Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

​Damson Idris as Harp in Outside the Wire.

Jonathan Prime / Netflix/Netflix

  • Outside the Wire
  • Directed by Mikael Hafstrom
  • Written by Rowan Athale and Rob Yescombe
  • Starring Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris and Michael Kelly
  • Classification R; 114 minutes

rating

2 out of 4 stars

For anyone hoping that the current shuttering of theatres might mark an end to the film industry’s habit of using January as a dumping ground, Netflix’s Outside the Wire is here to prove that the first month of the year retains its reputation as a no-go zone.

Mikael Hafstrom’s action film Outside the Wire is cheaply shot, poorly acted, and with a loose plot.

Netflix

Arriving like a discarded Fox television pilot from 2010, director Mikael Hafstrom’s action film is forgettable from top to bottom. (Even its title evokes memories not of the movie itself but of two far superior cultural artifacts: HBO’s The Wire and Kanye West’s single Through the Wire.)

Story continues below advertisement

Cheaply shot, poorly acted, and with a plot that strip-mines everything from RoboCop to District 9 to Eye in the Sky to even the beyond-dumb jet-fighter-goes-rogue movie Stealth, Hafstrom’s feature might be fine background noise to fold your laundry to. But there is also a very real danger that the film’s sloppy plotting and watered down set-pieces might also make you so disoriented and frustrated that your socks will end up in mismatched little balls. Launderer emptor.

​Anthony Mackie ​as ​Leo and Idris as Harp, in Outside the Wire.

Jonathan Prime / Netflix/Netflix

The year is 2039. Civil war has erupted in Eastern Europe. A ruthless warlord named Koval (Pilou Asbæk) is trying to get his hands on some nukes. And the only soldiers who can stop the madness are a young headstrong drone pilot named Harp (Damson Idris) and his hard-as-nails commanding officer Leo (Anthony Mackie). Oh, and Leo is a robot.

There is nothing more to Outside the Wire than the above summary, other than some truly muddy action – further depressed by a colour palette best described as “grey” – and exasperated character actor Michael Kelly looking sincerely depressed in his role as a U.S. Army higher-up. Even the usually charming Mackie, who has played enough duty-bound military types to file a patent, seems upset with the proceedings.

Perhaps with a few more million dollars’ worth of explosions and stunt work, and an entirely new script, Outside the Wire could have resembled an amusingly trashy early-year diversion. But landing in the cold, cruel days of January, 2021, we have more than enough trash to contend with already.

Outside the Wire is available to stream on Netflix starting Jan. 15

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies