A space craft crashes onto planet Earth and lands in Norway in the time of the Vikings, 709 A.D. From the wreckage emerges a soldier from another world - Kainan - who hunts a bloodthirsty creature known as the Moorwen. Man and monster both seek revenge for violence committed against them. As the Moorwen ravages the Viking world killing everything in its path, Kainan forms an alliance with the primitive but fierce warriors. Whilst trying to hunt for the Moorwen, war brews among the Vikings which ends with both sides taking immense losses. As the enemy Vikings retreat into the forest, the Moorwen strikes leaving the Vikings no choice but to run for help from their once close enemies. Together the two sides attempt to destroy the Moorwen as a single band of Vikings. The village takes massive casualties including the Viking leader. The village in fear and its warriors demoralised, most of the Vikings leave the village in search of a new home and safety. Kainan and the remaining warriors stand together to destroy the Moorwen. Kainan combines his advanced technology with ancient Iron Age weapons and goes on to the final battle with the Moorwen. And so begins the spectacular battle between Vikings and alien.
It seems that Outlander is designed to be a mash-up right from the start. You should spot familiar elements from movies such as Planet of the Apes, The 13th Warrior and even Alien Vs Predator in it. Well this is not to say Outlander is a bad cheesy movie, cheesy yes but not as utterly bad as you thought.
The movie opens with a CG shot of a spaceship crashing into a river. A man in a spacesuit named Kainan (Jim Caviezel) emerges out of the wreckage with his dying partner speaking Icelandic. While not specifically state where on earth Kainan’s home, the year is now is 709A.D. and Kainan is now stranded in Norway where Vikings ruled the earth.
Which planet did Kainan originally originates or how did he ended up in the past (or is it the present)? Don’t expect much logic from the filmmakers as Kainan is captured by a Viking warrior and his merrymen shortly after. Joining King Rothgar (John Hurt) and his warriors, Kainan’s only aim is to destroy the evil alien monster, Moorwen which had earlier killed his wife and young son and is now wrecking havoc in the Viking village.
When the DVD cover proudly endorses that Outlander comes from the producer of Lord of the Rings, it’s not kidding you. Barrie Osborne who produced the trilogy and The Matrix is still in his 'middle-earth' mood, perhaps channeling his inner Gandalf energy to inspire the naming of the characters. Freya, the King Rothgar’s daughter is a carbon copy of Mirando Otto's Eowyn and Jack Huston’s Wulfric resemblances Karl Urban’s Eomer. The list goes on even the sets, costumes design are not spared. Fortunately, there are enough insane violence and action bits to entertain you once the creature starts its menace.
While the story or characters lack a distinct flavour to impress, the Patrick Tatopoulos (Underworld, Godzilla) designed creature score points with all its glow-in-the-dark capabilities and attack skills even though at times the CG lacks a sense of realism. And in the great tradition of AVP, the Moorwen even give birth to a younger Moorwen to build up the excitement.
One really sore point about Outlander is a sub-plot involving two sides of the Vikings at war with one another that are haphazardly wrapped up. If you thought by having the best person from above (Jim 'Jesus' Caviezel) joining hands with the best person from down below (Ron 'Hellboy' Perlman) in a fight against the alien monster then you are in for a rude shock.
To be fair, Director Howard McCain deserves credit for accomplishing a pretty remarkable job on a micro budget. Minus the fact that Outlander lacks any originality and questionable story points, it’s still hugely entertained for 115 minutes. Vikings Vs Monster alien. Nothing like a sci-fi action adventure to pop in your DVD player after a boring long working week.
The Code 3 DVD comes with a Photo Gallery. More opportunities for you to take a closer look at the monster alien, Moorwen.
I guess the movie is intentionally meant to be gritty and dirty thus don’t be too taken aback by the visual. The only available Dolby Digital 2.0 mix gets a good workup during the action sequences.
Review by Linus Tee