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4.3 out of 5 stars
Outland [DVD] [1981] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2001
Criminally overlooked by the general sci-fi public. This is truly, a hidden treasure. A 21st century spin on the classic 'dodge city' style western where the new sheriff comes to town and is determined to run out the corrupt rulers of an off-world mining colony. Sean Connery very quickly finds himself alone against a huge corporate machine who will stoop to ruthless levels to protect their mining productivity. I won't spoil it by saying more, but if you like a good, well written screenplay, superb acting and a solid suspense, action/thriller - this will thrill you to bits!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2009
This film may not have been a box office hit like Star Wars & Alien, but is still worthy of a place in any Sci-Fi movie collection. No aliens in this as it deals with down to earth issues like greed, corruption, and crime. Sean Connery puts in a great performance while the film itself keeps the tension simmering all the way through to the end. My only criticism of the movie is that they chose Jupiters moon IO as the location of the mining colony which as any space expert will tell you would be impossible as IO is covered in active volcanoes. Still a good movie though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I discovered this forgotten gem through a movie magazine, and would definitely recommend it for fans of Sean Connery, understated Sci-fi, and claustrophobic thrillers. Connery plays a tough Space Marshall, who deserted by his wife and son becomes target of a bunch of ruthless drug-dealers, after he attempts to get to the bottom of some murderous shenanigans being conducted on the moonbase Io, where he has been recently stationed. Frances Sternhagen provides welcome support as the hard-bitten base doctor who becomes the Marshall O'Brien's only ally, and the action is sparse but suitably tense; Connery's laconic presence is what gives the film most of its impetus.
With a few pretty gruesome deaths, and some memorable scenes including Stephen Berkoff waving a gun around in a drug-induced frenzy, this is solid adult Sci-fi; light years away from the froth of Star Wars but produced at a time when the Sci-fi boom was at its zenith - and arguably one of Connery's most underrated films to date.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2012
This is a brilliant movie. Editing and pace through-out mean the film pulls you along and rarely gets stuck in its own naval-gazing. Connery is awesome and the support characters believable. Classic movie. The blu ray is better than the DVD but not by a million miles so don't expect crystal clear transfer, some scenes are better than others and by and large the result is pleasing... Obviously this movie does get ridiculed by some who state that decompression does not cause people to explode but of course they are assuming that the miners body chemistry is not altered due to an air-mix that is different to current space exploration.... Its never stated of course but the plot would clearly allow for that so the "know-it-alls" are not extirely correct to state their "facts" about future-based fiction.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 October 2012
'Outland' is one of my favourite science fiction films.

Throughout my teenage years I watched my VHS copy of it so many times I am surprised it didn't wear out!

I have owned it on DVD for several years now and although I have continued to watch it quite regularly I have never been particularly satisfied with the quality of the image though and longed for a remastered DVD release that would allow for the film to be seen as intended, unfortunately this never happened.

I was therefore over the moon (that's Earths moon, not Io!) when I heard that a Blu-ray release was scheduled for summer 2012; I was initially disappointed though when I discovered that the release was just American, but I then found out it was REGION FREE and so pre-ordered it straight away!

Before I get to a description of the disc and the quality I will give a synopsis of the plot, be warned if you have not seen the film you may not wish to read this next section!


The film is set in the future, about a hundred years from now, and it is set in the titanium ore mining outpost Con-Am 27 on Io, the innermost moon orbiting Jupiter.

Sean Connery portrays the character Federal Marshal William O'Niel, and at the start of the film he has just been assigned to a tour of duty at the aforementioned Con-Am 27.

The conditions on Io are extremely difficult, due to the lack of a breathable atmosphere and low gravity the miners have to carry out all their work in restrictive and uncomfortable spacesuits and the shifts required to complete all the necessary work are long and hard, to make up for this they are paid well as long as the targets are met.

The station manager is a man called Mark Sheppard (played by the wonderful Peter Boyle, looking VERY different from his appearances on 'Everybody Loves Raymond' Everybody Loves Raymond - Complete HBO Season 1-9 [DVD]), and from their first meeting he makes it very clear to Marshal O'Niel that productivity ruls at the station and any interference from him that may affect this will not be tolerated.

Shortly after O'Niel takes up post there are two 'suicides' in short succession, both men dying due to decompression.

The job of investigating these 'accidents' falls to O'Niel (with the assistance of the stations chief medical officer Dr. Lazarus (the great actress Frances Sternhagen, best known to most as the mother of postal worker Cliff Clavin in my all time favourite comedy 'Cheers' Cheers - The Complete Seasons Box Set [DVD] [1982] ).

Before O'Niel has time to take a breath there is yet another death; this time a worker (a young but instantly recognisable Steven Berkoff) is shot dead by the Deputy Marshall, Sergeant Montone (James B. Sikking), during an attempt to negotiate with him because he appears to have had some form of psychotic episode and has taken a prostitute hostage, threatening to kill her with a knife. The decision to kill the man was against O'Niel's orders, at the same time he was attempting to resolve the situation with less finality by calmly talking to him through the door of the room that the hostage situation was taking place.

