It’s become common place for a few years to find Nicolas Cage on the front cover a direct-to-video movie and normally I can appreciate it for his insane performance but with Outcast he’s merely a supporting player with the charmless Hayden Christensen taking front stage. It’s not a well made movie but it’s also not terrible, just utterly forgettable and even boring.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure
Entertainment One | NR – 98 min. – $29.99 | March 31, 2015
THE MOVIE – 2.0/5
Based on the Blu-ray cover and the fact Hayden Christensen received top billing even over Nicolas Cage, I wasn’t expecting much from Outcast, the latest direct-to-video disaster to permeate Cage’s career. However, it’s not as bad as I feared… and yet it’s not very good either.
The story focuses on a 12th century former Crusader named Jacob (HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN) who roams the Far East trying to escape the ghosts of his violent past when he comes upon Mei (JI KE JUN YI) and his princess sister Lian (LIU YIFEI), on the run from their ruthless brother Shing (ANDY ON) who felt he was heir to the throne. But as the king sent Mei off with the royal seal, Shing kills his father, blaming it on Mei and sends the guards to hunt them down.
On the run through the lands, Jacob leads Mei and Lian to the lands controlled by bandits where Jacob runs into his former mentor Gallain (NICOLAS CAGE) who, dealing with PTSD, has turned into a pirate apparently with a speech slur and only needed an eye patch to complete the process. It’s at this point Outcast goes from utterly dull to somewhat entertaining if only because of Cage’s insane performance which, sadly, doesn’t have much of a payoff. So, with Shing on their trail, Jacob attempts to enlist Gallain’s help one last time, redemption for their past atrocities.
Alright, Outcast is not a good movie. That’s it. There’s nothing more to it. Hayden Christensen might not be terrible yet he also isn’t terribly charismatic though considering the poorly written dialogue and completely boring plot, intertwined with redundant swordplay, and chaotic camera work that takes the viewer out of any thrills or suspense. I will say, at least the production and costume designs weren’t half bad, though I have to wonder if the costumes were rented from some warehouse specializing in medieval attire.
The film was directed by Nicholas Powell, from a screenplay by James Dormer (TV series “Strike Back”), marking his debut after making a career out of stunt work on hundreds of projects including The Bourne Identity, The Last Samurai, X-Men: The Last Stand and Resident Evil: Retribution I’m sure the stunts in Outcast were stunning but the frenetic camera work didn’t help matters.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
Making of Outcast (9:47; HD) is a basic behind-the-scenes featurette containing on-location interviews with members of the cast and crew.
Interviews (53:23; HD) – We get sound bites with Nicholas Cage and Hayden Christensen and Director Nick Powell. It’s a by-the-numbers stuff with each providing info on their characters or the directing process.
Theatrical Trailer (1:42; HD)
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Outcast rides onto Blu-ray, running over and knocking out Hayden Christensen in the process, presented with a 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. It’s not the most amazing HD transfer I’ve come across but colors do have certain brightness and detail is alright. Although it’s clean enough, free of major artifacting, I did notice some banding in spots, such as the opening title show (seen in the screen cap at the start of this review).
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The disc comes with both a standard Dolby Digital and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks with the former being the default setting, so be sure to switch over. The lossless track itself is fine though hardly anything amazing. Dialogue does come through the center channel nice and clear while the more action-oriented scenes are OK but not very dynamic. The clank of the swords to show some depth and the score also sounds good.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, it’s become common place for a few years to find Nicolas Cage on the front cover a direct-to-video movie and normally I can appreciate it for his insane performance but with Outcast he’s merely a supporting player with the charmless Hayden Christensen taking front stage. It’s not a well made movie but it’s also not terrible, just utterly forgettable and even boring, though when Cage does show up later, he does at least inject some life, albeit too little and too late.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.