OUTBREAK (1995) 

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Dustin Hoffman
Rene Russo
Morgan Freeman
Kevin Spacey
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Donald Sutherland
Patrick Dempsey
Zakes Mokae
Malick Bowens

Wolfgang Petersen



Time: 127 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Action/Drama

SYNOPSIS: A deadly airborne virus finds its way into the USA and starts killing off people at an epidemic rate. Colonel Sam Daniels' job is to stop the virus spreading from a small town, which must be quarantined, and to prevent an over reaction by the White House.

BOTTOM LINE: Given the cast and director this should have been an outstanding movie. Unfortunately, they spent all of the money on the actors and not enough on the script, which is pretty much the usual plague fare. Someone gets infected with a vicious airborne disease which if not stopped within a certain amount of time will kill everyone on the planet. Only by finding the original monkey can they save the world. Hoffman, Russo and Spacey are all pretty convincing as the scientists, with Freeman and Sutherland adding their usual intensity as the military heavyweights. To make the situation even more desperate – or least more urgent for our lead characters – both Spacey and Russo find themselves infected with the virus. It's amazing how lovely she looks on her deathbed. Apparently, oozing sores are only for the extras.

It goes without saying that Hoffman and Russo were also once husband and wife, as if he needed another reason to stop this awful epidemic. The dialogue is somewhat hokey, but the science is pretty damn interesting and gives the movie more intelligence than the basic plot otherwise allows. The way they trace the progression of the virus is amazing and the filmmakers have some dark fun with how it gets transmitted to the people of a tiny California town. The ending is extremely over the top, but hey, apparently anything goes when the fate of the planet is on the line. I guess, they had to give Cuba Gooding Jr. something exciting to do to justify his salary. With a lesser cast, this is a film made by USA Networks. Only the first-rate performances of all involved make OUTBREAK at all watchable.

"George, you've heard about this virus?... Shall I cough on you, George?"

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