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Outnumbered Review

April 21, 2021 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
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Outnumbered Review  

Outnumbered Review

Ian Sanderson
Christopher Mauch
Mathew Mauch
George McVeigh

Directed by Emmett Adcock
Screenplay by Mathew Noske, Christopher Mauch, and Emmett Adcock, based on a story by Mathew Noske

Not Rated
Runtime– 142 minutes


Outnumbered, directed by Emmett Adcock, is a new mega low budget western from Australia. While its story meanders way too much and the movie itself is far too long, Outnumbered is infused with an obvious passion for its story and subject matter, not to mention some decent action sequences, weird humor, a shocking nastiness when it comes to the movie’s villains, and an oddly compelling hero. The movie also has some of the best looking cinematography in recent mega low budget movie history. There really are some truly beautiful shots in Outnumbered.

Now, as far as I can tell, Outnumbered doesn’t have an imdb page, and the movie doesn’t feature a cast list during its end credits, so I’m not entirely sure who is playing who. Instead of simply guessing, I’m going to refer to the actors as their character names only. I don’t quite understand why the movie’s credits only list the names of the actors in the movie and that’s it. I don’t know if that’s meant to be an artistic statement of some sort or the producers just decided they didn’t want to have “normal” credits. There could also be a third option I’m just not contemplating.

Anyway, Outnumbered takes place in Australia sometime in the late 1800’s. The movie doesn’t come out and say that, but you just have to assume that that’s when it takes place, since there are no modern appliances or technology of any kind on display. Some of the character wardrobe choices do suggest “old time west” (but, you know, in Australia) while others suggest something more modern. The movie opens with a father taking his young sons Billy and Jack out into the woods for target practice (they shoot a rifle at a tin can on top of a pole). While walking back home, the father is gunned down by a mysterious man on a horse. Billy and Jack witness all of this. The story then shifts about twenty years into the future, and we learn via voiceover that watching their father die was a seriously traumatic experience for both Billy and Jack. When he became old enough Billy joined the army and learned how to become a badass killer. Jack got married and had a family and got into the family business (I think it’s cattle ranching or something like that). Billy eventually left the army and went back home to work with Jack on the ranch. Jack, to a degree, seems to have grown into a well-adjusted person. Billy, on the other hand, has a darkness that follows him around.

And so, one day, while riding their horses on the ranch, Billy and Jack hear, off in the distance, a shootout. The shootout is related to an attempted hold up of a stagecoach by a man named Kroger (or it could be Kroker. Kroger sounds better so I’ll continue to use that). Kroger’s men manage to kill just about everyone in the stagecoach; one person survives, a young man. Once hearing the commotion, Jack wants to go find out what the hell is going on. Billy doesn’t. Billy doesn’t want to get involved. Billy eventually follows Jack towards the commotion, though, and they find the wounded young man. Once they establish that the young man is the only one left alive from the attack, Billy and Jack concoct a plan to get the young man out of the area and to a doctor. They argue a bit and then come up with a plan.

And so Billy and Jack get the wounded young man to safety and Billy rides off into town to get a doctor. Not that long after a doctor shows up to examine the wounded young man. Something is amiss about the doctor, though, mostly that he isn’t a doctor. The “doctor” is one of Kroger’s henchman and he’s there to finish off the young man and kill anyone else. Billy then appears with an actual doctor and kills Kroger’s henchman. Billy and Jack the doctor then take the wounded young man to another location.

So then the young man dies (his wounds were too severe), the local sheriff, Sheriff Brady, shows up, and Billy and Jack try to figure out what to do next. Should they team up with Sheriff Brady and go track down Kroger and his men? Should they just stay away from Kroger and his men? Jack wants to find Kroger and take him out. Billy, again, wants to stay away and not get involved. Billy and Jack argue again, and Billy decides to go against what he thinks is the right thing to do and join his brother in tracking down Kroger. So that’s what they do.

And that’s just the beginning.

