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  Outlander
Year: 2008
Director: Howard McCain
Stars: Jim Caviezel, John Hurt, Sophia Myles, Jack Huston, Ron Perlman, Cliff Saunders, Patrick Stevenson, James Preston Rogers, Aidan Devine, Bailey Maughan, John Nelles, Scott Owen, Petra Prazak, Owen Pattison, Matt Cooke
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Historical, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Norway, 709AD. Kainan, a man from beyond the stars, crashlands on Earth and is quickly apprehended by the local Viking tribe. But he is not alone, also onboard his craft is the monstrous Moorwen. In order to defeat it he must convince his captors of its existence before they are slaughtered by the beast. But can he kill it with only Iron Age weapons at his disposal?

The entertaining Outlander pretty much delivers everything one would expect from a film about Vikings and aliens. You get an otherworldly hero initially captured and disbelieved then befriended and helped by the Norse locals, there's a feisty love interest, a big monster picking off villagers and plenty of action involving swords and axes. It's B-movie stuff but clearly made by people who are fans of genre cinema and everyone seems to be enjoying the ride.

There are some interesting elements that add a bit of depth, the brief presence of a Christian priest amongst the Vikings, and Jim Caviezel invests Kainan with a weary solemnity – helped by an interesting flashback that gives the character a more complex morally torn soul. Add to the mix reliable support in the shape of John Hurt and Ron Perlman and this Iron Age yarn is genuinely enjoyable moving deftly from male bonding sessions Viking style, to monster on the loose set pieces all inventively brought to the screen by director Howard McCain. As for this unearthly monster, Kainan describes it as a dragon to his disbelieving captors and there certainly is some truth to that. With a whiplash tail lit by its own luminosity its a convincing creation, its appearance slowly revealed to the audience throughout and augmented by an interesting sound design.

Outlander is reminiscent of many a genre movie but no less pleasurable for it. It does exactly what it says on the tin, with an engaging hero surrounded by likeable supporting characters and a monster that picks off its victims in gory ways until it's hunted down by the hero with his newfound allies. Blatantly and knowingly lifting elements from the likes of Predator, Highlander and Alien Outlander is a fun exuberant reworking of the epic poem Beowulf, adding a dash of Arthurian legend with a sci-fi twist. A highly recommended 'get what you pay for' movie and the best film about Vikings fighting an alien ever made.
Reviewer: Jason Cook

 

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