Welcome back kiddies! Day 4 of Sci-Fi Week begins and it holds a bit of sentimental value for me. After leaving the James Bond Franchise in 1971, Most Connery fans were convinced he was past his acting prime and never do better than James Bond. So suit up in your atmospheric suit, make sure to activate your magnetic clamps and get them boots a walkin’. This is Outland.
|It's only a model.|
Spoilers have a flair for the dramatic…
Director/writer Peter Hyams (Capricorn One, The Star Chamber, 2010, The Presidio, Narrow Margin and Timecop) brings us a retelling of Gary Cooper’s High Noon only rather a battered mining town we have a mining colony at Io, a far moon of Jupiter. Not exactly the best assignment for Marshall O’Neil (Sean Connery of Dr. No, Goldfinger, The Anderson Tapes, Murder on the Orient Express, The Great Train Robbery, Highlander, The Hunt for Red October and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and his family but orders are orders and he has to lump it. Before too long it feels like a typical mining operation and he meets with the general manager Mark Sheppard (Peter Boyle of Young Frankenstein, Taxi Driver, Turk 182!, Red Heat and Everyone Loves Raymond) who proceeds to inform the Marshall that most of the workers are good at what they do, they bust their butts and are entitled to play after hours but sometimes folks get a bit rowdy.
|Yes I was in Highlander, now concentrate on the job!|
Marshall O’Neil sits in with his men finding out the daily logs, his right hand man Sgt. Montone (James Sikking of General Hospital, Hill Street Blues, Doogie Howser,M.D. and The Pelican Brief) tries to point out the good about this town. The booze isn’t that watered down and the hookers have a heart of gold. Yeah so a man on duty not being in a pressure suit and exposed himself to a zero-pressure atmosphere only to become the contents of raspberry jam all over the walls. Later throughout the week a worker that reports and fellow workers call as calm, collective and always well behaved smacks around a prostitute and threatens to slice her to bits. O’Neil has the locked door disengaged and Montone sneaks through the vents with a shotgun blasting before O’Neil can question him. Given the sheer size of this colony very little can go on without O’Neil finding out.
Using the surveillance cameras throughout the colony he discovers the possibility of an amphetamine being smuggled onboard. Confirmed by Dr. Lazarus (Mary Sternhagen of The Hospital, Another World, Independence Day, Spencer, Golden Years, Cheers, Sex and the City and ER), a wreck of a doctor as she calls herself is stunned rigid on the dosages that are floating in one man’s veins and cannot believe this is happening. With a bit more investigation with cameras O’Neil links the smuggling to Sheppard and it is sanctioned by Sgt. Montone. O’Neil follows and captures one of Sheppard’s dealers, tosses the drugs in the toilet and drops him into an isolation chamber leaving him in zero gravity to drift until he feels like being chatty. Confronting Montone about being bought off, O’Neil tells him how he can help or get the hell out of the way. His pride and sense of justice blinds him to the point that Sheppard’s partners has set a couple of professional hitmen to kill him but O’Neil patched into outgoing communications and is aware of everything that is coming his way.
|Sheesh the caters really need therapy.|
Now I understand the comparison to High Noon due to the clock counting down in the same way he is waiting his impeding assassins on arrival. Will anyone help him or will all turn a blind eye to a man being eliminated? Most of the film is blue screened, matte painted and scale model shots as well as the decompression explosions but I feel the effects as a whole still stand up to this day and c’mon it’s Sean Connery walloping men 20 years younger than him. A novelization of said movie was once again like Logan’s Run done by Sci-Fi/Sci-fi Fantasy writer Alan Dean Foster. It is a dark drama with some levity and complicated relationships. This is an old favorite so not exactly an arm twists to view it again.