The Outsider (2014)

Holy mother of Jesus. In Hollywood, insipidity seems to get redefined on a continual basis. And, to the chagrin of plenty, business is good. It has got to be, seeing the demand to churn out movies of the ilk is alive and well. It is not that The Outsider is a formulaic, by the numbers treatment of an overdone theme. But the peevish nuisances it can never avoid that condemn the affair. Obviously along with the severe flaw that is the script. Cringe-inducing and mail-it-in may be apt description for an effortless beatdown. Seldom are they applicable to an entire movie featuring several. That it was the film’s sole accomplishment is an indictment of cast and crew, along with one certain viewer. I feel ashamed for having outlined a 1,500+ word statement deploring others to stay clear. As a public service and a cathartic purge, here it is.

It doesn’t look like you’ll be pulling any punches. Let’s hear more.
Okay, so Craig Fairbrass is like the poor man’s Jason Statham. Brutish, British and righteous ass-kicking machine, albeit of the lesser fame and a far greater availability to star in substandard fare. No less, he is meant to play the morally just character would-be victims are to offer little resistance to in a confrontation. You know the type. Taking the backseat are James Caan, Jason Patric, and Shannon Elizabeth. A fairly recognizable bunch, though the acting chops vary. I haven’t checked, but judging from the flyover establishing shots, the budget had to have been in the multi-million range. Which is a sad indicator of the status quo. Demand warrants supply. And though I totally understand the risk-reward axis movies like The Outsider hitch their collective wagons to, here’s a case where it probably backfired in the box office. Again, if certain scenes are anything to go by, what little momentum the studio was hoping to bank on — all of the opening weekend and maybe the second — would have surely fizzled out due to negative word of mouth to recoup the reported $4 million production cost estimates. You have to doubt the reliability of the sources when there aren’t ticket sales numbers anywhere. Maybe it was that big a flop why you can’t find any figures in the first two search result pages.

I thought this was a movie review WordPress.. All’s you’ve been doing is spew vitals.
Right, so you wanted a review. It is about a widower military contractor who, while stationed abroad, is informed his estranged daughter was found dead. He flies home (England) expecting the body to arrive from California, where she lived. It doesn’t, so he flies to the LA County morgue because a man has to get on with his life. Only the body at the morgue is not his daughter’s. Intrigue ensues and that’s about the only thing they got right showing that movies aren’t unlike us men in the eyes of many of the women we first meet; interesting from a glance until we open our mouths and prove the contrary. Next it takes an uncanny route resembling Taken (Threats are made. Hostilities fester. Gloves and safeties come off. Etc..) When he leaves the morgue he takes their copy of the paperwork with him, leaving the examiner more perplexed than he. It’s about an hour and ten minutes of downhill slide next. The quiet before a cringe-fest and vehicle for an assortment of beat up tropes.

Vroom, vroom. Were there any car chases?
Surprisingly not. I’ll give the film a pass and say it hasn’t gone down the drain by then because it is unconfirmed yet whether she’s alive or dead. But immediately afterwards, Lex, whom I haven’t heard him referred to as at all, has an idea of where to search next. Her apartment and her last known place of work. The action flows with the fluidity afforded by a set piece following another, beginning when he all too readily administers a whipping to an uncooperative CEO’s henchmen at the lobby where his daughter worked. This sends him to the cop shop, and the two detectives who discovered the daughter’s alleged body in a remote location, a long ways from where the murder took place. I thought it was a jurisdiction goof because she was killed in an urban area and probably dumped a good distance away to throw off the authorities. But no.

Great! The cops come in, we’re almost done here.
Not quite. Back to the station. The CEO (Caan) conveniently enough lends the film a much needed, and abused lifeline, because we wouldn’t have a film otherwise, when he drops the charges! Kind of like getting a gift turnover and failing to get points off it. And blah, blah, blah, a little of that Yankee vs Limey innuendo makes the script when it finally dawns on Lex that no one in America seems to show the empathy nor benefit of the doubt to fully appreciate the gravity of his claims. He’s the last one to realize no one was listening, he laments at one point. At this time I thought to myself, there’s time to recover. We haven’t seen Shannon Elizabeth yet. How she fits into the plot and what her relation to him could be was still up in the air at this point. I’d ruled out pole dancer because she’s at a stage in her career where she’s done the male gaze thing and is too established to be subject to the limitations of it. Not that I would have minded that, a used up stripper just seemed too low a blow, plus, the stuff of typecasting I’ve found myself ready to deride from Hollywood.

