The Outpost Movie Review
An intense, nonstop war movie, The Outpost has the action and thrills to rank among the best… if only it had more compelling characters to make the action worth it.
Set in a remote mountainous region of Afghanistan, The Outpost is about a team of American soldiers who find themselves under assault by the Taliban. Bombarded on all sides, they struggle to stay alive until backup arrives.
It’s the simple kind of war story that, if done right, can be highly effective. Director Rod Lurie does an excellent job of depicting a military unit on the outskirts of civilization. Though I have no firsthand experience, The Outpost looks and feels like the real thing. The way the characters interact, the amountthey swear, how they teetoe the line between bravado and outright fear… it’s impressively done. The movie looks fantastic as well.
Where it falls a little short is in its character work. The movie stars a few recognizable faces, most notably Orlando Bloom as the outpost’s commander, but most of the cast serve as largely faceless soldiers. The problem is, Lurie and screenwriters Paul Tamasay and Eric Johnson, don’t do a great job of making them anything more than faceless soldiers. There are plenty of war movies that do an effective job of depicting the horrors of war, but there is a reason so few in recent memory stand the tests of time: a film’s availability to define and develop core characters.
As the Taliban assault continues into the third act and things look increasingly grim for the remaining soldiers, what The Outpost displays on screen is intense; but on an emotional level, it hardly resonates. Lurie spends plenty of setting the stage, and yet doesn’t take the time to firmly establish four or five key, likable characters for us to care for.
Even with its shortcomings, The Outpost serves as an effective portrayal of modern war. The action is often unrelenting, the movie a satisfying homage to the men who served at Outpost Keating.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.