Clocking in at almost two and a half hours long, Outnumbered is way too goddamn long. There really isn’t enough story to warrant that length. The script is also meandering, with some conversations going on seemingly forever. There are also character arguments that go nowhere, which is just annoying because those arguments never really build to anything. The first half of the movie is tighter than the second half but not by much. Had the story been cut down to its most essential items, had the dialogue been streamlined to only what’s important, Outnumbered would be better off. I think I get why the movie allows its scenes to play long (the actors are not actors and the director wants the movie to appear naturalistic), but the movie would have been better off being punchy and lean and mean throughout. The second half of the movie would have greatly benefited from streamlining/editing.

Now, there are some nifty twists in the narrative in the second half, and they help save the movie from falling apart. I won’t say what the twists are but be prepared to be surprised. The twists definitely would have worked more in a tighter movie, but the fact that they exist at all is outstanding. The second half of the movie is also where we see just how goddamn nasty the movie’s villains really are. I don’t think the word “amoral” is strong enough to describe them but, at the same time, it’s the only word that comes to mind. I mean, when henchmen are killed, the bad guy has his remaining henchmen burn the bodies of the dead ones. That’s messed up. There’s also a flashback sequence where we see Kroger set teenagers on fire simply because he can, something you don’t expect to see in any movie outside of the horror genre. The villains in Outnumbered are seriously depraved individuals.

The Australian setting also gives the movie an edge because there don’t seem to be many westerns set in Australia. What sort of place was Australia back in the late 1800’s? I have no idea how historically accurate Outnumbered is, but to see classic western images (horses, cowboys, six shooters, sheriffs, the frontier, stuff like that) in a setting that isn’t America or Mexico or “the west” is fascinating.

The cinematography in Outnumbered is second to none and some of the best I’ve ever seen in a mega low budget movie. The movie is beautiful from start to finish and a pleasure to just look at. How often do you get to say that about a mega low budget movie? The cinematography also helps make the movie look much bigger than it is, which is always nice to see.

And then there’s the violence. While the movie could certainly use more gun battles and hand-to-hand fights (the guy playing Billy is a beast when it comes to fighting and comes off as one of the most dangerous men in the world), the stuff we do get is phenomenal. When people get shot it’s nasty, when people get stabbed it’s gross (there’s a terrific knife through the back of the neck sequence that rivals anything you’d see in a slasher movie), and people get their necks snapped. When is the last time you saw that kind of thing in a western? There’s also a Gatling gun sequence that reminds one of The Wild Bunch. I mean, it’s not as brutal as The Wild Bunch but it’s a nice call back to it (and the scene also features its own rhythm and feel that makes it dangerous. You really get a sense of the danger the gun’s targets are under when the gun is used. There’s just nowhere to go. You just have to hunker down and pray you don’t get hit).

The main performances are all quite good. The actor playing Billy gives off serious badass vibes and, again, comes off multiple times as the most dangerous man in the world. The actor playing Jack isn’t as openly dangerous, but then he doesn’t have to be. Jack is meant to be a good guy who wants to save the world but doesn’t have all of the necessary skills and knowhow to do it. He’s got some but, man, he isn’t his brother Billy. The meandering script and overly long dialogue hinders both of their performances but they try to make it all work.

The actor playing Kroger is hilariously disturbing. Kroger is meant to be a terrible person and the actor takes that idea and runs with it, making Kroger a relentless scumbag. Kroger has a henchman with red hair who may be just as awful as he is. I don’t remember his character’s name but, man, you’ll enjoy what happens to him. I know I did.

And Sheriff Brady? The second half of his performance is more interesting than the first. That’s all I will say.

As for everyone else, they all do a great job getting through their dialogue. They all also have great looks. Kroger’s henchmen are some of the skeeviest looking bad guys I’ve ever seen. Where the hell did Kroger find them?