Soon after Marshall O'Niel and Dr. Lazarus discover that the three deaths all have one thing in common, there are traces of an amphetamine-type drug in each of their bloodstreams, the advantage of the substance in question is that it gives the user massively increased reserves of strength and stamina, this being ideal for helping the miners who take it to work continuously for days at a time and thus easily complete their quotas to earn considerable financial incentives, however the downside is that a common side effect is that the user eventually 'burns out' and ultimately turns psychotic, as demonstrated graphically with the three recent deaths.

Marshall O'Niel suspects that the drug use is widespread across the station, and that this must account for the record breaking efficiency figures the station is achieving, his investigation eventually leads him to see that there is a huge drug distribution network being run by the station manager Sheppard; Marshall O'Niel also finds out that his deputy, Sergeant Montone, is fully aware of the conspiracy but has chosen to ignore matters for financial gain, and more importantly, for fear of reprisals.

Marshall O'Niel confronts Sheppard and makes it clear to him that he will not back down, regardless of the costs he may have to him; Sheppard inturn makes it clear to O'Niel that if he does not stop his investigation immediately he is a dead man.

The film has often been described as a modern interpretation of the classic western 'High Noon' High Noon: 60th Anniversay Edition [Blu-ray] [1952] [US Import], and it is from this point forward in the film that the two stories do bear an undeniable resemblance; this is certainly no bad thing as the aforementioned 'High Noon' is generally regarded as not only one of the finest examples of its genre, but also one of the best films in the history of cinema.

Station manager Sheppard requests a team of mercenaries be sent to kill Marshall O'Niel, they have to travel by shuttle from the nearby space station orbiting on the other side of Jupiter and this journey takes several hours to complete, the Marshall is fully aware of their impending arrival because he has hacked into the station managers communication channel (its good to know that even in the 22nd century reporters from 'The News of the World' can still find employment!).

The tension rises as the clock counts down to the arrival of the aforementioned shuttle, and knowing that the assassins are on their way the Marshall desperately asks for support from other station workers, alas nobody is willing to step up and stand with him, nobody accept Dr. Lazarus that is.

The group of hitmen finally arrive and then the Marshall takes them out one by one using various inventive ways to dispose of each of them.

When all are gone Marshall O'Niel finally confronts station manager Sheppard in front of a packed recreation bar, Sheppard is clearly stunned and realises the game is up, O'Niell then knocks him to the floor with a single punch before retiring from his post and returnig to Earth to be with his family.

******* END OF SPOILERS*********

The film is simply fantastic in so many ways, from the superbly atmospheric score by the one and only Jerry Goldsmith Outland to the brilliantly gritty and realistic set design.

The film feels futuristic, but it is a future far dirtier and harder than most films have managed to convey, and it is this sense of gritty realism that creates the wonderfully believable and immersive atmosphere that sets the film apart from most other science fiction efforts in my opinion.

The film has action, and plenty of it, but at the same time it is very much a slowburner and it requires a level of concentration to fully notice all the details and truly appreciate it, as I have previously mentioned I have seen this film many, many times, yet I never bore of it and still continue to see new things previously unnoticed, particularly so since I upgraded to this Blu-ray version!

So on to the Blu-ray itself, and I must say it really is a very impressive transfer indeed!

The difference between the DVD version and this Blu-ray release is to put it simply stunning; most definitely one of the biggest difference I have seen to date between a title across the two formats. Whereas the previous releases of the film have all been poor, regardless of the format, this new high definition transfer properly shows off all the hard work and the attention to detail that clearly went into the films production.

The poor picture quality of previous versions gave the film an almost 'low budget' feel and I can quite understand how this then may have a negative effect on a viewers opinion and thus lead them to disregard this title as nothing more than a cheap run of the mill offering, this is such a shame because the film is so much more than that.

The film is dark, not just in tone as previously mentioned, but also with respect to the lighting levels, the insides of a futuristic mining colony clearly not being the best place for bright colours and soft warm tones! The improved clarity that the high definition transfer brings now allows new levels of detail to be visible in the low light, it allows for the goings on to be much easier to follow without sacrificing the atmosphere that the makers were so clearly trying to create.

The audio has not been forgotten, with a new DTS-HD 5.1 Master track now available, this too is a vast improvement over the previous versions. The sounds within the station, the sounds of steps on the metal grating, the hiss of the steam, the sound of guns going off within such a confined space are now bought to life in a way like never before, making it completely evident as to why the films sound was actually nominated for an Oscar!; and let us not forget the aforementioned Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack, it is an extremely powerful and quite haunting score that perfectly captures the dark atmosphere and the impending doom, it sounds magnificent in this format and finally gets the treatment it deserves.

