Outside the Wire

Vampire Owl: The area beyond the Greater Cemetery is now considered outside the wire.

Vampire Bat: Do you feel that there is a war coming soon?

Vampire Owl: Well, humans are building more weapons of war.

Vampire Bat: You are thinking that those weapons are meant for us.

Vampire Owl: After they are done with most of their own, yes.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that most of their weapons will have any effect on us.

Vampire Owl: The weapons of mass destruction will erase the world as we know it.

Vampire Bat: Such a destructive and disappointing species.

Vampire Owl: I will ask Doctor Frankenstein to come up with an invention which can go back in time and brutally murder all those human scientists whose inventions led to these new generation of weapons.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein‘s time machines made of vampire steel are as much fake as humanity’s love for each other.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of orange tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 2036, and there is a violent civil war going on in Eastern Europe between pro-Russian fighters and the local resistances in Ukraine, a struggle which seems to be nowhere close to reaching an end. After years of war, the United States has finally deployed their peacekeeping forces, and among them are the robotic soldiers known as GUMPs. But the team is ambushed, much to the dismay of the human soldiers. While disobeying a direct order, a drone pilot, Lieutanant Thomas Harp (Damson Idris) deploys a Hellfire missile against a suspected enemy missile launcher. The commander on the ground wanted time to save two marines who were caught in the danger zone, but Harp had felt that if he choose to delay the drone strike, all forty of them would die, and an attack would actually save thirty eight of them. But the senior officers do not believe in the same and considers him responsible for the death of those two soldiers.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Despite not being court-martialed, Harp is redeployed to on-site combat duty at Camp Nathaniel, where the United States military forces have set a base of operations for the war in Ukraine. He is supposed to work with Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie), who seems to be very strict as well as experienced, but turns out to be a very advanced android super soldier, the first of his kind – experimental, but a seemingly perfect prototype machine masquerading as a top level human officer. At the base, this is a secret known only the the commander of the camp, Colonel Eckhart (Michael Kelly), and now Harp. Leo has come into existence only five years ago, but is already programmed to be an effective killing machine. Their ultimate aim is to stop the terrorist known as Victor Koval (Pilou Asbaek) from gaining control of a vast network of nuclear missile silos which were left in the Ukrainian SSR possessing most of the nuclear weapons of the Soviet Union.

And what more does the future hold in a world of chaos and destruction? :: Russia has lost any control which they had over the rebels, and the new powerful terrorist is very close to controlling most of Ukraine and also those missile launcher facilities – it would prove lethal for world peace as much as it would mean for Ukraine and its remaining resistance. It could be the end of the world with nukes in the hands of such a terrorist who doesn’t even have religion or any of the morals to control him. They come across a reported attack on a truck with was providing aids, leading to a stand-off between the United States soldiers and the local militias. But the armed locals and the pro-Russian insurgents are the least of their problems as the trained spies and snipers of Victor Koval are there, which means that the possible event which could lead to the end of the world is closer than they thought. Then, what if the most dangerous man in that part of the world also manages to get the secret codes to the nuke? After all, he would do anything to get them – paying in billions, using brutal force or anything.

The defence of Outside the Wire :: We notice that Outside the Wire has created a fine world for the science fiction elements to start working effectively, early enough. The visuals are really good in this war-torn world In the beginning, there is the feeling that this one would go through action-war mode, but that idea which was earlier challenged with a few machines and later made clear, has a few interesting points for everyone to ponder about. It talks about war and the human need for the same with effectiveness, and we do understand that all sides are almost the same and loves to see collateral damage with the death of so many civilians. There is the fine display of hidden hatred being displayed around here, and we see a lot of the true nature of humans, even the machines who are created by them. These are also the kind of things which would happen at some point of time in future, and we are all with knowledge about the world descending into chaos sooner or later. The action is very good for most of the time with melee combat and gunshots being there, and we are glad to see different elements coming together. Anthony Mackie and Damson Idris do some good work here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t make the best use of its resources, as we see a world in not so distant future, with advanced technology and interesting weapons. The war machines could have been used with more effectiveness, as we see a lot of fights struggling to go big on different occasions. The world of war which has been created here could have more of similar products of science and technology at work. The basic idea that the movie was trying to prove could have been clearer, but here they choose to make things rather easy. There is no big action moment that stands out around here, even though there are so many human and machine soldiers around here. At times, the movie just seems to move around without much of a clue, and the ideas about the use and effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence never really gets as strong as it should have been. It does keep one wonder about how well Will Smith has performed in so many science fiction action movies in the past, the one man who would have fit in here so well, and even brought a lot of audience to this lesser known film.

How it finishes :: When we look close, Outside the Wire seems to be a movie which has predicted the Russian invasion of Ukraine in another form. The movie deals with the interesting scientific concepts and also talks about the human greed and their never-ending need for more wars, even though the fact that the film has focused only one side feels rather strange – humans have always wanted war, and they have always hated each other, which means that this is not something restricted to a nation or two and their allies. We have always been looking for science-fiction doing their best, as we never stop wondering about a post-apocalyptic future with science playing a major role in ending the world as we know it. As science has been continuously contributing to making the global warming worse and developing enough weapons of mass destruction, along with helping the Artificial Intelligence and other machines to take over, we are all looking for the apocalyptic event, and this one surely has shades of the same.

Release date: 15th January 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom
Starring: Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, Emily Beecham, Michael Kelly, Pilou Asbaek, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Henry Garrett, Enzo Cilenti

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

<<< Will you look forward to a cop and a killer playing a game of music?

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Picket 43

picket43 ()

Vampire Owl :: Is this the right time for a patriotic movie?

