'The Outpost' Review: Scott Eastwood shines in epic war drama that pays tribute to the bloody Battle of Kamdesh
'The Outpost' might not be a story of clinical triumph, rather it is far from it. In the end, it builds a sense of respect for those fighting in the trenches for the country
'Independence Day' (1996) was all about an alien invasion. "We're fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice: We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!" These lines will go down in history as one of the most iconic speeches to be ever made. And ahead of each Independence Day, there have been a bunch of films that bring out a sense of patriotism and pride in every American.
'The Outpost' does better.
The opening credits of 'The Outpost' has a major reference to Custer's Last Stand. This isn't the first time the famed cavalry commander has been used as a pop culture reference and a media personality. Director Rod Lurie's war drama is bloody thrilling and intense. The trailer gave us a glimpse of the extreme action the two-hour feature packs and the action that starts around the sixth minute never lets up soon after.
Based on Jake Tapper's The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, Lurie manages to recreate the Battle of Kamdesh and the fact that it is releasing just before Independence Day adds a more patriotic feel to the film. In 2009, 400 Taliban insurgents launched an all-out attack in the Battle of Kamdesh in the Afghanistan War. Combat Outpost Keating situated just 14 miles from Pakistan border fended off regular and constant threats that put their soldiers in grave danger.
There are a few major names in the film— Orlando Bloom as 1st Lieutenant Benjamin D. Keating, Scott Eastwood as Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha, Caleb Landry Jones as Specialist Ty Michael Carter and Milo Gibson as Captain Robert Yllescas, along with Jack Kesy as Sgt. Josh Kirk, Will Attenborough as Ed Faulkner. The onus is on Keating and Romesha to brace for impact as they take on a barrage of insurgents even as they run of men and 'munitions.
Lurie earnestly attempts to explain one of the bloodiest battles in US history and it works to a major degree. A heavy price was paid as eight Americans were killed, and 27 were wounded as they repelled a massive attack. Lurie's Afghan War thriller gets most of the battle story accurate and adds to it some special elements of its own— a bit of drama, and additional high-octane action.
Paul Tamasay and Eric Johnson's screenplay is crisp and isn't a wanton rat-a-tat all-guns-blazing, RPG'ed storyline. There's some depth that goes into the characters' profiles and that makes 'The Outpost' a visual treat. Those familiar with the book will know the film is a tale of survival over anything else as the soldiers face insurmountable odds. While there is that general misconception that calls most war-action films a flimsy plot-lined first-person shooter game, 'The Outpost' safe to say vaults well over this cliché.
It's slick and believable action with the cast essaying their roles to perfection. Bloom as Carter and Eastwood as Romesha play their parts of commandeering the troops admirably even as the outpost crumbles by the minute. The support cast dish out convincing performances in the limited screentime they occupy and this helps add more depth to the film. It is fair to say Lurie's piece was a massive tribute to those fallen in the Battle of Kamdesh. The research has to be given due credit as they stay as accurate as they could to the real event.
'The Outpost' might not be a story of clinical triumph, rather it is far from it. In the end, it builds a sense of respect for those fighting in the trenches for the country. 'The Outpost' gives us a chance to look up and thank the fallen for their service.
'The Outpost' will be scheduled for a limited theatrical release on July 3, 2020, with a VOD release the following day.