Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE OUTPOST

It’s pretty easy to declare THE OUTPOST as the best direct to demand action war film ever made, but I’ll go one further: this is probably my favorite since either American Sniper or Black Hawk Down. The main question I post to the filmmakers and studio behind it…how the hell did this not get a theatrical debut? And I do understand COVID-19 and all that mess but in doing my research I think this was always meant to be straight to demand. Then my second guess of an answer would be that there aren’t too many recognizable faces in this, and the main one that is isn’t in the film too long. Director Rod Lurie needs to flex his muscles, get out of his mostly television work, and maybe take on some big budget action films because some of the shots, especially the one take shots, and action in this movie are mesmerizing. IMDB describes the movie with the following: “A small team of U.S. soldiers battle against hundreds of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.” To explain it a little bit better in my own words, The Outpost tells the gripping real story of Camp Keating, which was one of several outposts placed to control the Taliban movement and their supply chain during the war in Afghanistan. The camp was situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, and for the 400 Taliban that rallied for a surprise attack that takes place during the entire last hour of this two hour film, for them it seemed like it was shooting fish in a barrel. It was up to these soldiers to leverage their poor defenses, lack of ammo and manpower they had, to ultimately survive and go back to their loved ones. The film is a fantastic tribute to military heroes, even if one of my complaints about the film is that you don’t really get to know them specifically and only catch fleeting glimpses of personalities. This movie is a direct to demand technical feat.

If you are a war film buff, this is essential viewing. You may be wondering what the hell I’m talking about with the first hour, as it showed what military life was like at Camp Keating, stories that have been depicted many times before in other war films and do it with about the same level of authenticity, but when you get to that hour mark, hold on to your butts, because you are in for a non stop action packed ride the all the way to the end credits. I would say to see this in a theater, but since you technically can’t, try to see this on the biggest screen you can with the best sound, possibly someone that has a nice movie theater living room. The movie stars Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, and Orlando Bloom and they all do an adequate jobs, even though the former just acts like the tough guy he’s been in all of his previous films, the latter is barely even in the film to really critique his performance, and Landry Jones plays the cliched scared guy out of his element, working up the courage to show what he’s really made of. While most of the camera work is masterful, there are one or two shots that gave away that something really bad was about to happen, would’ve rather it been more subtle for more shock value. But you aren’t here to read my nit picky hard critiques I judge films for, you just want to know if the action in this war film is worth your time. Abso-fucking-lutely. The last hour of this film is a sight to behold and is worth the cliched military life hour set up, and even though the lingo and dialogue seems legit, like I said, it’s just been done a little too many times before for me to get into it. That last hour man…DO. NOT. WATCH. THIS. MOVIE. ON. YOUR. FUCKING. PHONE. It is currently on Netflix if you have the service and don’t want to pony up the dough to rent it. But I’d say a rental is worth it. In fact I could see me revisiting this specific outpost in the future and constantly point to it when someone is in the mood for a good war film that they haven’t seen before, especially one this adequately made for direct to streaming.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: RETALIATION

I don’t think U.S. marketing knew what to do with RETALIATION, considering that this movie was just released recently in the States, but back in 2017 overseas and under a different (and more sensible) title, Romans. If you look up the movie on popular streaming services like VUDU, FandangoNow or Amazon Prime Video you will see Lord of the Rings’ Orlando Bloom’s face front and center, all beat up, holding a hammer and the hand holding it all bloody, with a look of…well… revenge and retaliation on his face. Per IMDB.com, it describes this movie as such: “An adult victim (Bloom) of childhood sexual abuse confronts the horrors of his past.” To expand just a tiny little bit on my own for you to understand the point I’m eventually going to make in terms of being marketed incorrectly, this childhood sexual abuse is from a priest that raped him when he was 12 years old. Believe it or not, IMDB has the better description of this movie (not to mention it correctly lists it as a 2017 film). Let’s take a look at VUDU’s description: “Malky, a demolition worker whose life receives a seismic shock when, out drinking with friends at a local pub, he sees a disturbing figure from his past: the man he holds responsible for a traumatic childhood incident. Fueled by anger, Malky sets out on a path of vengeance–and discovers that no one can escape the consequences of their sins in this taut thriller.” Thriller…pfft. So combine that brief description with the visual marketing to get you to rent or buy the movie, No go and watch the trailer. I’m serious, go and do it, this might be the only time where I recommend you do before diving head first into a movie. You’ll thank me later.

Done watching the trailer? Okay, so now, combine VUDU’s description of the film, the visual stupid direct to U.S. video on demand image of Blood beaten up and holding a hammer, as well as the trailer you just watched. What movie does it seem like it is going to be to you? A revenge thriller where Orlando Bloom goes all “crazy” and kills a bunch of pedophile priests? WRONG. It is not that movie, but here’s a twist you didn’t see coming, I knew that going in. So this review isn’t going to be how my expectations were damaged because of false advertising. No, I’m determined to give you different expectations before you watch this movie (if you watch it) so that you don’t hate it after you view it or if you’ve already seen this and hated it, why you shouldn’t hate it that much because it isn’t the movies’ fault. For me, Retaliation is a hard to watch, half way decent, one time viewing featuring Orlando Bloom’s incredible, best performance to date. The movie is hard to watch because there are a couple of self mutilation scenes that make make you gasp and/or stomach churn. However, they are necessary as it correlates with the themes of the movie and make sense with the protagonist’s plight. At first the movie makes you think it is going to be a revenge type thriller, but quickly pulls a 180, being more of a very slow burn character piece that is much more juicy narrative wise with a pitch perfect ending. I’m glad it took the 180 route, because if it hadn’t, and it was just a straight tale of revenge, then my disappointed feelings with The Last Of Us Part II would’ve effected by critique greatly.

But it doesn’t! Just expect a lot of characters talking to each other, some love and friend mishaps, ‘mommy issues’, several long (and very well written) monologues where Orlando Bloom vents his frustrations about what to do with his thoughts and demons, followed by an earned final 10-15 minutes. Don’t expect ‘Kill Pedophile Priests: The Movie.’ The film doesn’t overstay its welcome at a lean hour and 35 minutes and to watch Orlando Bloom powerfully and emotionally steal every scene he is in was an acting treat to behold. He’s never ever ever been this good. If this was a normal movie, released under normal circumstances, he probably could’ve been considered for Awards at some point. Alas, maybe something else down the line, he’s still young. I can’t get into the writing and directing history of the filmmakers involved all that much, because I’ve never seen any of their other work, but I can say that the dialogue was believable and true to the subject matter, and the direction was dark, moody, and the shots looked good. Look, I’m not a religious person at all, I just admitted on social media that I’m an Athiest (especially in part with the whole priest sexual abuse allegations that have been going on for quite some time), but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to respect the source material if it happens to be in a movie. Far from it, as after watching this I wish it would’ve been released in the U.S. under its original title, Romans, the film being centered on that part in the Bible that talks about enemies and forgiveness. That title makes so much more sense, especially near the end. I don’t know who the fuck came up with ‘Retaliation’ but they need to be crucified.