Netflix gave film fans more than just a glimmer of hope for new content earlier this week when they announced that their 2021 slate would include at least one new original film a week, 71 films in fact for the whole year. Now, that is a hell of a lot of content for us to sink our teeth into and I welcome it with open arms with no signs of cinemas opening in the UK any time soon. Netflix have already hit the ground running in 2021 with awards favourite Pieces of a Woman but their latest release, Outside the Wire, offers up a slice of sci-fi entertainment that backs up the idea there will be a lot of variety across their 2021 slate.

In the near future, drone pilot Thomas Harp (Damson Idris) is sent to a deadly militarized zone to work with Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie), a top-secret android officer, on a mission to locate a doomsday device.

Sci-fi is a genre that thrives on interesting concepts and sometimes groundbreaking filmmaking to boot, the former being something that Outside the Wire certainly possesses however, thanks to the curse of weak writing that strikes a number of these Netflix films, it isn't really a concept that they make the most of. There's enough exposition throughout but when the film reaches its conclusion it feels as if certain character motivations are too underdeveloped and don't have the desired impact.

The narrative is served rather well by some pretty good action sequences, whether it be the brutal hand-to-hand combat or the warzone gunfights scattered throughout. Some of it may be a little ridiculous but it really does suit the film and I had a lot of fun with it all.

Anthony Mackie is the big name attached to this project and he's clearly having a blast as the foul-mouthed Captain taking on a new recruit. No one could accuse Mackie of lacking confidence and he puts that to great use to give Outside the Wire the strong lead it needs to work. Damson Idris as Mackie's subordinate is just at the start of his career and shows great potential here to go on to better things, his chemistry with Mackie being one of the highlights of the film.

It may not live long in the memory after viewing or challenge its audience to think outside the box (or wire) but Outside the Wire is most definitely an entertaining popcorn flick to settle down with on a Friday night. You know what? Sometimes that's all you need in life.

Verdict: ★★★


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