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THE SMALL TOWN CRITIC reviews a great sci-fi movie that YOU may never get to see!

Posted on January 23rd, 2009
Posted on January 23rd, 2009

OUTLANDER (2008) ****

I can already guess what Dark Side is going to say about this post (“Stops Copies Me!” anyone?). I know of one film that’s coming out in limited release this weekend of January 23rd and it didn’t get a fair shake. It happens so often now to movies that don’t deserve it. This is one of those occasions.

Yep, I’m talkin’ bout “Outlander.” Jim Caviezel, who’s nearly worn out his Hollywood welcome, plays Kainan, a human-like spaceman who crash lands with evil alien monster to Earth. He and the monster have a vendetta against each other and they hunt with the intention of sending each other to kingdom come. Unfortunately, Kainan’s futuristic equipment gets turned to slag in the landing. Dang, now he’s gotta use conventional Earth weapons. But wait… he landed in Scandinavia during the Viking era… That’s during “The Iron Age” (oh snap!). Guess he’s gotta use his advance spaceman knowledge to build a “magical” sword out of a metal scrap from his ship and band the ornery Vikings together to defeat the alien beast known as the “Moorwen.”

It’s kinda like “Predator” (hell it even starts with the exact same FX shot) with Vikings, except one of those pesky alien bounty hunters from “Critters” decides to drop in. I was hoping Klaatu… I mean Kainan would eventually confront his blond-haired captors, going all Bruce Campbell “This is my BOOMSTICK!” on the Vikings but that didn’t happen. He loses his laser gun within the first ten minutes, but it seems like he shoulda been able to find it again later. He gets some silly scenes trying to learn the customs of the Nordic warriors (shield hopping?), but those scenes are designed to win over his hard-to-impress hosts. Funny that they end up liking him considering he doesn’t drink alcohol and seems afraid to ride a horse.

This movie steals from dozens of sci-fi/fantasy movies that came before it. Namely “The 13th Warrior” and “Dragonslayer.” Honestly, the film it has most in common with is “Army of Darkness.” No foolin’. Kainan even gets a “Gimme some sugar, baby” moment with the female lead. Granted it tries to be far more serious than “Army” but you cannot ignore the references. Also the monster has glowing, green “Predator” blood, moves like “Alien,” (John Hurt is in it!)glows like a Balrog… I could go on… But, when you get down to it, this is actually a classy and cool reworking of the “Beowulf” legend and on that level, I absolutely love it. If only Caviezel hadn’t used up his “I played Jesus” street cred making crap, then disappearing for awhile, this film would have top billing.

I’d classify this as an okay movie but I consider it GREAT science fiction. It takes itself too seriously, but its easy to get swept up in. Much like “Highlander,” it’s one of those films that when it comes on cable, you’ll drop everything to watch it because it’s got so much neat stuff going on. By the end, you’ll be happy you saw it again for it’s satisfying ending. It’s definitely a film for geeks, and if that makes me a geek for enjoying it, then I’m gonna go jump off a cliff… but I’ll see “Outlander” again before I do.

Trailer!…

-The Small Town Critic

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Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


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