Outlander Review: Stupidly Enjoyable Paff

April 23, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

OUTLANDER: On general release from Friday 24th April 2009

When every fantasy and sci-fi idea has been done before, where do you go for new ideas?

The answer if you’re writers Dirk and Howard McCain is to simply cobble together a whole load of old ideas into one gigantic patchwork.

Outlander sees muscle-bound spaceman, Kainan (Jim Caviezel, he of The Passion of the Christ fame) crash land in Norway in 709 AD. With his spaceship smashed, he has no choice but to wait for someone to come and pick him up. Unfortunately, he’s had a stowaway: a gigantic, cloaking alien (a cross between a giant armadillo, the predator from Predator and er, the bikes from Tron), so he must team up with the local Vikings to repel it with conventional primitive weaponry.

Space Jesus and the Vikings vs. Aliens – surely that’s a much better title?

If it sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is. Every fantasy cliché is wheeled out on display here; you could tick them off on a list. Sword-wielding feisty warrior princess? Check. Tribal ritual to prove himself worthy to the clan? Check. Headstrong but foolish second-in-command? Check. Hearty but drunk burly sidekick? Check.

And the plot holes, oh the plot holes. Kainan’s ship isn’t that big, how did such a large alien manage to stow away on board unnoticed? That’s like having a stowaway rhino on a helicopter. And Kainan reveals that his people invaded the aliens’ home world because they were greedy for land – cut to flashback scenes showing them nuking the planet. Surely nuking a planet that you’re going to live on later is somewhat of a bad idea, unless you have a penchant for baked rubble.

There’s a lot of unnecessary plot detail – there’s a blonde kid that follows him around and worships him like a hero but actually has no bearing on the story, and a vague side-plot involving a rival clan which could be entirely dispensed with.

And yet there’s something quite appealing about it. Stupid, hackneyed, clichéd, ridiculous – say what you like, it’s actually quite entertaining. It’s a mite too long but it’s the kind of film you could happily watch with your mates on a Friday evening and have a good laugh at.

Personally I think they should start making more cross over movies like the 50s B-movies of old. How about “Superman and the Spartans vs. The Giant Squid”? or “Amazons vs. Pirates in space”? Surely it can only be a matter of time.

Jez Sands

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