Movies are a particularly effective guilty pleasure. Some, like action films or gross out comedies, are simply there to entertain. However, guilty pleasure films are only effective when made a certain way: simplistic, gleefully over the top, and with a winking sense of humor.
The Outsider, written and directed by Brian A. Miller, unfortunately displays none of these characteristics. A career military man, Lex (Craig Fairbrass) is told his daughter is dead. But after the wrong girl is found in the morgue, Lex goes on a mission to find out where his daughter really is.
For the first half of the film, The Outsider seems to be doing its best impersonation of Taken. But once Lex finds his daughter, the movie goes from a man on a rampage to find his daughter to a complicated and unnecessary heist film.
The characters are flat and one dimensional. Lex for instance is tough, cool, and an excellent fighter who also loves his daughter. That’s it. What you see from him is what you get. The supporting characters can be described in even fewer words and are mostly there to spout out expositional dialogue.
The Outsider also suffers from a lack of urgency. There’s no ticking clock to keep it moving at more than a lackadaisical pace.
Movies like Taken or Man on Fire succeed because of the reasons laid out earlier. A man on a singular quest violently takes down anyone in his way, and does so in such a way that the audience is able to put disbelief aside and go along for the ride.
The Outsider fails in this when it changes from a revenge story to a heist film. Unfortunately, it becomes a watered down version of both, resulting in an inoffensive but forgettable film.
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