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Outbreak
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Reviews & Ratings for
Outbreak More at IMDbPro »

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58 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

Terrific

9/10
Author: litpics from United States
25 April 2004

When I first saw this movie, I was ten, and even then I liked it. The script itself housed very funny one liners, particularly form Spacey's character. But I was amazed at how fast the film itself moved. In the first, you are following these scientists going to Africa to find a virus outbreak. Next thing you know, you're watching a helicopter go head on with a plane.

First comes the acting. Dustin Hoffman is stupendous as always, Rene Russo plays Robbie with realism, Kevin Spacey makes for a good humor man, Cuba Gooding Jr. pulls off the green man trying to earn respect, and being a bad-ass at the same time. As always, Morgan Freeman is wonderful. Any role I see him in is a role I remember. He's always different, too, neigh does he ever repeat in characterization. Sometimes he's funny, sometimes he's incredibly serious. Last but not least comes Donald Sutherland, one of my favorite actors to date. He can jump into the shoes of any character, including the general trying to protect a secret he knows he shouldn't. One actor whom I particularly enjoyed watching was J.T. Walsh. It's a great shame he died, I liked all his stuff from Breakdown to Pleasantville. He is only in Outbreak for about five minutes, but he has one of my favorite monologues in the history of film. He commands attention as he speaks.

Next comes the story itself. A very to-date story. A one all can relate to because it could very well happen. A virus from Africa makes its way here and begins infecting all, without a cure. I liked that there was a hero aspect in Sam Daniels. he was the tracker, the hunter, the curist. Coupled with the story comes the dialogue. Rich, under-appreciated, funny, and serious all wrapped into one. As I said before, the monologue for Walsh is brilliant. Many lines are etched into my mind, and are often used in conversation. Too bad no one knows what I'm saying.

I'm a bit surprised this film didn't bode too well with audiences. Mayhap they didn't want to see what could happen, who knows? My only complaint is character endings. You insinuate what happens to McClintock and Ford, also Sam and Robbie, but we don't ever see Casey again. I could infer that he dies, but he could very well have survived. I wish there was a way to know.

Finally comes Wolfgang Peterson's remarkable direction. I've been a huge fan of his movies since this movie, including Air Force One, Enemy Mine, not much for Perfect Storm, but his upcoming Ender's Game should be good.

At the end, I felt a certain sense of relief and wonderment. But I have to say the soundtrack is rather exquisite. I have always liked James Newton Howard, and though the cd is short in time, it's a time I cannot forget. Particularly the end theme when it's chopper vs. plane time. What a song, keeps me in suspense every time. I like songs that are taken for film trailers as well. It's still too bad not a lot of people know about this movie.

9 out of 10

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34 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

With a cast this great, it HAS to be good...

9/10
Author: Tito-8 from North Bay, Ontario
18 January 1999

This film was everything that many action thrillers are not. For one, the action really was thrilling at times. The story was well written and directed, and for a film that wasn't really "over the top" by action movie standards, there were many tense moments to enjoy. But what struck me the most was the cast. I mean, this is about as good a list of actors that you will ever find in one movie, and they all deliver, just as you would expect from all this talent. It's truly one of the most exciting movies that I've seen in some time.

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35 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

There always has to be a disease, doesn't there?

7/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
22 May 2006

"Outbreak" isn't any kind of masterpiece, but worth seeing nevertheless. Portraying the army trying to contain a deadly virus brought by a monkey smuggled into the country, the movie seems especially relevant, what with bird flu and all. A particularly disturbing scene takes place in a movie theater, when a person coughs and the camera follows the particles catching on everyone's lips as they laugh, unaware of the fate that awaits them.

The always dependable Dustin Hoffman plays as intense a role as ever as the colonel in charge of trying to control the virus. Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey and Cuba Gooding Jr. also play their roles very well. Donald Sutherland's menacing looks are perfect for the kind of character whom he plays. All in all, Wolfgang Petersen directs another good one here.

