Saturday, February 4, 2012

OUTBREAK (1995)

The tagline on the poster says "Try to remain calm." Well, with a film as shoddy, boring and rushed together looking as OUTBREAK that ain't gonna be too hard to do.

OUTBREAK starts out well enough with a mysterious sickness killing off people in Zaire. Military virologist Dustin Hoffman is sent in to investigate. He quickly realizes there's some serious shit going down, but when he requests that his superiors sound the alert they instead say it's nothing and reassign him. And that's where OUTBREAK falters. A taut, well-written story about a highly contagious virus spreading like wildfire could be awesome! Instead around the midway point OUTBREAK becomes less about the virus and more about the military coverup. Hint: I don't care.

Whenever I watch a movie about an killer virus outbreak I want it to be about a killer virus outbreak not government cover ups, not helicopter chases and not dropping a bomb on innocent people in an effort to stop the spread of the disease. OK, well the dropping a bomb on innocent people part has potential, but it was just never realized. And speaking of unrealized potential: with such an impressive cast and Warner Brothers deep pockets OUTBREAK had the potential to be really good movie. Sadly, that didn't happen and now 17 years later OUTBREAK hasn't aged gracefully at all.

The actual outbreak scenes early on were interesting, but then when the story centers in around keeping the disease quarantined in the small city of Cedar Creek (a miniature representation of America I guess) it falls apart. Uninspired dialogue, unrealistic reaction by the citizenry when they are taken over by the military, weak special effects, lame action scenes, predictable climax. It's only worth watching if you're extremely bored. Skip it.

If you need me I'll be in my room watching EBOLA SYNDROME.