Robert Roy Pool
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.