Review: OUTLAWED Shoots Terrorism In The Face And Gets The Girl For Queen And Country
Actor and filmmaker Adam Collins has up to six years in film credits with a few years to his name as a certified stunt performer. His time as a Royal Marine Commando has also proven pertinent to his career goals as it now brings us his fully fledged feature debut next to co-helmer/writer Luke Radford with Outlawed, a tale heartily attributed to the armed forces upon its release.
Collins directed a shortfilm prior to this, although Outlawed is my own inaugural observation of his craft, applied aptly in large part despite budgetary constraints. Much of the film is straightforward, smartly directed and well acted in its execution, coupled with just the right amonut of sex and violence anyone in their 30s or older can take heed to for their own tastes in film.
Collins leads the story as Jake O’Neil, a Royal Marine Commando whose own internal conflict arises following a series of milestone events and revelations that make him question his desire to serve. It’s a key story element that anchors the rest of the narrative going forward as we meet Archibald (Ian Hitchens), a politician with hands dirtier than the average anus on a hot day.
Archibald’s corrupt nature brings him at the feet of the public, summoning O’Neil and his men to lead the incursion into the factory where Archibald’s family is held hostage. Tragedy strikes and the mission goes awry, imploring O’Neil, visibly traumatized, to discharge from service – a low turning point that ensues his descent into betrayal from loved ones, gambling, promiscuity and homelessness.
The remainder of the plot culminates much of what the film entails from the top with Archibald at the core of our protagonist’s plight and redemption; Months have since passed and his childhood friend, Jade (Jessica Norris), is desperate for help as she’s uncovered the evidential truth behind her father’s murder. Holding a reluctant and down-and-out O’Neil to account and ever mindful of who Archibald is, our hero is one bullet away from uncovering even more treachery and danger as he sets out to bring an evil man to justice.
Formulaic in its depiction of 90s-inspired action movie heroics, there isn’t much to factor in with Outlawed. Simplicity is key in most of its enjoyment as well as its talented cast with Collins wearing multiple hats – best shared with two heads as Radford shares the mantle, allowing Collins to focus much more on the business end as the film’s star.
Collins’ portrayal of O’Neil is a solid one, delivered without too many excesses and embellishments for a film of this genre. There’s an air of sincerity in his acting for the role of O’Neil, echoed notabaly by his talent apart from the fact that he’s seen combat and understands what goes into a soldier’s inner-most thoughts, characteristics and struggles better than most people. His role is as stoic and quietly tormented as they come as he recaps his comeback much later.
Actor Anthony Burrows plays Mac, O’Neill’s military senior, longtime father figure since O’Neil’s childhood and fellow comrade to Jade’s father. Andy Calderwood plays Smudge, a member of O’Neil’s team whose own moral compass comes into question throughout the film in moments leading up to the final act.
A few moments of the film felt off keel regarding the story, including one scene that leaves off from a deadly gun battle in a junkyard. Another scene much later sees Jade heeding warnings to O’Neil about how dangerous Archibald is, and again, a fact which our hero appears to be well aware of near the start of the film wherein Archibald sets up a meeting in his office to request a one-time job. In true protagonistic fashion, O’Neil asserts he can’t be bought at any monetary value.
The rest of what we get with Outlawed should bide one’s time with the usual servings of by-the-numbers bulletfare, simulated intercorse, CQC and explosive spectacle. Just a few major moments of the action get perpetually gory with shots of intestines and missing arms and legs to bookend. As far as copulating goes, I haven’t seen that many low-budget action films in recent memory but this one has the most nudity I’ve seen in a while – titilating and humoring at times, though nothing taken away from the film’s much more solemn m.o..
Collins also incorporates the participation of fellow former military servicemen in the film in small roles as well. It’s not made clear which performers are of the sort, boding as a plus for performances all around.
Take what you will from Outlawed, while you are more than welcome to add nostalgia and morsels of fun to the list. Its quality is ever present throughout, finding a potential star in Collins who not only owns the role, but also the traits of a creative worth his praise and support for his next venture.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.
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