: : : Outbreak

Story

When Warner Brothers was unable to secure the rights to Richard Preston's terrifying nonfiction book The Hot Zone (purchased by a rival studio), they took the basic idea of a fatal virus on the loose in the U.S., added Dustin Hoffman and director Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot), and produced an unusual thriller--a surprise hit--called Outbreak. The other picture, slated to star Robert Redford and Jodie Foster, fell through. The premise of Outbreak, which owes something to Elia Kazan's 1950 plague-scare movie, Panic in the Streets, is as terrifying as it is timely. As developers slash their way deeper into the previously unexplored tropical rainforests, they are exposed to radically new forms of life, including diseases, that in these days of commonplace international travel could turn into deadly epidemics almost before we know it. Hoffman's character and his estranged wife (Rene Russo) are disease experts called in to identify the unknown killer, which was carried into the country by an illegally smuggled monkey. The best sequence shows the disease spreading--through recycled air on a passenger jet, or a sneeze in a crowded movie theater. The final chase is pretty conventional, but the cast is terrific, including Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland, Cuba Gooding Jr., J.T. Walsh, and Zakes Mokae. --Jim Emerson

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Dustin HoffmanSam Daniels
Rene RussoRobby Keough
Morgan FreemanGeneral Billy Ford
Kevin SpaceyCasey Schuler
Cuba Gooding Jr.Major Salt
Donald SutherlandGeneral Donald McClintock
Patrick DempseyJimbo Scott
Zakes MokaeDr. Benjamin Iwabi
Malick BowensDr. Raswani
Benito MartinezDr. Julio Ruiz
Bruce JarchowDr. Mascelli
Dale DyeColonel Briggs
Maury SterlingSandman One

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