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

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

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.