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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
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"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.
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.
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. ***
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)
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 .
*** 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
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.
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.
Next to big volcano's erupting, hurricanes and other twisters, diseases
are an excellent source of inspiration for the creators of disaster
movies. Why? The answer is quite simple. We all know that diseases like
Ebola and AIDS haven't always been among us, but that they were present
somewhere on this planet. We don't know how it suddenly finds us, but
it does. And since most of us are very scared of the unknown and we can
be pretty sure that not everything has been discovered yet, movies
based on this subject can be quite believable and scary.
When a new deadly disease is discovered in Africa, Colonel Sam Daniels of the U.S. Army is sent to investigate it. As soon as he returns he warns his boss, General Ford, that they should put out an alert on this virus, even though it is far away from the USA and not airborne. General Ford refuses, since it is contained and unlikely to show up. But what both men don't know is that a monkey, carrying the deadly virus with him, has been captured and is being shipped to the USA, where a man who works at the customs house takes it and tries to sell it to a pet store. But when the sale isn't closed, the man doesn't know what to do with the monkey and releases it in the woods near a small town in California. A few days later the man collapses and dies in Baltimore and at the same time a new outbreak is starting in that little Californian town. Colonel Daniels, his team and his ex-wife will do anything possible to find a cure so they can save the population from being bombed by the military, but what they don't know is that there may have been a cure all along...
Overall the story of this movie certainly isn't bad, but sometimes I started to find it all a bit too much. A new disease that mutates, that's possible. The army that wants to know more about it, there is nothing new about that. But than talking about military conspiracies, a president who wants to bomb his own people... that one I really didn't buy. And that's too bad, because I'm convinced that this could be a very powerful movie, if only they should have left out a couple of elements. Still, that's about the worst thing that I have to say about this movie. The acting for instance is OK. With people like Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland,... they have found themselves a very nice cast, which may well be the best reason why you should watch this movie, even when you aren't a fan of disaster movies (like me).
But not only the acting looks OK, so does the direction. With a man like Wolfgang Petersen, I immediately have some high expectations of course. He's the man that gave the world the ultimate submarine movie "Das Boot" and that always makes me hope for the best. Even though this movie never reaches to that extremely high level, it sure is better than average. The man still knows how to create the necessary tension and how to keep you interested. So, if it hadn't been for the not always so effective story, this movie would have scored very high on my list. Now I give it a 6.5/10 (which certainly isn't bad).
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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