Outlander

"Bad"

Outlander Review


We are apparently in the midst of a minor Viking renaissance. In 2007, Marcus Nispel followed up his successful revamp of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the little seen Pathfinder. Centering on an orphaned Norsemen, the Native Americans who raised him, and their battle against returning Scandinavian hordes, it was not a box office success. Heck, one imagines that most people reading this opening paragraph don't even know the movie existed. Now comes Outlander, a surreal sci-fi link up of Alien, Predator, Species, and Beowulf. When it stays in space, it works. When it hits the ancient lands of Odin however, it flops around like fetid smoked fish.

On his way back to his home planet on a funereal mission, extraterrestrial Kainan (James Caviezel) discovers a deadly alien beast known as a Moorwen onboard his ship. It causes the vessel to crash land in Norway circa the 7th century. After getting his bearings and sending a distress signal, Kainan begins to explore the area. He is soon trapped by warrior Wulfric (Jack Huston) and taken to the fortified stronghold of King Rothgar (John Hurt) and his wild, unwieldy daughter Freya (Sophia Myles).

With the arrival of an "outlander" everyone is on edge. And to make matters worse, it seems like someone -- or something -- has destroyed the village of enemy leader Gunnar (Ron Perlman). Now he is vowing vengeance. Soon, all the Vikings are teaming up to take on the bloodthirsty Moorwen. Of course, they need Kainan's help, as only his advanced ideas and strategies can save them from the terrifying, murderous fiend.

In the realm of specious speculative fiction, Outlander out-befuddles Battlefield Earth. If movies can be classified as certifiably insane, this one would get the Baker Act almost immediately. Howard McCain, the driving force behind this oddball juxtaposition of Hagar the Horrible and monster movie schlock, must have been experimenting with highly hallucinogenic Swedish meatballs when he manufactured this Valhalla fever dream. It's just that bizarre.

Like oil and water, the two concepts being crammed together here don't necessarily mix. The alien stuff is interesting in a tolerable Man Who Fell to Middle Earth kind of way. Whenever McCain takes us to Kainan's planet and the battle with the Moorwen, we get lost in all the interstellar overdriving. But the Viking stuff is just laughable, looking like a Renaissance Faire that forgot to pay its dry cleaning bill. No one appears Nordic. Instead, we get a selection of British and American actors decked out in bad beards and leather body armor. Only Hellboy himself Ron Perlman looks at home here which is more indicative of the actor's "otherworldly" looks than careful casting.

How McCain, a man who previously helmed two TV police procedurals and a goofball kids film, got the green light to make this movie will probably remain a mystery. He must be really good when it comes to pitching his projects. Caviezel, who still seems to be channeling his previous messianic role, makes for an interesting action lead. He's more of a compatriot than a conqueror. The fight sequences do have some sizzle, but we really want to understand more about Kainan's far off distant world. The sloppy CG shots of the Moorwen invasion are intrinsically engaging. The Vikings on the other hand are so overloaded with testosterone and rage that you'd swear they invented steroids. Their brawny, beefy response to everything grows old quickly.

Had it aimed much higher (totally somber and serious) or a helluva lot lower (lots of bawdiness, blood, and gore) Outlander might have worked. Even the odd melding of eras and ideas could have gelled. As it stands, we are left awash in inexplicable incompleteness, rendering the entire concept uninvolving and inert.

It's the director. He's just resting.



Outlander

Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th July 2008

Box Office USA: $59.6k

Box Office Worldwide: $7M

Budget: $50M

Distributed by: Third Rail Releasing

Production compaines: Virtual Films, Ascendant Pictures, Rising Star, Outlander Productions, Weinstein Company, The, VIP Medienfonds 4

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 37%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 39

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Howard McCain

Producer: Barrie M. Osborne,

Starring: as Kainan, as Freya, as Wulfric, as Gunnar, as Rothgar, Cliff Saunders as Boromir, Patrick Stevenson as Unferth, as Einar, Bailey Maughan as Erick, John Nelles as Donal, James Preston Rogers as Bjorn, Scott Owen as Aethril, Petra Prazak as Mara, Owen Pattison as Galen, son of Kainen, Matt Cooke as Captain

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.