‘Outside the Wire’ overview: Anthony Mackie stars in a sci-fi movie that thinks inside the box

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Set in 2036, the movie makes use of shorthand to arrange nearly the whole lot, as if racing previous the plot to get to the automatic-weapons fireplace. (Although the challenge facilities on a remarkably human-like android, the manufacturing design appears prefer it’s from at greatest the day after tomorrow, however let’s not sweat the particulars.)

Said android — a next-generation biotech prototype — is Leo (Mackie), who has requested assist from a drone pilot named Harp (“Snowfall’s” Damson Idris) to thwart insurgents in search of nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe. The two head out into a perilous militarized zone on their mission, the place the vaguely outlined risk permits for a lot of violence that’s half conflict movie, half espionage thriller.

Harp, who’s launched getting in hassle for defying direct orders, appears understandably confused why he is been drafted for this James Bond-style train, however Leo assures him, “I’m special enough for both of us.” Still, apart from revealing that he is completely different when his shirt comes off, nothing about Leo feels notably synthetic, superhuman or android-y.

Yes, there’s a lot of capturing and leaping and preventing, however apart from the deployment of extra typical robotic troopers, these ready for Leo to do one thing implausible will doubtless come away disillusioned — Mackie mainly performs him as a robust man in a dangerous temper — forsaking fairly customary motion materials.

The vibe is thus nearer to a buddy motion movie (the squabbling pairs are sometimes in some way mismatched) than one thing like “Robocop,” which is what the description brings to thoughts. The ostensible villain and supporting solid — together with “House of Cards'” Michael Kelly as Harp’s commander — proves principally an afterthought.

Directed by Mikael Håfström, “Outside the Wire” can charitably be in comparison with the sort of “B” films that studios used to churn out, and is greatest consumed by tempering expectations accordingly. Because in contrast to its futuristic hero, there’s nothing particular about it.

“Outside the Wire” premieres Jan. 15 on Netflix.

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