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What He said:


I had never heard of this movie until I caught bits and pieces of it on TV one day. It was the middle of the movie, and I thought it looked interesting enough to where I didn’t want it spoiled for me, so I decided to turn it off and seek it out at another time when I could watch the whole thing. So, the other day when I got the chance, I decided to check it out on Amazon Prime.

Outland is about a mining colony on one of the moons of Jupiter and it stars

Mr. 007 himself, Sean Connery. Connery plays Marshall William O’Niel. Marshall O’Niel is a family man and by-the-book lawman. He loves his family, but dedicates himself to the job. He has a reputation for being tough on crime and getting the job done. His current job is a new one. He was recently transferred from another mining outpost.

When he arrives at the new site, he meets the staff in a large meeting of all of the colony’s top-level staff. Mark Shepard (Peter Boyle)is the general manager of the facility. He boasts of having the highest level of production of all the mining colonies Con-Amalgamated owns. Under him, the colony on Io has increased its production tremendously. As a result, he allows his workers a very long leash, and tells O’Niel – as well as the rest of the staff – to be a little more tolerant of their antics than you might be under normal circumstances. He lets the boys party hard. Really hard. In addition to the usual alcoholic beverages, drugs, and prostitution are also legal. I’m not sure if this is a company-wide policy, but it is the norm on Io. As a result, sometimes they get a little out of hand, but that’s ok with Shepard as long as their productivity keeps up.

O’Niel doesn’t like this philosophy. He feels like Shepard is telling him how to do his job, especially when dead bodies start popping up, and they are immediately transported off of the facility before he gets to investigate. He smells something fishy and becomes more agitated with each incident of violence. Shepard not only dismisses his requests for a little help with the investigation, he doesn’t hide his feelings that he prefer it if O’Niel simply let the whole thing go. Shepard doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize the production of his facility. So as a result, O’Niel enlists the help of Dr. Lazarus (Frances Sternhagen). She is a hesitant to get involved, but obliges.


This is a realistic and grounded sci fi movie. I really enjoyed its tone down and believable approach to telling the story. Everything in this movie seemed entirely possible and that helped it in my eyes. I like big, grand, and ambitious stuff too, but sometimes you want something a little more grounded in reality (but still science fiction). The effects, technology the characters were using, weaponry, clothing, all seemed very practical, realistic, and applicable to the situation. There’s no laser guns, faster than light ships, or teleporters, and that worked in this scenario.


The acting was solid too. Connery was his usual hero self. He was pretty much done with the Bond movies at this point in his life (made one more in 1983), but was still young enough to be a believable tough guy. He was a really good blue collar kind of tough guy too. He wasn’t a trained assasain like Bond, but O’Niel was crafty and knew how to get shit done when he had to. Peter Boyle was also great as the weasel/company man Mark Shepard. He was very good at making himself unlikeable. Frances Sternhagen was quite entertaining as O’Niel’s reluctant and grumpy sidekick, Dr. Lazarus.

If you like realistic, more mature, old-school science fiction stuff, with a dash of an old western feel to it, this should be right up your alley. Considering I have never heard of it, I'd have to call it a pretty underrated sci fi movie. It's solid.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on August 18, 2013.