The Principals: Peter Hyams (director / writer), Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen (actors)
The Premise: It’s basically a remake of High Noon that’s set on Io (Jupiter’s moon), with Sean Connery playing the Gary Cooper/badass lawmaker role. He ends up butting heads with the head of the place (Peter Boyle), an evil money-hungry bastard who keeps his workers hopped up on drugs that double their productivity, with the side effect of making them insane. When the accidents and murders start to mount, Connery won’t hesitate to get to the bottom of things.
Is it Good: Oh yeah. The 1981 effects still hold up, and watching Connery put together all the pieces of the puzzle and take the bad guys down in violent 80s-movie fashion just as entertaining as it sounds. Plus, you’ve got people going space-crazy and killing themselves in all kinds of gory, vacuum-enhanced ways. One guys steps into an airlock sans suit (it’s messy), and the poor fellow below thinks he has spiders all over him and tries to get at them, forgetting he’s working in space.
“That’s enough air, Cohaagen!”
Is it Worth a Look: Hell yes. Especially if you just saw Duncan Jones’ excellent Moon and want to see where its roots lay. Along with Alien and space hippy film Silent Running, this was a massive influence on the look and feel of the film, although it contains about 1000% more action. Boyle is having so much fun here playing such a cocky corporate prick that you can’t wait for Connery to man up and take him down.
In space, no one can hear you play racketball.
Random Anecdotes: I’ve been on a real 80s scifi kick lately, and this made a great double feature with Michael Crichton’s fun and ridiculous Runaway. The old future tech never ceases to amuse. If any movie needs a remastering though, Outland is it. The current dvd looks atrocious, and it’s only available in fullscreen on Netflix Instant. Someone whip up a blu-ray of this sucker asap!
State of Play
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The Last Supper
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Blessed by Fire
Friday the 13th, Part 3