Loosely based on The Hot Zone by Richard Preston (which I'm currently reading), Outbreak is the story of a race against time to stop a virulent strain of virus from wiping out a small California town.
Dustin Hoffman plays Col. Sam Daniels, a USAMRIID virologist whose wife Robby (Rene Russo) is leaving him to take a parallel job to his at the CDC in Atlanta. Interrupting their passive-aggressive goodbyes is an emergency call for Daniels' team to rush to Africa in response to a deadly virus.
The virus makes it back to the states before the team does, carried by an imported monkey that was sneaked out of quarantine.
Sam and Robby reunite as they both try to chase down the bug and the host before it decimates a small California town. Meanwhile, the Army isn't all that fond of the idea of a cure for this particular disease.
It's a morality tale on the necessity of quarantine, as well as the question of whether the U.S. military is willing to sacrifice its own citizens in order to keep the lid on a potential biological weapon.
I really liked this movie when it came out. Having re-watched it, I had forgotten how bombastic it is. Still it's entertaining.