In the distant future, a police marshal stationed at a remote mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy, and gets no help from the populace when he later finds himself marked for murder.
Jay Austin is now a civilian police detective. Colonel Caldwell was his commanding officer years before when he left the military police over a disagreement over the handling of a drunk ... See full summary »
Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators.
Marshal W.T. O'Niel is assigned to a mining colony on Io, one of Jupiter's moons. During his tenure miners are dying - usually violently. When the marshal investigates he discovers the one thing all the deaths have in common is a lethal amphetamine-type drug, which allows the miners to work continuously for days at a time until they become "burned out" and expire. O'Niel follows the trail of the dealers, which leads to the man overseeing the colony. Now O'Niel must watch his back at every turn, as those who seek to protect their income begin targeting him... Written by
Director Peter Hyams actually handled the cinematography for most of the film. Stephen Goldblatt was misleadingly hired by Hyams, who only wanted him to stand aside and do nothing, and to use him as a scapegoat for the production company in case anything went wrong while using the IntroVision process. According to Goldblatt, he was furious at being lied to and wouldn't have taken the job if he'd known Hyams' intentions at the outset. He stayed on in order to learn how to use IntroVision, and because as a young cinematographer with a sole prior feature credit, quitting a film could have ruined his career. It is the only one of his films whose wrap party he skipped. See more »
While fighting with Ballard out in space, O'Niel grabs his foot to pull him off of a ledge. When he does, you can see his arm and hand inside his glove, showing his spacesuit to be fake. See more »
What an entertaining movie this is. The plot is believable; the acting, from the minor characters right up to and including the leads, is excellent; the dialogue is natural and realistic (and intelligible); and the special effects have aged well and are quite good, as good as today's CGI stuff. But unlike today's sf movies, it's not the f/x that play the central role here but rather plot, character, and acting.
I can understand some of the comments about some of the movie's science, particularly in the way earth gravity suddenly appears inside buildings and the way people's cranial cavities literally expand like balloons when exposed to near zero pressure, but none of that is central. I'm pleased when I see real science in movies (maybe surprised would be a better term), but if I want science I can read a textbook. Anyway, this shortfall is more than made up for by having a doctor in the movie named Lazarus - over scientific accuracy I'll take a little humor. Or good dialogue, such as when O'Neil, having just chased a perp through half the installation, finally corners him in a kitchen, gets the drop on him, and leveling his shotgun at his desperate kitchen knife-wielding opponent says to him, 'Think it over'.
Comparisons have been made to other movies like High Noon and sf classics like Alien and 2001. I'll leave 2001 go at least until I can figure out how that giant fetus got out there in outer space, but as to Alien, well, in my view Outland compares quite well despite Alien's iconic status. Alien conveys all the niceness of a vat of sulfuric acid. What a bunch of dismal characters inhabited that movie. Outland has a different feel to it and portrays more than a few positive human characteristics (the interaction between O'Neil and his wife is quite affecting although, or maybe because, it takes place via a video screen). And as to this being a 'remake' of High Noon set in outer space, well, it really isn't. In fact there's only one aspect of the plot that is similar (the first half of Outland is a whodunit), though the device of periodically showing a clock to countdown when the bad guys will arrive is of course an obvious imitation. Someone else said that this movie is actually a 'western', and that's true if you mean a movie with a real hero who stands virtually alone despite the odds on the side of right vs. wrong (though he does get a little help especially from one particular rather brave woman). Basically though, this is just a very good movie that makes good use of and occasionally even exceeds the limits of its genre. It's got plenty of action and suspense and not a single dead spot. It's worth seeing.
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