Monday, 31 August 2009

Movie Review - Outlander (2008)

Vikings versus an alien monster.

Still reading? Good for you, because you're in for a genre treat with Outlander, an action-horror that knows exactly what it wants to be and makes no apologies. James Caviezel plays Kainen, an alien warrior whose spaceship crashes in Iron Age Norway. Captured by a Viking tribe, he quickly realises that the atrocities visited upon local villages are the work of a Moorwen, a deadly creature from his homeworld. The monster stowed away on his ship and is now wreaking havoc, unopposed. It's up to Kainen to help these poorly equipped people hunt and kill a far superior foe. The Viking King (played by the always brilliant John Hurt) and his sword-wielding daughter (lovely Sophia Myles) recognise the outlander's worth, while other members of the tribe would rather blame him for the bloodshed. An uneasy alliance begins.

It's an old, old formula but the sci-fi bent gives this hero tale (Beowulf from outer space) plenty of juice. Caviezel plays it deadly serious, and the story's much stronger for it. Kainen and the Moorwen share a bitter history; this isn't a straightforward hero versus monster scenario. Apart from the well-done action scenes and special effects, Outlander has a solid script, a strong visual look (misty forests, caves, waterfalls etc) and four or five good actors. Add to this a fascinating creature and you have one of the better 'B' movies of recent years. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

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