Hey, asshole. Would you get to the plot, already?
At the center of the charade that only serves as a vehicle to smack people around and feed the MMA crowd, is Most Industries dealings in identity theft. The company where Samantha, the daughter, last worked. Not to bother with the deets, but the gist of it is selling stolen identities to unnamed interested parties at a reduced price. The letdown moment for the uninformed. The body found earlier was basically the henchmen getting the wrong girl; their target’s roommate. I didn’t even want to nitpick at how Samantha’s partial IDs happened to be on her person that day. It was an act one hitman was made to pay for in Schhuster’s office in a scene in which the accompanying music made as one you’d see in a TV series. Or a made-for-TV. I don’t know, I haven’t heard that term used in a while. Do they still make those? The rest is carrying out the unfinished work of Samantha, that incidentally forced her into hiding, which is getting back at Schuuster (Caan) a reputed John by infiltrating his mansion during a party using Shannon’s endowed assets in subterfuge.

So you’re saying the entire movie was a vehicle to showcase stock characters and miscellaneous tropes poorly structured around a halfbaked conspiracy?
I assume this is why the movie lost the viewers…

You’ve lost the reader a long while ago now..
I assume this is where the movie may have lost the viewers and critics. The fact that father is eager to help daughter after thinking he’d lost her for good was not sufficient to warrant any further engagement.

And yet you’re still talking..
I’m just going to ignore you. It isn’t so much a conspiracy as an insider (Samantha) willfully participating in exposing a shady enterprise. Lex’s admonishment of her for her part in their estrangement is made a spectacle that goes against (while being in part due to) overprotection, and any family entitlement to privacy. He begins to chastise her like a Disney sitcom dad in front of her boyfriend and Shannon’s character. In stead of his relief at a reunion, we get a back and forth accusatory exchange. And it’s not over. As this all happens, with nary a butt seated yet, the Walkers come up with the plan to put Schuuster away for good. And to end the mystery, Shannon Elizabeth’s character is enlisted to help with the promise of earning 100 grand for the simple task of posing as an outcall hooker while Sam downloads a copy of Most Industries sizable identity database. Break in and occupy attention. Both discreet and delicate equally. A little smart, I’ll admit, except that in the case of an emergency, it’s break the glass and use this device known as Lex Walker to clear an escape path.

It was pathetic and unrealistic, totally undermining any possibility of developing sympathy toward the lead character. I suppose the portrayal was to remain consistent with how Lex had gotten this far. You see, every lead that’s dug up was tackled gung-ho style. Understandable you may say coming from a guy who’s not set to see much action now that he’d severed ties to his livelihood by forcing bereavement leave. But it all betrays any preservation instinct years in the military ought to teach one. Nothing here adheres to common sense. The dialogue is platitude packed, and the action fodder for the Tap Out types and gun nuts alike. Even then there’s never enough to favor one side over another to pander to.

I guess this is the part where we get to the showdown. Or as you movie reviewers like to call, climax.
Schuuster gets shot. His team of body guards is also killed, because why bother with having someone besides our lead live to pick up the pieces. Plus that would constitute a living witness with a remaining agenda to oppose the Walkers’ account in court. And here’s the other thing too. The goon squad is dispatched entirely by one man leaving Schuuster as the last man to cap. He has Shannon in an headlock as a human shield while he tries to improvise survival. In suppose that corresponds to the damsel in distress moment also. Gotta have that. Now with police backup not there (the warrant had to clear) and the gunfight dying out, the cop who was on standby outside comes in. That cop (Klein) will now leave with the newfound sympathy to allow Lex and his entourage to walk without a statement because his life was saved. I’ve never heard leniency being granted for vigilant justice even when an official’s life was at stake. Lex at one point tells Detective Klein he knows the American justice system well. Well enough to know that not all forms of money changing hands constitute bribery.

You’re right. That sounded like a terrible movie… And yet, it serves you right.
I know. I was totally blindsided.