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.
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A stubborn marshal begins a bloody feud with a drug trafficking ring that has infiltrated the top ranks of an interplanetary mining company. What's not to love? A violent, atmospheric adaptation of a classic western. In short, it is tense. Complete with gritty, retro-futuristic sets and a haunting soundtrack this is a sci-fi oater to revisit again and again. Connery delivers shotgun justice, in space.
The friendship between the crusty Dr. Lazarus (love Frances Sternhagen!) and O'Neil keeps bringing me back to this film. And it's a relief when sci-fi proves that it doesn't have to resort to battling spaceships or menacing space aliens in its vision of the future. It's not a masterpiece or even a great film, but an enjoyable diversion that I've stuck by since I was a kid.
Despite often being compared to High Noon, Outland feels less like that western aside from some slight similarities in its final 40 minutes, and more akin to a post-Watergate conspiracy thriller with sci-fi elements. It focuses more on the quasi-bland action/thrills, and an investigative element throughout, rather than dramatic depth or full-bore, social-political analysis. Still, it's a semi-noble genre-blender.
(Spoiler) In a way, I dare say this is like a mining planet sci-fi version of The Name of The Rose. And with Sean Connery, too, in the leading role. Detractors of this view will say that Outland was released 5 years earlier and that it has nothing to do with religion. Well, sci-fi is often prophetic. And both movies tell a story of the impossible fight of a man against the establishment. And he does win, by losing.
Bland sci-fi adventure is an attempt at a sci-fi western, but is really just a dull detective story in its first half and a dopey action film in the second, with most of the cast sleepwalking through their roles. There are some decent special effects and a solid, driving score by Jerry Goldsmith, but the cinematography is overly dark and murky and the production design is very derivative of 'Alien'.
Science fiction western has a realistic feel with no aliens or unrealistic sound effects and Sean Connery is good as the man of the law. It was clearly inspired by the grim setting of the major box office success "Alien" and while the pace is slow as syrup I like the old-fashioned style of the film.
>>> Western sidéral, quelquefois sidérant, parfaitement maîtrisé, qui malgré l'anticipation du scénario est parfaitement assimilable, transposable à notre réalité quotidienne du 21eme siècle... www.cinefiches.com
Too bad that the spaceships are just an excuse, the story looks pretty classic for me. Anyway I like the fact that this community made a new life in the space, and I'm glad I watched a Sean Connery's movie I hadn't seen.