The Outsider: Film Review

This would-be star vehicle doesn't make the grade.

Veteran British actor Craig Fairbrass makes his bid to become an action movie star in this thriller about a British mercenary searching for his missing daughter.

While it’s understandable that veteran British actor Craig Fairbrass wants a shot at being a big screen action hero, The Outsider, a thriller whose story he devised with director/screenwriter Brian A. Miller, is unlikely to make him one. While the hulking, 6’3” star has an undeniably formidable physical presence, his by-the-numbers turn in this B-movie bearing an uncomfortable resemblance to the far superior The Limey makes Steven Seagal look expressive by comparison.

Fairbrass plays Lex Walker, a British mercenary battling in Afghanistan who drops everything to hurry to Los Angeles when he’s informed that his daughter Samantha, who he hasn’t seen in many years, has been found dead. When he arrives at the morgue to identify the body, he’s for some reason unsurprised to discover that it isn’t hers. So he begins a one-man investigation into her whereabouts, trailed by the suspicious detective (Jason Patric) assigned to the case.

He soon makes his way to Samantha’s boss, Karl Schuster (James Caan), the millionaire CEO of a high- tech company who offers sympathy but little help. It quickly becomes obvious that Schuster’s hiding something, since he displays no hesitation about shooting one of his henchmen to death in his own office.

Aided by a sexy barmaid (Shannon Elizabeth) enticed by his offer of a $10,000 finder’s fee, the take-no-prisoners Lex sets out getting to the bottom of the mystery, beating up or shooting the myriad human obstacles who get in his way. It all leads to his discovery of a massive identity-theft scheme engineered by Schuster about which Lex’s very much alive daughter (Melissa Ordway) has the goods.

Displaying none of the charisma or winking humor of the similarly cockney accented Jason Statham, Fairbrass mainly glowers through the proceedings, his character not so much conveying anguish and concern over his missing daughter as mild irritation. The perfunctorily staged action sequences throughout the plodding proceedings are similarly listless, making the film slow going indeed. It’s especially sad to see such notable actors as Caan and Patric reduced to appearing in this sort of bottom of the barrel, direct-to-video fare.

Opens Feb. 7 (RLJ/Image Entertainment)

Production: Zero Gravity Management, Hollywood Media Bridge

Cast: Craig Fairbrass, James Caan, Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Patric, Johnny Messner, Melissa Ordway

Director/screenwriter: Brian A Miller

Producers: Christine Holder, Mark Holder

Executive producers: Elias Axume, Jeff Bozz, James T. Bruce IV, Phillip B. Goldfine, Jason Hewitt, Ryan Noto, Benjamin Sacks, Bryan S. Sexton, R. Bryan White

Director of photography: Eduardo Enrique Mayen

Editor: Bob Mori

Production designer: Kathrin Eder

Costume designer: Camille Jumell

Composers: Patrick Savage, Holeg Spies

Not rated, 94 min.

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