Outbreak (Review)

Fucking monkey. It’s all your fault!

For years I avoided this film like… well… the plague. My inner critic informed me that it was just more Hollywood pap purpose built for the guileless and those less discerning. I should listen to my inner critic more…

Well of course with Contagion being released this week I decided to first check the original release dealing with a potential global pandemic.

The quick review would be to simply say that Outbreak sucks and Contagion is OK. But wait, here’s more…

Sam Daniels (Dustin Hoffman), Casey (Kevin Spacey) and Saul (Cuba Gooding Jr) are a team of highly trained (and Oscar winning) army scientists. When they identify that an extremely lethal and highly contagious virus known as the Motaba strain has somehow made it to the continental United States they immediately relay news of the threat up the line of management. Only it seems that for some reason the powers that be – among whose numbers are Billy (Morgan Freeman) and McClintock (Donald Sutherland) – ain’t listening, despite all the evidence, scientific graphs, diagrams and powerpoint charts that practically demand to the audience that they should.

By the way all of the above have perfectly legitimate army ranks, but in a film this silly I like to refer to them as Sam, Billy and co…

Sam thinks that this new virus is reeeeeelllll bad, he tells his ex Robbie (Rene Russo), who is now a civilian scientist. Robbie initially ignores him just as Billy did, but when some gooey, pus-filled evidence oozes his way into her view she becomes more sympathetic to his claims, yet even with the mounting body count Billy and his superiors stubbornly dig in their heels, place their fingers in their ears and sing “la-la-la-la-la-laaaaaa” to drown out the facts – even when a small town in *gasp* heartland America becomes threatened by mass contagion.

Sam, Saul and Casey show up and start dispensing with both assistance and claims that things will only get worse to anyone who will listen – which appears to be no-one. Billy arrives on the scene to demand no more talk about this bizarre cover-up, and a cast of mostly good (and in many cases award winning) actors wallow in this mediocrity for another 90 minutes of ennui.

As Sam and Saul go to increasingly great lengths to solve the case and find the cure things get altogether nonsensical, especially once they realise the ‘carrier’ is a tiny illegal immigrant monkey from Africa, lost somewhere in one of the 50 some landlocked states.

As the virus mutates, morphs and generally becomes more aggressive, the ‘management’ spout speeches and assorted tripe with buzzwords like ‘quarantine’, ‘containment’ and ‘eradication’, and even if Cuba Gooding Jr said “Show me the monkey!” I wouldn’t have been surprised.

Alas he didn’t, as it might have given me my one and only chuckle in this interminably long and exponentially sillier dross. Another clichéd button pusher purpose built to scare the gormless and all too trusting.

I recently watched Daylight, another carefully calculated Hollywood built manipulator designed to provoke a response. But that was actually quite well done, a thousand times better than this microscopic bug driven crap. So instead of saying I’d rather watch Daylight a dozen times rather than this I’ll say I’d rather watch any of Sly’s crappier films a dozen times than this again…

OK maybe not ‘Stop! Or my Mom will Shoot’…

Final Rating – 4.5 / 10. If you can’t guess that I think this film sucks by now I don’t know what to tell you. So instead of a neat summation I’ll merely add this fun fact: Kevin Spacey rocks the worst dyed wig of any actor I think I have ever seen in this movie.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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