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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy of Festive Films)

Director: Howard McCain
Cast: James Caviezel, John Hurt, Ron Perlman, Sophia Myles, Katie Bergin, Michael Fox, Katie Bergin, Amy Kerr, Cliff Saunders
RunTime: 1 hr 55 mins
Released By: Shaw & Festive Films
Rating: M18
Official Website: http://outlanderthemovie.wordpress.com/

Opening Day: 19 February 2009


During the reign of the Vikings, Kainan (Caviezel), a man from a far-off world, crash lands on Earth, bringing with him an alien predator known as the Moorwen. Though both man and monster are seeking revenge for violence committed against them, Kainan leads the alliance to kill the Moorwen by fusing his advanced technology with the Viking's Iron Age.

Movie Review:

Nothing beats learning how to swear in a new language that you pick up. At least that's how I would do it, and how James Caviezel as Kainan the Outlander had done it, with the help of science-fiction technology that pumps copious amounts of new data through the retina to the brain. Yes folks, Outlander is a sci-fi-viking action adventure movie, but unfortunately you see a number of *ahem* homage paid that it's hardly groundbreaking, with every other moment being a deja-vu from somewhere else.

Set in Norway in the year 709, Kainan crash lands on Earth after his ship apparently malfunctions thanks to really stone-age special effects, and finds himself the sole survivor/hunter of a beast he had on board. Alien, anyone? And to the Vikings who found him, some believe he's sent by the gods - seriously, that Jesus Christ role has stereotyped Jim Caviezel, such that every one-man heroic role can draw some parallels - and save them from the dastardly beast plaguing their village.

But not before Kainan had to gain some acceptance first by saving the skin of the ruler Rothgar (John Hurt, with makeup to resemble Gandalf the Grey). Kainan is like Beowulf, skilled and coming from afar, though now he has no reputation to begin with and had to win the hearts and minds of everyone the hard way, through a game of Shields (don't ask). I was half expecting Jim Caviezel do a Bale-Out impersonation, screaming at the villagers "What Don't You *beep* Understand?" when they mistake a grizzly bear for being their tormentor, despite his constant explanation that they're up against a more formidable enemy.

It's an extremely straight forward story that doesn't offer any fresh ideas, opting instead to coast along the tried and tested with its whack-fest battles amongst men and with a monster too big for all their sandals combined, then deciding to become a monster-hunt (under Alien3 labyrinth conditions) cum rescue mission. For Sophia Myles' Freya, it's a take on Mirando Otto's Eowyn (from The Lord of the Rings franchise - She cooks! She fights! She nurses!) but ultimately succumbing to being a damsel in distress, before some alpha-female self-actualization happening in order to win back some decent respect with some one-upmanship against the guys. Think extreme-sports, and some crticial contributions with a sword.

In fact, you're likely to be one step ahead of the story, which cannot decide if it wanted to just soley be a man versus monster flick, so that explains the man versus man angle for an excuse to wage yet another meaningless bloody battle against Hellboy's Golden Army (OK, so it's just Ron Perlman leading some armour clad vikings), leaving his one-liners for supporting characters to add a lot of cheese to.

Technically, it was quite appalling to see the state of special effects in the first few minutes, especially the first major battle between vikings and the alien creature Moorwan. It's a mix of Predator's laser-pointer (this one here's a lamp) and some really cheap looking CG which is befitting of a direct-to-video movie. Thankfully it got better as the movie wore on, particularly in spicing up the creature design. I must say it's one of the more interesting looking monsters in recent times, with glow in the dark capabiilities and colour changing abilities to cater to its current mood.

Alas its much touted combination of Science Fiction and Viking lore is something quite laughable. It's really two distinct stories and settings here, and for movies such as the Star Wars prequel having to showcase the possibilities with creating totally CG-worlds, this one looked like the futuristic characters were all standing in front of a matted painting.

Outlander, Pathfinder, 13th Warrior, seriously any viking movie coming out of the Hollywood mills need to go back to basics and come up with a better storyline. Surely the boundaries of an action-adventure can be pushed much father, but the Outlander fails in peeling itself away from mediocrity bounded by the lack of originality.

Movie Rating:

(Only for those earnestly anticipating Caviezel doing his Bale-impersonation battling an Alien-Gwoemul monster hybrid)

Review by Stefan Shih


. Alien Vs Predator 2 (2008)

. Beowulf (2007)

. Pathfinder (2007)

. Apocalypto (2006)

. Tristan & Isolde (2005)


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