Outlander (2008)

220px-OutlanderposterEssentially an Army of Darkness remake that swaps Bruce Campbell‘s goofy time-traveller with Jim Caviezel’s earnest alien stranded in Viking-era Norway. Outhouse would have been a more appropriate title.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

This review was written  6 years too late

One should give time to filmmakers who at least try to do something different, especially in the crowded and cliched SF space.

Take something like Highlander (1986), which mashed up past and future (not to mention France and Scotland in its lead actors) and there was a film that at the time felt fresh, new and different.

So it can be done. Sadly, Outlander doesn’t do it. Jim Caviezel, a few years after taking a pasting as Jesus H himself, gets a tad biblical again as Kainan, a spaceman transporting the monster that killed his family only for his ship to crash and free the scary beast to kill and kill again.

Lucky for the beastie, it’s on the rampage in Norway a thousand or so years ago, meaning there are plenty of poor quality fortifications and stupid people for it to make hay with. With feuding villages blaming the attacks on each other (lots of macho posturing and long red hair) only Jim knows the answer, and after downloading the local lingo, he goes to sort things out.

This gives the plot equation: Jim + alien + king + princess who doesn’t like him + Norseman who loves princess and resents Jim. What happens next?

Take a wild fucking guess.

Outlander gets worse as it goes along. As predictable as cheap horror but with none of the knowingness or fun, we get the people who by choice separate from the pack and become beast bait. We get the “We killed it!” moment when villagers kill a bear that could never have massacred on the scale our monster does. We get the anachronisms – Vikings shouting, “Hold your fire!”. There’s an orphan kid, and John Hurt as the King, with the rest of the forgettable cast (excluding Sophia Myles who looks happy enough to pocket the cash for what she can clearly see is tosh) being abandoned extras from “Braveheart” or “Lord of the Rings”.

Caviezel is a likeable actor, indeed his turn in conspiracy TV series “Person of Interest” is nicely understated. Here, and like most of his big screen appearances, alas, he does not have the charisma to carry it off.

I’d rather buy the car.

Watch the trailer

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