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The Outsider (Blu-ray Review)

The Outsider - www.whysoblu.comRecalled from the battlefields of Afghanistan to identify the remains of his daughter, British mercenary Lex Walker (Craig Fairbrass) arrives in Los Angeles to find that the body in the morgue belongs to a stranger. With his daughter now missing, Walker convinces a street-wise detective (Jason Patric) that his daughter is still alive and in danger. The two follow a trail of high-tech intrigue that leads them to his daughter’s former boss (James Caan), a crooked cyber-millionaire who will do whatever it takes to protect his empire – including taking down anyone who gets in his way. Driven by desperation and rage, Walker must fight his way through an army of thugs and hired killers to save the one person that means more to him than life itself. 

The Outsider - www.whysoblu.com

Film 

Lex Walker (Craig Fairbrass) is a mercenary by trade but when he gets the bad news that his daughter has been found murdered he drops everything he is doing and travels to Los Angeles to claim the body. Things are not what they appear as he soon finds out that what happened to his daughter is all part of a much more elaborate plan with seedier implications. Two detectives are on the case, played by Jason Patric (cashing a check) and William DeVry. They’re on the case of Lex’s daughter. James Caan also makes an appearance as the owner and CEO of some giant conglomerate that has shady dealings in which Lex’s daughter may have had a part of.

Lex will use all of his military training along with brute force to try and extract information by any means necessary to find out what happened to his daughter. Oh, and Shannon Elizabeth makes an appearance as a bartender, or was it cocktail waitress, as she holds vital clues as to what may have happened to Lex’s daughter. Dare I say she might also tag along on the quest?

The Outsider is one of these films that carry the whole “in the tradition of Taken” moniker that doesn’t really come close to what the material actually is. Yeah, this has a father who is trying to find out happened to his daughter and such but that’s where the similarities begin and end. Fairbrass is a giant guy and it was very cool to watch him break heads along the way to accomplishing his goal. The downside is that some of the characters motivations are lame. James Caan’s character is this powerful CEO of a company that basically steals the identities of people, acquire assets via these identities, and then sell the loot at half price to peddlers. How is it that he runs this successful company out in the open in Century City? I would really love to be at one of those stockholder meetings, you know.

Aside from that major quibble the rest of the film is your average shoot ’em up DTV actioner. Jason Patric plays the hardboiled detective who has no problems taking the good guy down but will look the other way if you can reel in the really big fish. Patric, Caan, and Elizabeth are the most famous of the primary cast but Patric’s character only serves to bookend the film while Elizabeth will become a team player before becoming the assumed love interest, and Caan is just the nasty bad guy.

All critiques aside Craig Fairbrass is a charming fellow and does really well with the material given (he has a story by credit) but it’s Brian A. Miller’s sloppy direction that brings the film several pegs down. This is surprising, because I am familiar with Miller’s work as he directed a cool little police procedural last year called Officer Down (REVIEW) that had an awesome cast and a 12 million dollar budget. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he did not have these luxuries this time out. In any event if you want to watch a very basic DTV action flick then The Outsider may be your cup of tea. Craig Fairbrass is one to watch even if the material isn’t.

 

The Outsider - www.whysoblu.com

Video 

Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Sharpness levels vary, as some scenes tend to look crystal clear before blurring out. Detail levels do remain steady unless something else creeps in to bog them down and I will say that this high definition Blu-ray does have its share of problems scattered about.

Depth: Depth is tricky in that certain establishing shots look really soft and flat but once we switch into the direction of the action the image stabilizes. I don’t want to blame the director for this, because for all I know it could have been done by a second unit director and crew.

Black Levels: Black levels hold steady for the most part but crush badly during the many helicopter shots of the DTLA nightscape. That’s very unfortunate, because there are some stellar shots of the city.

Color Reproduction: Color levels do fluctuate as the film is LOADED with annoying lens flares that just make certain other colors in the spectrum band like crazy. I understand that you must make the film look more expensive by giving it that extra push but by doing this you sacrifice quality in the long run.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones look okay – everyone has a healthy complexion going.

Noise/Artifacts: I mentioned soft and flat, so let me add noisy and problematic, as well. Some scenes throughout whether indoor, outdoor, etc., have various anomalies scattered about and it is quite distracting.

 

 The Outsider - www.whysoblu.com

Audio 

Audio Format(s): DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: For being such a low budget feature the audio department was given free reign to beef up what couldn’t be beefed up while shooting on location and the results are very impressive. The Outsider can be loud and you WILL feel every hit delivered by our main characters. This is a testament to the mixing engineers. The sound design is anything but dull.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer channel brings the low rumble to just about every scene that has a punch, kick, gunshot, and even to someone just driving a car or motorcycle. The LFE is in constant rumble mode.

Surround Sound Presentation: Bullets do a good job of buzzing through and hitting the back walls of the sound stage.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clean and clear and you’ll have no trouble in understanding Fairbrass as he does have a pretty thick English accent.

 The Outsider - www.whysoblu.com

Extras  

Nothing of the sort.

The Outsider - www.whysoblu.com

Summary

The Outsider has flourishes of promise, mainly in Craig Fairbrass being this giant intimidating force to be reckoned with. The problem is the material itself isn’t as strong as it could be, further hampered by its extreme low budget roots. The video on this Blu-ray is pretty mediocre but is quickly elevated by strong audio before being dragged way down by a lack of extras. The Outsider isn’t a good film at all but will serve as an afternoon waster if you’re into DTV action flicks – not too mention lovely Downtown Los Angeles gets highlighted at every opportunity.

Order The Outsider on Blu-ray!


The Outsider - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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