Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday Retro Review: Outland

Outland is a movie I vaguely remember watching on TV with my dad. He was a huge fan of westerns and Sean Connery, so this sci-fi flick was right within the old man's wheelhouse. I remembered it being good, so when Basementites voted it as this week's retro review, I was pretty pumped. Was my enthusiasm justified? Stick with me!

In the distant future, a police marshal stationed at a remote mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy, and gets no help from the populace when he later finds himself marked for murder.

Many have compared Outland to a western, the 1952 flick High Noon to be exact, and the assessment sticks. The motifs and posturing are there, only in a futuristic setting. And yes, it works. Mostly because writer/director Peter Hyams doesn't try to hide them. We get that this is an homage of sorts, and we dig it. Or at least I did.

Outland also owes a lot to Alien in terms of production design. The mining station has the same realistic, lived in look of the Nostromo. I bought the technology and setting so much there were moments in this movie where I forgot I was watching a movie. Everything plays real, right down to the use of shotguns over lasers, phasers or blasters. Not every flick can claim that.

Most importantly, I forgot how awesome it is to watch a Sean Connery movie. The man is a true man's man. He's a bad ass audiences can believe in and cheer for, and he makes it look easy. The fact he's long retired and might not be with us much longer makes me sad.

This is an entertaining movie, and worth the watch. I don't know how often I'll revisit it, but I will many more times before I'm done, so that makes it a Good. Pure and simple.

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