisure, gradually slipped down his priority list until it dropped off sometime not long before The Outsider's opening scene, in which a pretty young woman is chased to her death plunge from a long, long bridge. Notified that his estranged daughter, Samantha (Melissa Ordway), is dead, Walker hightails it to California to officially identify the body, only to be confronted with a stranger's corpse. But the real Samantha, whose credit cards and ID were found with the corpse, is missing, having recently abandoned both her job and her social life without so much as a word to anyone.
 
Having already kissed his career goodbye—Walker's parting words to the higher-up who refused to grant compassionate leave were, shall we say, intemperate—the born-again dad dedicates himself to finding his daughter. His mission puts Walker at cross-purposes with both honest LAPD detective Klein (Jason Patric) and crooked businessman Schuster (James Caan), who clearly knows more about Samantha than he's letting on, and forces alliances with a tough cookie (Shannon Elizabeth) and a nightclub owner (Johnny Messner) who is quite as sleazy as the shady company he keeps. Let the mayhem begin!
 
To be fair, U.K. tough guy Craig Fairbrass busts ass as well as kicking it—he's been plugging away in movies, TV and videogames since 1980, amassing a substantial, if not particularly stellar, body of work—and resists the impulse to crack wise after cracking heads, a convention that's been stopping action movies dead in their tracks for close to three decades. But it's hard to imagine him cracking the A-list: He's got the look and he isn't a total block of wood, but Fairbrass lacks the cheeky charm that distinguishes the likes of Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham from the Olivier Gruners of the smackdown universe. And without a charismatic lead, The Outsider is just another blip on the B-movie radar.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Bicycling with Moliere
Film Review: Bicycling with Moliere

This sly, witty, charming comedic contemporary study of a fraught friendship between two actors hoping to mount a Molière classic is also a ride through France’s beautiful Ile de Ré island. More »

Locke
Film Review: Locke

Taut, disturbing and unique drama about a man racing toward his destiny, providing Tom Hardy, literally, with a vehicle to flaunt his acting chops. More »

Small Time
Film Review: Small Time

You might not buy a used car from the guys in Small Time, but you will enjoy the movie about their exploits, even their exploitations (of others). More »

Fading Gigolo
Film Review: Fading Gigolo

Some top screen talent gets lost in the silliness surrounding the amorous adventures of an unlikely gigolo and his even more unlikely pimp, with writer/director/actor John Turturro the shtupper “ho” co-starring with Woody Allen as the mercenary shtup-enabler. Yarmulkes off to Turturro’s brave but deeply ill-conceived comedic foray into Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community and other alien territory. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Transcendence
Film Review: Transcendence

Johnny Depp is an idealistic researcher whose consciousness is uploaded into an artificial intelligence in this slick techno-thriller with delusions of seriousness from Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer. More »

Draft Day
Film Review: Draft Day

Pro football manager faces crises on the most important day of his career in a well-tooled vehicle for Kevin Costner. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here