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updated: 2/6/2014 6:35 AM

Inert direction hampers 'The Outsider'

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  • British action star Craig Fairbrass demonstrates his fighting style in the thriller "The Outsider."

    British action star Craig Fairbrass demonstrates his fighting style in the thriller "The Outsider."


Mini-review: 'The Outsider'

The action thriller "The Outsider," written and directed by Brian A. Miller, suffers from several handicaps, the first being "Property of RLJ Entertainment No. 211" blazing across the screen in bright white letters on the press DVD sent to me for review from the distributor.

This is, or course, to thwart piracy. Of course, this also thwarts anyone actually being able to become immersed in the story.

Second, "The Outsider" boasts an abysmal, unrelenting non-orchestral score that seems totally mismatched for this tale of a British mercenary named Lex Walker (English actor Craig Fairbrass, a block of mobile granite in the Jason Statham mold) on a family mission.

He arrives in L.A. expecting to bury his recently deceased, estranged daughter Samantha (Melissa Ordway), only to discover the body belongs to someone else.

Searching for Samantha, Lex beats up thugs, shoots a few more and dodges the long arms of L.A. lawman Klein (a somnambulant Jason Patric, or is that redundant?).

The key suspect is Sam's former employer, a sleazy corporate guy named Schuuster (James Caan, recycling a middle-aged Sonny Corleone), an action-over-thought kind of guy not above shooting employees dead in his office.

The imposing Fairbrass makes for a formidable action hero, but he's no match for the inert direction, boilerplate dialogue and razor-thin characters he trounces with ease.

"The Outsider" opens at the Streets of Woodfield in Schaumburg. Not rated; contains violence, adult language and sexual situations. 94 minutes. ★

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