#160 | Outbreak 2: The Virus Takes Manhattan

Another pandemic movie? Clearly, this podcast is in danger of becoming an exercise in psychological masochism, but in increasingly uncertain times, there’s something strangely comforting about wallowing in the ludicrous melodrama and tidy plot resolutions of popcorn cinema – particularly when it takes the form of Weapon’s Grade 90s schlock like Outbreak.

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen (whose oeuvre we previously touched on in our Air Force One episode), Outbreak features an all-star cast including Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Cuba Gooding Jr, Morgan Freeman and, most importantly, Marcel the Monkey from Friends – essentially the Gizmo of this movie.

Unlike the science-minced Contagion, Outbreak exists in the real world in name only. What the film lacks in accuracy regarding such details as pathology, geopolitics or basic human biology, it more than makes up for by doubling down on ripe expository dialogue and high-octane blockbuster thrills.

In this week’s podcast, we perform a forensic deep dive into the high-stakes relationship woes of Hoffman and Russo, scene after scene of absurd medical malpractice, the joy of one-line character actors seizing the moment and much, much more. As is the tradition, we also come up with some medically questionable drinking games, check in on what our listeners thought of the movie and pitch some long overdue sequel ideas, including one that dares to ask the question – what if the virus really did take Manhattan?

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Next week, we’re moving away from global viruses into a more generalised kind of horror, with one of the breakout hits of 2017. Until then, happy listening and stay the fuck indoors!