Crime Spree: Everything and Nothing Happens in The Outsider

Brian A. Miller's bullet-riddled feature is so far-fetched it redefines the word 'preposterous'

The Outsider is an underground crawl through the seedier sections of Hollywood.

The Outsider is an underground crawl through the seedier sections of Hollywood.

Another contrived programmer for which Jason Statham was apparently unavailable, The Outsider stars his stand-in, Craig Fairbrass, a brutish 6-foot-3 Brit with the body of a ramming log, a permanent scowl and a working-class accent that needs subtitles. A virtual unknown outside the U.K., he has made dozens of TV shows and B-movie action epics that feature shopping malls in Leeds, where he is known as a charter member of the Jason Statham School of Dramatic Art.


The Outsider ★
(1/4 stars)

Written by: Craig Fairbrass and Brian A. Miller
Directed by: Brian A. Miller
Starring: Shannon Elizabeth, James Caan and Craig Fairbrass
Running time: 94 min.


 

In The Outsider, he plays Lex Walker, a British mercenary serving in Afghanistan who disobeys orders, abandons his operational post and wrecks his military career when he hops a plane to Los Angeles to identify the decomposed body of a blond murder victim fished out of the water and believed to be his missing daughter, Samantha. When he arrives at the crime scene to view the remains and ship the body back to London, he is shocked to discover it’s the wrong body. Naturally, he feels bad. His military career equals 25 years of paternal neglect, so he starts a guilty one-man investigation. Dropping in on her last boss (a sleazier-than-usual James Caan), the cybermillionaire pretends he never heard of her. The search leads him on an underground crawl through the bars, cellars, pool parties and drug dens of Hollywood, replete with myriad aerial shots of freeways and neon that have become staples in L.A. crime sprees.

Whipped and beaten at every turn, without even a Band-Aid, he leaves a bullet-riddled body count all over Beverly Hills, while the only L.A. cop who looks the other way (Jason Patric) joins him in the search for Samantha and becomes her dad’s sole ally. It’s their job to find out what Samantha’s involvement was and if she’s still alive. She is, and up to her Christie Brinkley face mask in trouble with a criminal  ring specializing in identity theft. It seems her computer skills broke the data base code that led to proof of where all the money from credit-card wipeouts was hidden before she could report the stolen funds to the F.B.I. With no law enforcement experience, no U.S. driver’s license and no knowledge of L.A., Lex doesn’t even know where Sunset Boulevard is, but he cracks the case with the help of Samantha, her boyfriend, the friendly cop and a sexy barmaid to break into the gang’s corporate headquarters to crash the computers and …

Are you still with me? Do you really care? The Outsider is so far-fetched it redefines the word “preposterous” and is made doubly untidy by the star’s clotted accent. Whole sentences go missing; vowels play leapfrog with consonants. Lamely directed by Brian A. Miller, who co-wrote it with Mr. Fairbrass, this is the kind of curiosity that used to fill the bottom half of a double feature in the day when we still had drive-ins. The real outsider is the movie itself.