Written by: Patrick Howard | July 3rd, 2020
The Outpost (Rod Lurie, 2020) 1½ out of 4 stars.
In The Outpost, actor Scott Eastwood and director Rod Lurie shine a light on the valor demonstrated by the U.S. soldiers of Outpost Keating. During Operation Enduring Freedom, carried out in Afghanistan in 2009, 53 U.S. soldiers and some Afghan defenders fell under attack by Taliban insurgents when word got out that the outpost was to be abandoned. The Taliban decided to make one last statement to the United States and unleashed a firefight that nearly forced the American soldiers to lose control of the outpost.
The Outpost is an hour-and-a-half-long buildup with solid acting and passable character development that leads to a 30-minute finale that is filled to the brim with impressive pyrotechnics, gunplay, and action direction. From what I can tell, Scott Eastwood and Caleb Landry Jones together act as the emotional through line in a story that struggles to show interest in one.
Before the final standoff against the Taliban, we are introduced to a gaggle of characters, all played by competent performers, but none are given distinct characterization that compels us to care about them when it truly matters in the story. The dialogue is snappy and lends to the believability of these actors as men who have been with each through thick and thin. Without these elements in play, we’re just morbidly waiting for the exciting action in the last third of the film to commence.