Netflix Reminds Us that the $6 Billion Dollar Soldier Is Coming Soon

Outside the Wire Damson Idris Anthony Mackie
Damson Idris as Harp, Anthony Mackie as Leo, in "Outside the Wire." (Photo: Jonathan Prime​/Netflix)

We have the technology. Some scientists and engineers just have to work out the kinks and the era of enhanced human and android warriors will be upon us.

People are saying there's a team deep in the bowels of the Pentagon working on a future soldier timeline, even if the research and development money is hidden in the military budget.

That leaves moviemakers free to speculate on what these next-gen fighters will look like. The latest entry in the genre is "Outside the Wire," a Netflix movie starring Anthony Mackie (Falcon in the Marvel movies), Pilou Asbæk ("Game of Thrones") and Michael Kelly ("Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan").

The movie will stream on Netflix starting January 15, 2021. Check out the just-released trailer.

"Stronger. Faster. Smarter." You have to admire an unashamed acknowledgement of the show that invented or at least popularized the genre. Viewers of a certain age won't miss the reference to "better, stronger, faster" Steve Austin, hero of '70s action show "The Six Million Dollar Man."

Mackie's Capt. Leo (one name only, like Beyoncé or Prince) appears to be full android instead of a human/robot hybrid. He's assigned an inexperienced young soldier named Harp (Damson Idris) as his partner and their mission is to remove advanced weapons from beyond the wire.

There's no clear idea of a plot revealed in the trailer, but let's make a bet that Harp learns valuable survival skills from Leo and that Leo gains some empathy from his fully human partner.

Outside the Wire Pilou Asbaek Anthony Mackie
If you're going to allow android warriors, why not relax the rules on neck tattoos? (Photo: Jonathan Prime​/Netflix)

Netflix is promoting "Outside the Wire" as being from the "studio that brought you 'Extraction' and 'The Old Guard,'" two of the best action pictures of 2020. Of course, Netflix is that studio, and the production team behind this movie doesn't actually have any direct connection to those other two. Let's hope someone at Netflix decided to claim that this one is just as good as those other two and that they have the taste to know if it actually is.

"Outside the Wire was directed by Mikael Håfström, the man behind the camera for the Stallone and Schwarzenegger prison breakout movie "Escape Plan." Screenwriter Rowan Athale collaborated with Rob Yescombe, who makes the jump to movies after a career writing video games like "The Division" and "Farpoint."

We'll take the fact that the original idea was conceived by a guy who learned his storytelling skills in the video game world as a good sign. Movies like this one have to deliver an adrenaline rush to be effective, and the power to trigger endorphins is definitely a skill mastered by the best game designers.

Fingers crossed that "Outside the Wire" can deliver and we'll all get 2020 off to a great start in the movie department.

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