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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.24%
Worth A Look: 14.29%
Pretty Bad: 18.37%
Total Crap: 6.12%

2 reviews, 37 user ratings

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by Jason Whyte

"Yeah, it's a virus. Definately a virus."
3 stars

While Wolfgang Petersen's "Outbreak" is anything but perfect, it does contain a story that is downright scary, especially when we think that this could actually happen. The film's intense subject matter will unsettle many a viewer and think the next time before coughing.

Roughly around 1965, a village in Africa is bombed due to a virus. outbreak. Instead of trying to help the people and since the government did not know the origin of the disease, a single plane was dispatched to wipe them out instead.

Cut to the present day, where a disease-carrying monkey is smuggled into the United States. In walks Col. Sam Daniels (Dustin Hoffman), an experienced Army doctor in microorganisms that cause diseases. He even has an ex-wife Robin (Rene Russo) who works at the Center of Disease Control in Atlanta and they still keep in touch despite their divorce.

When an epidemic breaks out in Boston and a small town in California (in a standout scene involving a disease spread in a movie theater), Daniels' superior officer (Morgan Freeman) assigns Daniels and his team to the California site for medical purposes. And there's even politics involved in this, with Freeman's superior, a general played by Donald Sutherland, who places an entire military seal on the California town.

There are many parallels in the story that work, from the Army virus personnel (including Kevin Spacey and Cuba Gooding, Jr.), to Robin's help and the CDC, to Freeman's character who is being brushed aside by the General/Politician, who has secrets about the virus and wants to air strike the town.

However, some scenes in the film are completely the form of Hollywood Scriptwriting 101, including the Impossible Find. The Monkey carrying the Motambo virus is in the Boston Woods, and is found by a mother who just happens to have the television on at the precise time that the Dustin Hoffman character is making a television address. As well, the virus is only mentioned as a US threat (in a very belittling diagram that doesn't show the effects of Canada or Mexico; wouldn't a screenwriter be thrilled at the idea of customs officers getting the virus?).

That set aside, "Outbreak" is a scary movie, and Wolfgang Petersen is no stranger to "BIG" moviemaking, and both clash together well. Instinctively, we fear such things as human sickness, ranging everywhere from a chest cold to the Ebola virus, and especially how something that can be passed along in a movie theater can kill us.

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originally posted: 08/02/05 08:31:54
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User Comments

9/12/11 Jeff Wilder Tense and good acting. But the military conspiracy subplot is ridiculous. 3 stars
11/07/09 brian Parts of it work and parts don't. Desperately in need of a script editor. 3 stars
9/05/07 Tiffany Losco I saw this movie when I was little, it scared me so bad I had horrible nightmares 3 stars
2/23/07 David Pollastrini Just OK 2 stars
10/19/06 fread head dodgy 1 stars
10/26/05 Carolyn Rathburn Hmm, well it was an ok movie, but I liked The Stand better 3 stars
9/22/05 Sylvanthunder I thought it pretty well knit, on average at least! 4 stars
8/11/05 ES Some good tension and a pre'look I'm so talented' kevin spacey= good stuff 4 stars
8/05/05 Nate Frary Donald Sutherland must be choking on all the scenery he chewed. 2 stars
8/04/05 Carolyn Rathburn makes you wonder. need a sale on face masks 3 stars
8/03/05 Eric Rollins Scary because you feel it could happen. 4 stars
2/02/05 G-Man great plot and cast- a must see 5 stars
1/16/05 John Bale What could have been a confronting serious film slides into mediocrity as an action flick. 3 stars
11/12/04 Joan Alliman more movies about biological weapons should be made and yes, I liked the movie 4 stars
6/06/04 John good cast - interessting story but the movie moves along at a rather dull speed 2 stars
2/25/04 art lover great! but not when hoffman recognized the host monkey w/ a girl's drawing using crayons! 3 stars
1/17/04 J A amazing thriller! *** 1/2 5 stars
11/29/03 Samuel very good, Freeman plays every role perfectly!! 3 stars
5/12/03 Jack Bourbon Hey, there's a horrid new disease in the news! Let's make a blockbuster about it! 2 stars
3/21/03 Jack Sommersby Frightening set-up; laughable follow-through. Hoffman makes for stalwart hero. 3 stars
4/30/02 Jenny Tullwartrz Just like Renee Russo to play a deathly ill patient who almost makes us sorry she recovers. 2 stars
11/15/01 becca i think the movie was awsome. very interesting. not many army movies are good. this one is! 5 stars
8/31/01 spaceworm Searched for "Out Of Africa," and I get THIS? 2 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Very intense and a scary "what if?" scenario. Great cast makes invisible killer intriguing. 5 stars
4/25/01 Spetters Unexciting disatermovie. Actors are wasted. Uninspired direction. Just plain boring! 1 stars
3/06/01 Jake This was sooo bad it was comical. but not funny enough. 1 stars
12/19/00 R.W. Welch A little short on believability, fails to hold you. 3 stars
12/02/00 The Evil Penguin I agree with Kyle Broflovski 4 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Disturbing look at our sane little world. Nicely done. GREAT cast. 4 stars
12/10/98 Scion of Graveheart Even the millitary is screwed up. Great flick, but needs more action. 3 stars
12/07/98 Shadow Raider Viruses and infections are soooo intriguing and fascinating.... 3 stars
11/13/98 Jules Like I need another fucking movie to shove the big bad military down my throat.... 2 stars
9/08/98 Young Einstein Even the monkeys couldn't save this blow-out. 2 stars
8/30/98 Johny Good enough, not great 4 stars
8/29/98 Miss Stress awsome movie, scares me that the military is that fucked up it could happen. 5 stars
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  10-Mar-1995 (R)



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