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19 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

imperfect, but entertaining

Author: Special-K88
21 October 2002

Hoffman is a U.S. Army doctor who specializes in disease control, and is burdened with personal problems following a recent divorce. He and his research team have their work cut out for them when they're assigned to try and contain a new, terrifyingly deadly virus that's made its way from Africa and caused an unprecedented epidemic in a small U.S. coastal town. It's a race against time as they try and locate the host animal carrying the virus, as well as save the lives of the town inhabitants before his Army superiors can carry out their own agenda. Suspenseful, well-crafted thriller is not always surprising, but it is believable and acted with conviction by a dynamite cast. ***

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Well Made Film

7/10
Author: FilmFanInTheHouse from Berkshire, England
12 October 2008

Outbreak (1995, Dir. Wolfgang Peterson)

It's 1967 and there's a deadly outbreak of 100% mortality rate virus in Motaba River Valley, Zaire. The Valley is destroyed to prevent the virus from spreading, but 27 years later, the virus finds its way over to the USA aboard a monkey. This time though, the virus has evolved and is now airborne, as Col. Sam Daniels (Hoffman) races to not only prevent a virus epidemic but to prevent the destruction of Cedar Creek by the corrupt Maj. Gen. Donald McClintock (Sutherland).

Great acting from its talented cast and superb storytelling make a well made film which hooks you into waiting for the final outcome. Story doesn't focus on the effects of the virus, but rather the hunt for the cure, which makes a far better film.

You want a hotshot scope-jockey, fine, but, frankly, I'm hurt. – Maj. Casey Schuler (Kevin Spacey)

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Good Dramatisation of a Very Real Threat

8/10
Author: mjw2305 from England
27 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With a deadly virus spreading like the Flu in the town of Cedar Creek, Military and Civilian Viral Specialists Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo, are caught up in a race against time to discover a cure for this Microscopic Menace, known as Motaba. This isn't the first time that the virus has struck, but last time out is was hidden from the public and remained in the hands of the Military, as the perfect Biological weapon.

Desperate to keep the Weapon Safe, Morgan Freeman and Donald Sutherland, will stop at nothing to protect it, even if that means killing innocent Civilians.

With the cast already mentioned and support from Kevin Spacey and Cuba Gooding Jr. the film is packed with fine acting performances, and enough thrills and tension, to show us exactly how serious the threat of this weapon is, and the lengths that people goto, to preserve it.

Very realistic in content, this is turns out to be a fine Dramatisation of a very real threat.

8/10

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Intrigue, action and suspense film about a deadly and rapacious virus spread in the air

7/10
Author: ma-cortes
6 February 2012

When a disease in Africa is found , extreme measures are necessary to stop a rapacious epidemic , as dinky Colonel Sam Daniels (Dustin Hoffman) of the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases is sent to discover it . When he reports back to his chef officer General Ford (Morgan Freeman) and tells him that they should put out an alert on this disease but the General that since the disease is so far away and not airborne that it can't possibly reach the U.S . However, a monkey from that part of Africa was captured by a man (Patrick Dempsey) and brought the USA and tried to sell it but when the person he tried to sell it to rejected it he released it. Col. Daniels wants to look into it but General Ford denies his request so he turns to his estranged ex-wife (Rene Russo) , who works at the Center for Disease Control or CDC to look into and they discover it's the African disease but since it kills very quickly, Col. Daniels feels that it's been contained until another outbreak and learns the virus makes the bubonic pest look like a cough . The virus expands rapidly in the air like a common cold but the Army superiors have an agenda to their own . Meanwhile Hoffman must contain the virus that's somehow made its way from Africa to the USA and the events go awry . But military intelligence (Donald Sutherland) have other plans to avoid deadly virus in which a sub-continent the size of America may be consumed and decimated .

