Outbreak presents a semi-scientific basis which is adequate for most viewers, and spins its clever, high-octane suspense plot around this. The director is Wolfgang Petersen - a man well-acquainted with technological catastrophe thrillers. This time he works with our intellect and spine at once, presenting one of humanity's greatest fears, a new plague. What is remarkable here is how Petersen manages to merge a jam-packed, roaming screenplay into a slick and effective film. It's so manipulative that we can't help but getting sucked in. Petersen works well with his performers too - Dustin Hoffman gives one of his best performance on this side of the 1980s. He is industrious and believable – both as a scientist and as an accidental action-hero. Sure, the formulaics threathen to take control towards the end, but it always manages balance on the right side of ridicule - much like Speed - another good action film from the same era. An era with some great action films that managed to keep the pace up without becoming overly frenzied.