Outland is a sci-fi in appearance, but it doesn’t play like a typical sci-fi and is all the better for it. Outland is more of a western in the vein of ‘High Noon’ than any sci-fi released around the same time. It was made in 1980 and released in 1981. Back when practical effects were the norm and the film world was a brighter, more interesting place. The story involves Marshall William T. O’Neil (Sean Connery). Marshall O’Neil has been sent to a shit hole mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io. He’s been sent there as punishment because nobody will work with him as he’s too headstrong.
When he first gets to Io he is greeted by the mining boss Sheppard (Peter Boyle). He is told by Sheppard that his boys work hard, so they like to play hard. Essentially asking O’Neil to turn a blind eye to any grief he might come across. O’Neil warns Sheppard that he won’t be intimidated or bossed and will do things his way, despite Sheppard warning O’Neil that he may make enemies if he does. After a miner apparently commits suicide, O’Neil is informed by the colony doctor, Dr. Lazarus (Frances Sternhagen) that the man may have been taking narcotics which led to his death. O’Neil finds out that Sheppard is running a drug ring and that the company don’t mind as it helps drive up the work rate.
As O’Neil digs deeper and begins to cause trouble for Sheppard and his gang, assassins are hired to kill O’Neil and will arrive in 70hrs. As nobody will help O’Neil defend himself against the assassins, except Dr. Lazarus, O’Neil must do what he can if he intends to survive .
I love this movie. I love everything about it. The set design is just amazing and evokes memories of Alien, the same too with the costume design. The script is great and Connery is fantastic as O’Neil. My only real gripe is in regards to O’Neil’s family. His son’s voice is dubbed over by another actor for what reason I don’t know. Thankfully his son isn’t in the movie for long, but grates when he is. The film is well worth watching. If you like your sci-fi movies gritty and well acted, then this is for you.
The film is available on Blu Ray from Warner Bros. Fear not if you don’t have a multi-region Blu Ray player as Warner never region lock their Blu Ray’s. Happy days.