Suspense thriller with plenty of action and intrigue about a deadly virus is spread in the air . The pictures results to be a metaphor for AIDS panic in the same way that 50s extraterrestrial films mirrored fears of Red Menace . The story shows the scientific methods by which such viral ills are identified and tracked , including touches on the ethical problems as germ warfare , elimination of infected and several others . Nice performance for all-star-cast as Hoffman , Russo , Morgan Freeman as a good general , Cuba Gooding Jr as intrepid official expert on helicopters , Kevin Spacey as helper and many others . Appears unjustly uncredited T.J Walsh as US President , Dale Dye and Lance Kerwin . Colorful and appropriate cinematography by Michael Balhaus , Clint Eastwood's usual . Stirring and adequate musical score by James Newton Howard . Good direction by Petersen who does have its thrilling moments , most of them in the first half , though the second half degenerates in a superhero movie in which Hoffman turning into an one army man -almost caricature and barely credible- against the military intelligence represented by nasty Donald Sutherland . Wolfgang Petersen has directed very good films since his beginnings in Germany with ¨The Neverending story¨ and ¨Das Boot¨ ,after that , he emigrated US where realized ¨Night of shattered crystals¨, ¨Enemy mine¨ , and the successful ¨Air Force one¨and ¨The patriot¨ , though his last film was a semi-flop , the remake ¨Poseidon¨. Rating : well worth watching , better than average .

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51 out of 96 people found the following review useful:

OK but never gets near its potential because of all its weaknesses

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
19 July 2004

When a deadly virus decimates an African village, the US authorities attempt to draw a line under the incident and take the line that a reoccurrence is unlikely. However, a monkey has become a carrier for the virus and has reached the US. When Jimbo Scott smuggles the monkey out to sell to a pet store, he is infected and spreads it to others. Eventually the local town of Cedar Creek becomes overrun and the US form a barricade around the town. With the politicians planning the destruction of the town to stop the virus spreading, Col Sam Daniels and his team race to find some other way of stopping it.

Whether you viewed in back in 1995 or now, where the threat of viral attack doesn't seem so unlikely, this film should be gripping on the basis of the material. At points it does have good moments but generally this generally suffers from trying to do too much and having a script that cannot control its subject. For most of the film the virus is almost a concept rather than a real threat and it talks a lot without really delivering. Even when an entire town is quarantined and dying, it all remains very calm where really it needed fear and panic to seep into every character and every scene. Sadly it doesn't do this and the film bogs itself down in personal infections, squabbling ex-partners and so on – did we need the main characters to get the virus? Wasn't it enough for an entire town to be dying and for the world to be at risk? Anyway, at the midpoint the film suddenly becomes an action movie with helicopter chases and a plot that can best be summed up as 'catch the monkey'.

Even with this section, the flaws are rife – the action bits are OK but it seems unlikely that finding a monkey somewhere in the US would be a more complicated task! This is not to say that it isn't entertaining because it just about manages to be enjoyable enough, but nowhere near the potential that this had. Part of the reason is a plot that struggles from logic gaps and a lack of intelligence and urgency. The lack of intelligence comes from the film completely ignoring the moral complexities that come with such a situation – the film ignores the fact that bad things may need to be done to stop the virus and instead just paints good guys (save the people) and bad guys (bomb the people). The lack of urgency comes from the failure to really make the virus a threat; really I needed Cedar Creek to become the US in miniature – having everyone calm didn't do it for me and I needed more than just two cars making a break for it. But then the writing generally isn't up to the task and the heavy dialogue is pretty average at best with clichéd lines and far too much 'personal' stuff between the main characters.

Even the main 'bad' guy is a fudge as it just paints everything black and white.

Another reason that this doesn't live up to its potential is the sheer numbers of faces in the film. Hoffman makes a strange action star but he does OK with what little he is given. Russo is no good at all and happily has little to do but deliver the personal 'involvement' that the film cannot manage to deliver any other way. Gooding is pretty good in a semi-action role and Spacey has some good lines before he too becomes a cheap emotional device. Sutherland gives a by the numbers performance as he has nothing to really work with, but Freeman is more interesting because he does. It's just a shame that this talented cast were not used better in this film. An aside that was interesting to me was that Dale Dye has a minor role in the film while also serving as military adviser to the film. He is an interesting man because his career has grown from adviser to being a reasonable actor to becoming a writer, producer and (recently) a 2nd unit director – clearly a motivated and talented man who it would be interesting to listen to talk sometime.

