Cast: Janes Caviezel, John Hurt, Ron Perlman, and Sophia Myles
Writer/Director: Howard McCain
Run Time: 115 Min.
Originally meant to Direct: Renny Harlin
And so it was written, Jesus becomes a spacefaring soldier from a planet far, far away. Outlander’s first trailer boasts the basic pitch for this film, ALIENS, VIKINGS, SPACESHIPS and OH MY what a delicious stew of spicy ingredients!
This film is written by Howard McCain and Dirk Blackman, sound familiar? No? Well I don’t blame you, why should it? They’ve practically done nothing. Oh but wait, actually, they’ll be writing a small little film by the name Conan!
Right, so bare that in mind when I give you this review of Outlander.
The year is 709 A.D, the name of the place is… NORWAY. Yes, Norway. Our Alien friend or as he’ll later be referred to as Outlander, is actually called Kainan from another world, but I personally like to call him Jesus, crash lands on planet earth. This amazing character is played by none other than James Caviezel, the man who gave us Bloody Jesus.
The first five minutes of this film is where the writers and Director, who is the also the writer Howard McCain, feels confident enough to slap you in the face with the first anomaly of this film. He doesn’t take much time to establish the world, time or where our hero comes from. We see Kainan, drag his dead co-pilot out of the lake, sets up a homing beacon. Here is where the reality of this story becomes a little hard to swallow. It’s about four minutes into the film, where Kainan asks the computer in his Alien language a series of questions and the computer replies. Alright, it’s been established after one minute and eighteen seconds into the film that we’re in Norway. The funny thing is that when Kainan and the computer start to have a conversation they are actually speaking Norwegian with an eastern European accent or as they say it Old Norse. I’m so, not kidding you here. Silly as it was, I kept on watching, thinking that somehow this will all be explained, how else was it possible for me to understand what they were saying? Sad to say, that NEVER gets explained, so it was just used for effect and the off chance that most people will think it sounded alien enough to ignore it’s derivation. The computer then ejects an eye machine of sorts that will upload ALL that Kainan needs to know about planet earth, from languages, different sizes of pigs (don’t ask, I’ve been wondering about that my self) and location. Strangely enough the first word that comes of our hero’s mouth isn’t Norwegian which is where he is, but English. Ok, I know, for the purpose of cinema and saving 4 dollars on making subtitles for the film, they used English as the main language spoken in Norway. But the very first word he says in English is “FUCK”, is a bit of an unintelligent outburst from an advanced race.
Alright so after all of this the story begins to go down hill. Onboard Kainan’s ship was a captured beast from another world. The beast will become the Dragon in this movie. Within ten minutes of the film’ Kainan is captured by a group of Vikings and dragged to the nearest village. He befriends a few after he proves him self and then later goes on a quest to find the dragon or alien monster he captured before he crashed on earth. To aid him we have a wonderful woman called Freya, played by an actress called Sophia Myles. Sophia to my surprise was actually the most convincing character in this film and she played well. Her father the King was the legendary John Hurt. To boost the films value somehow Ron Perlman showed up and as suddenly as he appeared he also vanished without a trace. The rest of the cast has some very annoying, stereotypes and none of them look like real Vikings. In fact
this movie suffered from an identity crises, because it thought it was Lord of the Rings, meets Predator, meets Starman, meets every cliché you can think of.
The film has a few good points, the back story on this Dragon/Alien as well as its design, Sophia Myles and the premise. But poor execution of the story and some very odd moments in this film, simply catapulted into the circus arena and it wasn’t even entertaining at the end of the film as too many plot holes kept creeping up like an old cheese. This film was sold with one line on the poster “FROM THE PRODUCER OF LORD OF THE RINGS, Berrie M. Osborne.”
OUTLANDER was probably a good pitch, maybe even a good treatment, but at the end of the day, it’s a horrible film with poor acting, meaningless scenes, too many plot holes and annoying resolutions.
This film would clearly have been better as a video game, but sadly someone went the other way and made a movie. This film proves that bad directors can make good actors look like fools on screen. See it if you like movies such as Alien Predator… mmm, no not Alien AND Predator, but the other one Alien Predator 1987 by Deran Sarafian. And Stay FAR away if you value such movies as Alien and Predator.
Trivia : Hoard McCain pitched the idea some time ago but wasn’t picked up till last year. His aim was to use Old Norse which is the ancestor of Modern Icelandic and several other Scandinavian languages. (Too bad he didn’t care to explain why an Alien race speaks this language). He went so far as to get a professor to help translate the dialogue to teach the Actors. To my recollection it was only James and the computer who actually spoke this language.
Finally the film was shot in New Foundland.