Monday, 28 October 2013


Sometimes, all you need after a long day at work is a big, dumb, popcorn movie. Outlander didn’t perform particularly well at the box office, nor did it impress the film critics on initial release, but if this cheesy sci-fi monster mash up was ever going to find a home, surely DVD is the place to see it happen.

When Kainen (Jim Caviezel), the lone survivor of a far off planet, crashes on Earth in the Iron Age, he brings with him a creature of unimaginable horror. Or at least, that’s the general idea. The wobbly CGI doesn’t do the film justice at times, but hey, now he must join forces with the Viking locals (as you do), led by Rothgar (another great B-movie name played by John Hurt), and destroy the monstrous foe before all hell breaks loose.

Jim Caviezel plays the rugged, no-nonsense, futuristic soldier who crash lands on Earth in a time of war. He must first unite the warring Vikings and only then can they work together to destroy the bloodthirsty creature with a mix of advanced technology and Iron Age weaponry. Directed by Howard McCain and featuring performances from Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and John Hurt, Outlander can best be described as a guilty pleasure, but only just…

Let’s get the negative points out of the way first. The acting is hardly inspirational; Jim Caviezel just about convinces as an action hero from the future; John Hurt does John Hurt very well, but you would be a fool to go into a movie like this expecting Oscar winning performances. The storyline is certainly intriguing, it’s almost as though the writers made a list of things that would look cool in a movie and proceeded to join the dots.

The love story is a given of course, even if it isn't handled particularly well, but once again, who settles down on the sofa to watch a sci-fi monster movie expecting Shakespeare? The effects are stunning at times, but occasionally the film loses points for coming on like a cartoon. Having said that, who goes to a movie like this expecting realism? It’s a film about a giant ravenous monster stalking an illegal alien and his Viking pals from the past. I don’t recall that one ever playing a part in my history lessons at school, but then again, perhaps I would have paid more attention if it had.

For a movie with such overblown, unadulterated action potential, there are several moments in the film that drag. Which is a shame, but thankfully, things really do pick up in the final act, when the love story is put to one side and the monster carnage takes centre stage. It’s not a great film then, and I can fully understand why it under performed at the box office, but films like this are far more enjoyable in the comfort of your own home, with a few beers, low expectations, and a big-ass TV.

There are several entertaining action set pieces, the monster itself is kind of cool, and anyone looking for guilt free escapism on a Saturday night will probably get a kick out of Outlander’s inability to shake its B-movie origins. You will have seen worse films in your time, but then, we're big fans of cheesy monster sci-fi, so it’s hardly surprising that we found it to be an entertaining diversion. Certainly not a classic, but worthy of a watch if there’s nothing else on.

Outlander may have crash landed at the local multiplex, but on DVD it finds its feet and feels at home. AW

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