Overall the potential is there but it is unrealised. The cast are great on paper but have nothing to work with in a script that delivers average dialogue, no real characters, no moral ambiguities, no real involvement and no sense of scale or threat. It does have some pace at times and it has enough 'OK' moments to be worth watching maybe once but I was annoyed that the potential of the material alone was missed. I think the film can be summed up by the ending – one minute we have an exciting helicopter stand off and the next we have a pay-off that is so lazy and so simplistic that I was actually visibly annoyed by it. Passable entertainment if you are in an undemanding mood but it never even gets near the potential it had.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant stuff!

8/10
Author: Sam Cox from Gloucester, England
17 June 2005

Personally this film is in my top 10. It is a real treat of a movie to watch which not only acts as pure entertainment but also a deeply involving film which involves great performances and some real thrilling moments. It all starts with the wipe-out of an African village due to a deadly virus. However the virus is transported to the US by a small monkey which is smuggled by boat. The film then tracks along as more and more people get infected and the virus mutates making it airborne and more of a threat. "It spreads like the flu" The actors involved are Dustim Hoffman who as usual does an outstanding job. Rene Russo is used well as a love complication. Kevin Spacy is brilliant as the doctor with a sense of humour. Morgan Freeman and Donald Sutherland seem to be having fun with the material and things get interested when they clash at the end. The film, although thrilling at times (e.g a spectacular helicopter chase and an attempt to break out of the quarantined town) is extremely emotional as it does follow a few people as they are diagnosed with the virus. However, this is where the film also goes downhill a bit. We are expecting to see the chaos and mass panic of a virus infected town. However things seem abnormally calm, and I got fed up of main stars getting infected just to add to the pressure to Dustim Hoffman's character.

But overall this film is brilliant, I strongly advise everyone tries to watch this. it isn't everyone's cup of tea but is still a brilliant film which I will treasure and keep in my top 10.

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14 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Boring And Disappointing

5/10
Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
9 December 2002

Get the producer of PLATOON and the director of DAS BOOT to cast Hoffman , Freeman , Sutherland , Gooding Jnr and Spacey in a thriller about a killer virus and you`ll have a sure fire blockbuster hit . And OUTBREAK was a major hit at the box office but does this make it a good film ? In my opinion - no . Despite having an all star cast and massive budget and despite the very good pre titles sequence OUTBREAK is a bad movie.

The main culprit for this debacle is Dworet and Pool`s script , it`s far too talky . Too much time is dedicated to talking about the virus and not enough time is shown just how awful the virus is . It`s made worse by the fact that when people do talk ( And boy they never stop talking ) only banal words come out of their mouths : " Oh my gawd " is very popular as is " Gawd dammit " and not forgetting " Gawd help us all " as they realise time is running out . Undoubtedly the most disappointing aspect to the script is when the town is put into quarantine , there`s no real attempt on the part of the screenwriters to bring moral ambiguity or blur the edges of right and wrong with this scenario . With a few rare exceptions the citizens comply with directives . Despite being an extremely unpleasant film THE CRAZIES made far better use of this speculative plot and its moral consequences unlike here where Donald Sutherland is the bad guy because he wants to firebomb a town to stop the virus spreading . If you were in his shoes what would you do ? Would you be a bad person for firebombing the town in order to save the world from the virus ? Ah but there`s a plot device that does show Sutherland`s character to be the villain of the piece so out goes any intelligent subtext as to what would be the right or wrong thing to do in such a situation .

So just to sum up : despite its great cast and production team OUTBREAK is nothing special and at times feels like an overblown TVM

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