Vampire Bat :: Surely it is. We had harthal just a few days ago and observed another bane of our nation. After a negative thing for the nation, this is our chance to reclaim the good things.

Vampire Owl :: So after lots of harthals giving losses of thousands of millions of rupees, we can always gain patriotism by watching movies?

Vampire Bat :: May be movies like this will help. Lets watch and know more about it.

Vampire Owl :: Will such movies make the common man any better?

Vampire Bat :: People only take what they want. So, I doubt it.

Vampire Owl :: Still, they are all patriots on three days an year and if that Team BCCI or Indian cricket team wins the World Cup.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but when there is the need to do something for the nation, it is to be seen if what is preached can be practiced.

Vampire Owl :: This is the season of Facebook patriots and social workers.

Vampire Bat :: And lets see what Picket 43 brings to the season.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Hareendran Nair (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is one of the Indian soldiers who are posted at Picket 43, an area on the border which has seen regular ceasefire violations, and has also lead to the death of a number of soldiers from the Indian side. With the last soldier murdered by the militants, the place becomes something to be talked about a lot among the soldiers and Hareendran Nair is the latest person to be posted there, alone except for a dog with him. As his superior officer Vinaya Chandran (Renji Panicker) denies him leave to go back to his lover to marry her or to support his ailing mother, he is left with no option but to stay at the hostile area. The Pakistani soldier on the other side keeps shooting on regular intervals until a change is made, and another soldier Mushraff (Javed Jaffrey) comes for service. Hareendran and Mushraff becomes friends and the latter promises the former that no militant will come through his picket to attack India as long as he is alive.

The defence of Picket 43 :: The power of patriotism is once again on display here, and this is one of those movies that we need to watch now and then. This might also be our director’s second best movie after Keerthi Chakra that has come after a long time. The movie is also about friendship and that too beyond borders and all kinds of obstacles,as humanity thrives without limitations. There is also mutual respect and love for one’s country which are proclaimed again and again. It also makes things clear that friendship has no limits and it can be made with ease if needed in the presence of a good heart. There is an idea given about the hardships that the soldiers suffer and the sacrifices that they make to serve their country, keeping their personal choices away to keep the citizens safe. The beauty of Kashmir is well captured, as the snow covered world as well as the green side are equally amazing, even as the white side suits the working of the movie better. The shots at Picket 43 are the best of the movie.

The Claws of Flaw :: The family drama and romantic side are completely out of place. It is good that they mention that it is love, and otherwise it would have been really difficult to find any romance there – almost everything shot in Kerala remains clear negative and was not needed. Even the shots which were supposed to be in Pakistan should have been better taken with more imaginary power instead of just going through that Malala-Taliban model idea which needed not much thinking. The focus should have been even further on the friendship and talking about their philosophies about life and what they think about war, and how the two nations could go into a better relationship. Well, those who are expecting a Tango Charlie model philosophy and a powerful anti-war ideology are going to be disappointed. The heavy non-linear narrative style might also depress a few. The songs are also not that up-to the mark. The final shooting scenes also go into heroism, something that was not supposed to be part of this movie. Being slave to the clichés is sometimes a fashion, isn’t it?

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran shines in the movie as the Indian soldier guarding Picket 43; he excels in those emotional scenes and nicely manages the lighter moments too. He is there throughout the movie, and there is not much time in the movie without his presence, and we can safely say that this is his movie. The next big character, and among the two really significant characters is the Pakistani soldier played by Javed Jaffrey who steals our hearts from the other side. May be he was chosen because he played a Pakistani soldier in the war satire which was War Chhod Na Yaar. Whatever be the reason, he has done an amazing job here. Both of them get some nice dialogues, and a few memorable lines too. Then there is the dog which is a cool addition to the movie, even as there was more scope for things to be added with the pet. Renji Panicker is also good. Prithviraj’s love interest has a forgettable outing here, and so do most of the characters of Kerala episode.

Soul exploration :: Picket 43 links friendship, patriotism and sacrifice together to make an impact, and these are major elements of this movie. The first one is the major theme of the movie which also asserts humanity and hopes for peace, so that there could be humans who no longer hate each other for no real reason – friendship beyond boundaries is the factor at the core. Patriotism is present here and there, but I have felt better of the same with the other running movie from Bollywood, Baby. The use of patriotism was expected and in the beginning and end, it is even more strong – but it is still not a core element. The sacrifice element is also in abundance, and it is not just for the country, but also in the name of friendship and honour, thus the sacrifice element joining the other two together. May be the forced happy ending was not necessary. Even the dog becomes a symbol another friendship here, even as it has no role in the other two elements.

How it finishes :: Releasing on the Republic Day weekend, Picket 43 is doing a nice job at the theatres along with Mili, not really being a mutual challenge as the themes are entirely different with the two, bringing no comparisons into the question. It is also the right time for the release of this movie. There is no better time to get the best results at the box-office. What needs to be appreciated is the effort to take a movie like this, all the way from the South to the North, and using so many themes in it. The same thing seems to be rewarded nicely by the audience, and it was also the movie which has had most number of screens having shows. Yes, Major Ravi is back with this movie. Lets hope for peace and no war, and also pray for a bright future in the relationship between the two neighbouring nations which still have hope for better relations. May God bless our soldiers and may goodness and humanity thrive among chaos and destruction.

Release date: 23rd January 2015
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Major Ravi
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Javed Jaffrey, Renji Panicker, Sudheer Karamana, Kannan Nair, Haresh Peradi, Angana Roy, Anu Mohan, Anshu Sharma, Sreerag Nambiar

picket43

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.