Shannon Elizabeth and British actor-director Craig Fairbrass may share the marquee on "The Outsider," but you almost wish that Target got a co-producing credit for making it just an ounce more relevant than it should be.
Fairbrass stars as Lex, a former British soldier now employed by a Haliburton type private security firm. Before a big deployment, he's told his estranged daughter, Sam (Melissa Ordway) has been found washed up on a beach due to a drug overdose. His Commander tells him he can't leave when the mission is so close, but our boy Lex gives him a middle finger salute and heads to L.A.
Soon after arriving, he discovers that the police have the wrong girl (ok, that could happen to anyone). Now, with his daughter presumably alive, all he has to do is find her. Aiding him (somewhat) is Detective Klein (Jason Patric), who seemingly goes through the motions, complete with CSI: Miami closeups. Lex's shoot first and ask questions later approach results in a few dead bodies, but not before he gets some answers which lead him to multimillionaire cyber-villain James Caan. Think of the character Caan played in that Vegas show only with more of an east coast accent and cool lines like "I would let you beg for your life, but that would just bore me." before blowing a henchman away.
Sam's club doorman boyfriend (Johnny Messner) and a bartender (Shannon Elizabeth) eventually help Lex infiltrate Caan's lair before you have to check to see if you're not in the eighties and watching this B-grade Stallone spinoff.
If you like seeing James Caan still be badass at 70 or miss using a VCR, you are bound to fall a bit for "The Outsider." Fairbrass is pure 80s action hero and he even got his big break in the 1993 Stallone mountain epic "Cliffhanger." I've never had a daughter taken. Ok, I've never had children, but if I did, I'd want Fairbrass' Lex leaving behind a trail of broken laws and bodies to get her back (or even to get that guy who parks in the handicapped spot when no one's looking.) Shannon Elizabeth again plays the hot chick who is down for anything, especially if it involves nearly getting killed for six figures. I'm wondering if she should lead some class action lawsuit against Hollywood for all the truly hot women who can't get Oscar level roles for women. At 40, I think she deserves her big break.
"The Outsider" is a clone of a ton of action films you've seen, so don't expect anything new, but that doesn't mean it's not fun. The script could use a little work, but Fairbrass the actor can always talk that over with Fairbrass the actor. They came up with something decent this time. I don't see why they can't improve upon it.
"The Outsider" MPAA: Rated: Not Rated. Running time: 94 minutes. In limited release.