Outnumbered is a fascinating watch. It needed a tighter script and a faster runtime, but it isn’t an unsuccessful movie. It’s clearly a labor of love for all involved, and that energy definitely helps you get through the parts that meander around, seemingly going nowhere. The movie has a terrific main cast and looks amazing on a mega low budget. The world could probably use a few more Australian westerns like Outnumbered. Those westerns should be tighter and faster, but, if the mega low budget Australian western is ever to become a trend, Outnumbered is a pretty good start.
A pretty damn good start.

See Outnumbered. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: At least 30.

Explosions: None.

Nudity? None.

Doobage: A beautiful outback vista, target shooting in the woods, a public execution, a stagecoach in the woods, a wicked head shot, a stagecoach siege, multiple sibling arguments, a wicked shot to the gut, neck breaking, mild misogyny, an old rifle, slow motion wood chopping, a story about setting teenagers on fire, off screen dismemberment, bullet to the leg, door shooting, off screen kidnapping (maybe), shooting a guy through a door, off screen knife torture, a beating, rifle butt torture, a story about shooting a man in the back, old guns, another beating, gun polishing, card games, booze, a big hooha switcheroo, serious throat slashing, knife throwing, knife sharpening, dead body burning, strangulation, a quick draw showdown duel, neck stabbing, more arguing, Gatling gun attack, knife through the back of the neck, bullet to the arm, some cat and mouse, bottle shooting, and a nice closing theme.

Kim Richards? Big time.

Gratuitous: Australia, Australian accents, shooting a tin can, a voiceover explaining what’s going on right now, stagecoach attack, pulse checking, multiple arguments, hooded thugs that sort of look like the Ku Klux Klan (or, like, the Australian version of it. It’s all about the hoods), setting multiple teenagers on fire for no fucking reason at all, use of the word “Crikey!,” a musical interlude, gun polishing, a drunk as fuck gang member, a quick draw showdown duel, use of the word “bugger,” Gatling gun hooey, a John Woo double gun homage, flies and bugs all over the place, a tourniquet, and a nice closing theme.

Best lines: “Billy, take your brother home to your mother and wash up for supper,” “What’s happening? What are they talking about?,” “Come on, mate, get rid of it! Something’s going on here!,” “Well, Charlie, it looks like we got what we came for,” “What the bloody hell is going on here?,” “Jack, what you gotten into?,” “I think he muttered the word Kroger,” “Kell bloody Kroger,” “Jesus Christ, Jack!,” “Billy! Billy! We don’t even know if it’s true!,” “Oh, shit, how did Kroger find us?,” “Hey! Wake up you piece of shit!,” “You can’t bargain with us, Kroger. There isn’t a goddamn thing we need from you,” “Some things are worth dying for, Kroger,” “Shot twice in the bloody leg! Christ!,” “I’ll tell the Devil to keep a spot for ya!,” “You’re gonna wish you killed me when you had the chance!,” “One thing about my boys, they’re either loyal or they’re dead!,” “You sonofabitch! You’re the sheriff!,” “You do that again and I’ll kill ya!,” “That’s not a flush, you dickhead! That’s nothing!,” “When I want a job done I want it done fucking right!,” “You always were a stubborn bastard,” “Jesus Christ, listen to yourself,” “Kroger! You’re done!,” “What kind of cowboy doesn’t have a gun?,” “How do you like that, little doggie? I’m going to send you back to doggie heaven!,” and “Jesus, Jack, don’t sound so disappointed.”

The final score: review Good
The 411
Outnumbered, directed by Emmett Adcock, is a new mega low budget western from Australia. Its story meanders way too much and the movie itself is far too long, but Outnumbered is infused with an obvious passion for its story and subject matter, not to mention some decent action sequences, weird humor, a shocking nastiness when it comes to the movie’s villains, and an oddly compelling hero. The movie also has some of the best looking cinematography in recent mega low budget movie history. Outnumbered looks beautiful. If you’re a fan of low budget westerns or westerns in general, you should give Outnumbered a shot. It’s worth checking out. See Outnumbered. See it, see it, see it.

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Outnumbered, Bryan Kristopowitz