The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

OUTLAND (1981) * ½

Sean Connery takes a job as a 22nd century rent-a-cop on Jupiter’s moon of Io and soon has to figure out why all the spacemen there like to blow themselves up like leftover lasagna in the microwave.  Turns out the mining company wants RESULTS so they encourage their workers to take super amphetamines in order for them to work 24 hour shifts.  The side effect though is that these fuckers turn crazy and want to walk around Jupiter’s moon without a benefit of a spacesuit.  Connery tries to get others to stand up to The Man (Peter Boyle) but since everyone is on the company payroll, no one will do the right thing.  The Man then sends two hired guns to take Sean out, leaving Connery all by himself to take out the trash.


Outland is pretty much a sci-fi version of High Noon except with exploding spacemen.  While it sounds good on paper, the results are far from entertaining.  I dozed off TWICE on this sucker and every time I came to, I didn’t especially feel the need to rewind and catch up on what I missed.  Not a glowing compliment to be sure.  If director Peter (Timecop) Hyams does want to hear a glowing compliment from me, I will say this:  The exploding spacemen scenes ARE good Pete.  Bravo.


The biggest problem with Outland, besides being about as much fun as trying to pass a stone, is the “futuristic” look of the movie.  Its obvious inspiration was Ridley Scott’s Alien as most of the spacemen are more or less blue collar trucker types working for The Man.  (It’s nice to see that in the future, the plastic trucker hat fad will come back into fashion.)  Unfortunately all the “futuristic” locations like boiler rooms, cafeterias and locker rooms pretty much look the way they did in 1981, when this puppy came out.  Seriously, is this what Hyams thought the future would look like?  What’s so sci-fi about a Morrison’s Cafeteria?


Connery escapes this thing with his dignity more or less intact by just pretending he’s James Bond.  Really though, after Zardoz you would’ve expected him to swear off doing crappy sci-fi movies.  Some people never learn I guess.  (He was smart enough to turn down Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, so that says something good about the man.)

Tags: o, sci-fi
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