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The Secret Behind Anthony Mackie's Fighting Style In Outside The Wire

Contains spoilers for Outside the Wire

Netflix's Outside the Wire is the kind of thrill ride viewers have come to expect from the streaming service. The Anthony Mackie-starring movie is a high-octane sci-fi action flick set in the year 2036. A disgraced drone pilot named Harp (Damson Iris) is sent to the front lines of a civil war in Ukraine to serve under Captain Leo (Mackie), a peculiar prototype android warrior. Together, they face off against a mysterious terrorist known as Koval (Pilou Asbæk, whom you might remember from his role as Euron Greyjoy on Game of Thrones) and his nuclear plot. 

Outside the Wire depicts Captain Leo as a surprisingly fun, if (obviously) a bit rigid, dude, but also an incredibly deadly warrior when push comes to shove — which, of course, it will. Tasked with depicting Leo's cybernetic nature, the filmmakers set out to give him a visually unique style of physicality, which is on display when he goes in full combat mode. Here's how they crafted Anthony Mackie's impressive fighting style in Outside the Wire.

Leo's a learning, fighting machine

As Mackie explained in an interview with Screen RantLeo's fighting style in Outside the Wire was specifically designed to show that while his personality might be surprisingly human, his body still works like a machine. 

"A big thing for me was just the robotic and mechanic nature of being a cyborg, but also emotionally keeping him available and open," the actor said when describing the concept. "[Director Mikael Håfström] and I talked about the idea of this guy coming across as a human — looking like a human — but when he fights, he's a cyborg that reacts and creates a reaction to the person he's fighting. He learns from the person that he's fighting so he can attack their style."

Mackie took this as something of a personal challenge, especially since he got to actually do a bunch of his fighting in Outside the Wire – unlike in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where he's worked side-by-side with stuntman Aaron Tony, who has taken care of Falcon's more physically demanding tricks. Now out on his own, the actor put in plenty of hours to make Leo's robotic combat moves as great as possible. 

"This was my first time in almost ten years working without [Tony], so I took a lot of the training and lessons that I do with him," Mackie said. "I would walk around Budapest every night and study my jiu-jitsu poses. If you saw a weird Black dude smoking a cigar, doing jiu-jitsu in the streets of Budapest, that was me."

As anyone who has seen Outside the Wire can tell, this novel approach worked extremely well, and Mackie's hand-to-hand moves are more than enough to convince you that Leo is an android super-soldier. 

Outside the Wire is now on Netflix.