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Columbia Classics

One Dark Night

Death Screams

Dead & Buried

Outpost, The


  • Theatrical Version
  • Extended Director's Cut
Release: Jun 12, 2021 - Author: Mike Lowrey - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Probably one of the worst ideas the US Army had in the Afghanistan war was to establish a troop post in a funnel-shaped mountain terrain. The soldiers sat there like fish in a barrel and were fired upon almost daily from the steep mountain slopes until, at one point, the Taliban launched a massive attack on the base with over 400 fighters. The US soldiers, numbering just over 50, were faced with the almost impossible task of fighting for their lives until reinforcements arrived from "nearby" Qatar. This resulted in several dead and wounded, as well as the fact that all those involved were showered with more military honors than any other unit, including two "Medal of Honor" awards for surviving soldiers who stood out especially for their heroism. The latter aspect should bring some healing especially to those involved and their families, while as a layman inexperienced in war (who probably benefits directly or indirectly from the military efforts of others in faraway lands) one wonders if this sacrifice is worth it or if these medals can outweigh what was suffered.

The film adaptation of this real-life case is called The Outpost and is based on a 2012 book. Originally, Sam Raimi was going to direct this for Universal Pictures, but over time they both jumped ship and Rod Lurie (Straw Dogs remake) directed the film for Screen Media Films and a budget of just under five million dollars. So you shouldn't expect a second Black Hawk Down here, especially since the thoroughly renowned cast (Scott Eastwood, Orlando Bloom, among others) doesn't bring in any charisma worth mentioning here. Only after more than an hour does the Taliban attack begin and with it the momentum of the film.

But if there is such a thing as a "Corona winner" among postponed films, The Outpost is probably one of them. While it otherwise would probably have gone down fairly unnoticed, it was able to generate unprecedented attention as a streaming title, especially in the US. Especially the positive feedback from the soldier and veteran community provided a helpful push in awareness. It is also interesting that they praise the monotonous events, the harsh tone, the empty conversations and the unclear day-to-day business as being presented in a particularly realistic way. As an uninformed viewer accustomed to Hollywood productions, the first half of the film may well be perceived as extremely dull without this information (and probably still is). But since the filmmakers also emphasize that they hoped soldiers and veterans would be able to show the film to their families to give them a real sense of what they experienced, it seems that overall this has hit the mark for the intended target audience.

Released in the US in August 2020, The Outpost was released in the Theatrical Version. But with the 4K UHD Blu-ray premiere there on 25 May 2021, they also released a longer version, called the Extended Director's Cut. It's a little over three minutes longer, but doesn't contain any material that brings any notable innovations. Director Rod Lurie disagrees, however, because at the beginning he wants the viewer to know that the extended scenes in the Director's Cut are meant to show even more precisely what it's like for soldiers in such camps, what camaraderie and humanity are all about. Therefore, he says, it is a pleasure to be able to show this Director's Cut. Very well. But you can also stay with the Theatrical Version and also get a sufficient impression of this message.

Comparison between the Theatrical Version (on the German Blu-ray by EuroVideo) and the Extended Director's Cut (on the US 4K UHD Blu-ray by Screen Media Films).

3 extended scenes, 4 x additional text inserts in the Theatrical Version = 194.2 sec. or approx. 3 minutes 15 seconds

Extended scene
0:35:16: The troop finds a crying baby. They are suspicious at first that this could be a trap, but then one of them takes it. Suddenly a local woman shows up and, full of rage, demands the baby back. Of course she gets it, but that does not make her feel any better. With glaring eyes, she walks away.
109.84 sec.

Extended scene
0:38:57: There is another change of guard for the captured local. The soldiers know each other, the newcomer has just returned to camp from the US and asks what the prisoner did. His fellow soldier doesn't have the info, but says that his father is probably on the council of elders, so he should guard him well.
27.72 sec.

Additional scene
1:01:42: Two comrades make small talk, one of them shouts an insult into the mountains. The response comes in the form of a grenade fire, but it misses them. They take cover and fire back. A second impact follows, then black screen, where the Theatrical Version also kicks in again.
56.56 sec.

Alternate footage
1:07:24: As Captain Broward relinquishes command to Lieutenant Bundermann, black screen follows in both versions. However, the DC does not fade in the name of the new commander this time.
No time difference

Alternate footage
Theatrical Version 1:05:50: The Theatrical Version shows the "5:50 AM October 3, 2009" insert. The DC does not show it.
No time difference

Alternate footage
Theatrical Version 1:07:45: The Theatrical Version fades in the time of the attack, "5:58 AM". The DC doesn't.
No time difference

Alternate footage
Theatrical Version 1:10:24: Theatrical Version fades in the name of the armored vehicle: "LRAS 2". The DC doesn't.
No time difference