Saturday, April 21, 2012

Outlander (2008)

It's harder to make a B-Movie than it looks. Sure, you can throw together humor, a cool premise, blood, boobs, etc.-in your movie, but it's all about building upon that promise. If you can't deliver what the audience wants, then your B-Movie has failed. Well folks, "Outlander" is a B-Movie that get's it right for the most part.

Kainan (Jim Caviezel) is a man from a far away planet who has crashed onto Earth in Norway, circa 709 AD. He is taken in by a viking village ruled by Hrothgar (John Hurt), who are currently at war with Gunnar (Ron Perlman.) However, the biggest threat is two creatures known as Moorwen, who seem to have crashed landed with Kainan, and are somehow connected to him. Now, with the help of Freya (Sophie Myles) and Wulfric (John Huston), he must destroy these monsters before it's too late.

While most directors would have played the whole thing for laughs, "Outlander" largely plays it straight, with an a occasionally amusing moment here and there. That thankfully works in the movies favor, as winking at the audience and going "ain't this silly?" would have ruined it a little. This is a movie that does what it can with said premise, and largely delivers, with blood, bad-ass action scenes, vikings and cool actors like Hurt and Perlman making for a good time. It also moves at a reasonable clip, with little if any time dedicated to unnecessary exposition, and the performances (save for Caviezel, whose kind of dull as the lead) are largely pretty great. In short, it's the movie "Pathfinder" should have been.

There's even some interesting thematic material revolving around Kainan and the Moorwen. As it turns out, Kainan's people viewed them as simple beasts, and slaughtered them without pity-only to see his family killed by the creatures in retaliation. Here, it could be looked upon as either a commentary on the war on terror or the affects of colonial imperialism, and while I can't say that's the case for sure, it's refreshing to see such food for thought in a movie like this.

In the end, "Outlander" is not a movie that will not be nominated for best picture, and that's just fine, as I'll take it over crap like "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" any day of the week. Besides, it's got Monsters, Vikings and Ron Perlman. If that doesn't yell quality, I don't know what does.

Rating: 7.5/10

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