Well, it happened with Craig Ferguson, so why not this Craig too? It’s not impossible for British actors and/or comedians of seemingly arguable levels of talent to make it inexplicably big across the pond. Just ask Russell Brand. Craig Fairbrass writes and also, despite the billing on the DVD case, stars in this story of a man looking for his daughter after Taken has already been out for years and the producers decided it might just be a good idea to take advantage of that films’ critical and financial success by trying to copy it by tapping into that paternal-revenge-lust dynamic that Neeson had going on, salaciously lapped up by the baying hounds of Daily Mail readers everywhere.
As if to prove the point (if the point still really needs proving) that anything is possible in the golden land of opportunity, not only do we get a British ‘star’ of questionable note in the lead role here, but also, inexplicably, an appearance from none other than James Caan (oh, and Jason Patric too). Ladies and gentlemen, Mr James Caan. This man was in The Godfather, remember. That being the case, this must be good, right? I mean, you don’t just turn up for anything after being in The Godfather, do you? Do you?
Judging it purely on the first fifteen minutes (and why not, as most people will rightly be forgiven for turning off by then), it is safe to say that questions about the quality of the project are on the lips of everyone watching with most, if not all, of their full attention (not that this is a pre-requisite for following the plot, you understand). I mean, if you had been told your daughter has been found dead and you had to go and identify the body, would you really spend some time chewing the fat with one of your old work buddies over a glass or two of scotch, making happy quips about your future? Before you have even gone to check if the poor dead girl lying in the morgue was actually related to you? Well, our apparent hero does here. When we have established that [SPOILER] this, in fact, is not his daughter, he automatically assumes, despite his estrangement from her for some months, that her lack of presence in her own apartment that he rifles through, can only mean that she is missing and therefore, somehow in danger. [/SPOILER] Twenty minutes in, and your plot has just realised that it’s naked in front of all its friends. Perhaps it’s all just a horrible dream.
If you stick with The Outsider beyond this limp and pedestrian first act, however, the film does actually take a positive turn. Fairbrass and Miller could never be accused of sophisticated wordplay, but you have to ask if this even necessary given the demands of their target audience. There is enough fisticuffs and ‘shooters’ to keep those of a certain persuasion interested, but this is not Bourne or The Raid, so don’t expect too much in the way of elaborate action choreography.
In all, a low-ish budget project with an unchallenging script played out by those that are both too good and not good enough respectively to be in it. It’s a valiant stab by Fairbrass to crack a market that he probably doesn’t really deserve a piece of in the first place. It suffers too much from a lack of imagination in direction and cinematography and will, barely, keep you looking at it throughout. One rightly for the bargain bin at your local BP forecourt.
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