Wednesday, August 11, 2010

BAD MOVIE REVIEW: Outpost (2008)

Outpost was a pleasant surprise that I really didn't see coming.  In a lot of ways this film is great but it still manages to miss the mark in the end.  There could be an endless debate on this film from a variety of angles but that would be something better left to a discussion thread and not a review.  So anywho, if you're looking for a quick answer on if you should watch it or not...that answer is an easy, yes!

I'd like to do a little comparison talk with you.  In a lot of ways I felt as joyful and hooked in to this movie as I did with Neil Marshall's Dog Soldiers.  They are similar in a lot of ways but completely different in others.  They both have a group of soldiers out in the woods.  They both come up against an unforseeable supernatural enemy.  They both use atmosphere and characters very well.  What happened with Outpost though is that, unlike Dog Soldiers, there was no "one" person that I cared for.  Even when the music and picture suggested I should feel terrible that this guy is dying, I just felt numb.  This could have easily been remidied in the beginning with some more talk between the men or some feeling that they are out for one another.  Also, this film tried so hard to give the viewer a sense of confinement and claustrophobia within the walls of the outpost.  They tried but honestly, I felt nothing.

Now what makes this movie so great is the atmosphere and the actors.  It's surprising at times just how far great acting and low lighting can make a movie so good.  Obviously the budget wasn't there to go all out with the special effects but they did a damn good job with what they had.  The story progressed quickly.  The first part of the film dragged a bit but they sprinkled in just enough to keep you interested.  The survivor is really the reason (storywise) that I had to keep watching.  I just had to know what he had to do with everything.

I would like to talk about the premise.  I think it's a genius and very creative concept.  Anybody that knows me or my writing knows that I love creativity.  It tends to get somewhat outlandish, but this movie uses science to back up its claim.  If you have not watched the film you may want to continue to the next paragraph since it may ruin it for you.  Here...I'll even put it in code so you don't accidently catch it in your peripherals.  Take out the x's and f's.  nxafzxi zxofmfbxiffexs!!!  The story behind the creatures is the genius part. Again....spoiler alert.  A machine capable of making soldiers with the capability of turning invisible and reappearing while at the same time being invincible to bullets is brilliant!  There's more science to it in the film.  I couldn't tell you if its entirely accurate or not but it sounds good enough for me, the ignorant viewer.

Now if you've skipped to this paragraph and need to know what its all about.  A man hires a group of mercenaries to go deep into a bad area of Europe in search of an old outpost.  They don't know anything about whats in store for them, they just know its easy money and a quick job.  Get him in safely, get whatever he's after, and get out.  Of course, things get out of hand and they are up against a new enemy.  What they find in the outpost is something none of them would have thought possible and none of them are prepared to handle it....but they do anyway.

Actors, actors, actors.  This movie's got some actors.  This movie has some damn fine actors.  Honestly, the reason I watched this movie was for Ray Stevenson.  You may have seen him on HBO's Rome as Titus Pullo.  Since I've watched that show I've been a fan of the guy and this film just makes me like him more.  It's kind of interesting that I compare this movie to Dog Soldiers since both star one of the soldier duo in Rome.  Kevin McKidd starred in Dog Soldiers and Ray Stevenson stars here in Outpost.  They really outta put them together in a dual dvd set.  The only other person I knew of is Richard Brake, who's been in some crappy horror movies like Doom and Death Machine but more recently Perkins' 14.  He's not a bad actor, just happened to be in a couple bad movies, which coincidentily I enjoyed.  The rest I've never heard of before but they did a fantastic job.

What exactly was missed here?  I spoke before that it's a great film that seemed to miss the mark in the end.  There are inconsistencies that show up in the end.  The creatures seem to have the ability to appear in close off rooms or anywhere they damn well please.  Throughout the film they move quickly and viciously.  In the end, they move slow and lankey.  They seem to only rule in two dimensions.  Perhaps they were just playing with them but that doesn't seem right.  The ending was a little unexpected and not very satisfying.  It's like they had this great idea but they could not figure out a genius way to end it so they just ended it and gave it a cheap ending.  This of course could lead to more Outpost films and my understanding there is an Outpost 2 in the works but it could have been better.

After all is said in done it was worth the experience.  The film is roughly 85 minutes so if you completely dread it, its not so long that its a waste of time.  It has its moments and it has its downfalls but what low budget straight to DVD film doesn't?  Give it a shot, if not for anything else at least give it a shot for Ray Stevenson.  Great film but could have been better.

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