Whilst on the subject of audio the disc also offers English Dolby Digital, French Stereo and Spanish Stereo (with a choice of Castilian in Stereo or Latin in Mono); there are also subtitles provided in English, French and Spanish.

The features on the disc may initially appear somewhat lacking, the 'Making of....' featurette from the Region 1 DVD release would have been a nice addition, however what we get instead is the films trailer and more importantly a brand new commentary track for the film recorded by the director, Peter Hyams; this is a simply wonderful addition, infinitely better than the now very dated 'Making of.....' featurette, I have listened to parts of so far and Peter Hyams delivers a vast amount of fascinating information and I for one find this genuinely exciting.

On a side note I just want to say that Peter Hyams is a really fantastic director and he has been responsible for some great films, my personal favourites (along with this film!) are:

Capricorn One (1978) Capricorn One [Blu-ray]

2010 - The Year We Make Contact (1984) 2010 - The Year We Make Contact [Blu-ray] [1984][Region Free]

Running Scared (1986) Running Scared [DVD]

The Presidio (1988) The Presidio [DVD]

Narrow Margin (1990) Narrow Margin [DVD]

Timecop (1994) Timecop [Blu-ray] [1994][Region Free]


Overall I would say this is a simply fantastic Blu-ray, and as someone who has loved this film for most of their life (having bought it on VHS in my early teens), I simply cannot believe just how much better the film looks in high definition.

For me it is a genuine pleasure to see a film that means so much to me finally receive the treatment it deserves, nearly thirty years after its initial release.

If you have any interest whatsoever in science fiction films then this is an essential purchase, however just an appreciation for good film should also be enough to warrant your attention in my opinion; and even if you, like me, already own the film on DVD this new transfer to Blu-ray absolutely warrants the upgrade!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2014
I have been waiting for a clearer/cleaner version of this underated cult classic and this Blu-ray version does not disapoint. Okay so it's not a remastered version and some of the graininess from the original film exists and the upscaling does expose a couple of special effects to scrutiny in todays digital age. Don't expect any extras accept a very smudgy cinema trailer (which shows the difference between SD/HD and Peter Hyams commentary. However, it does not detract from the film itself. You can tell the Alien and Blade Runner influences in this film not suprising as it had the Alan Ladd jnr stamp of approval.Okay, so there are some plot holes and at a scientific level the installation could not have existed on Io due to Jupiter's radiation belt, the reduced gravity would have made the outside scenes behave differently etc. but this is science fiction from the eighties, so you are allowed to suspend some disbelief! The film itself runs along at fair old pace, it deals with the set pieces and tension well. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting Io in the company of Sean Connery. If you liked Outland first time round - you cannot go far wrong in adding this to your Blu-ray collection. One word for the company Marvelio who I used to supply the disc - fantastic. The disc took 10 days to arrive from USA , Marvelio kept me updated throughout. Brilliant. I had no problems playing this disc on a standard UK Blu-ray. Recommended.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 February 2007

'OUTland' (as it is spelt) is an interesting film: a take on High Noon and quite a few other Westerns but set in the future 'wild west' of Io - one of Jupiter's moons.

Sean Connery plays O'Niel, a marshall trying to prove his worth and claw back some self respect by taking on a drug ring operating in a mining colony. His family have abandoned him (understandably so, it has to be said) on Io and the big man has decided to start making a difference. On this level it really is about a man alone trying to prove his worth to nobody but himself. O'Niel is a loner - not by choice - but has one friend in the grumpy medical officer (brilliantly played without an ounce of pity by Frances Sternhagen). And when the drug ring hire killers to take O'Niel out, the marshall and the doctor team up to bring down the operating corruption of the mining colony.

The film is quite slow paced but looks and feels terrific. Sean Connery gives a brilliant performance - no twinkly eyed tricks and sleepwalking through the role here. Connery is a strong presence and the film is worth seeing for him alone.

Another plus is Jerry Goldsmith's score. It's a thrilling piece of scoring that sits well with the on-screen action without ever detracting from it. Along with some excellent production design, the film very nearly hits all the right notes.

Sadly, it falls to pieces in the climax where Connery - somehow - becomes the ultimate action hero and dispatches the assassins with ease (in earlier scenes, his character appears more natural and fallible in the fight sequences). And how many death's by exploding head can you have in a movie outside of Cronenberg's 'Scanners'?

Another annoyance is Peter Hyam's use of captions that seem to last an age (especially the tiresome opening crawl - it's really unnecessary) and at times you can look at 'OUTland' as a more violent template for '2010'.

Those expecting a fast, action-packed thrill ride might also be wearied of the rather languid pace the film. Personally, I think it works in favour of the film, also keeping in tone with the Western build up to the big showdown.

These minor gripes aside, 'OUTland' is well worth checking out. It holds the tension throughout the film, is paying a clever homage to the Western and contains one of Sean Connery's strongest performances.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2003
What can you say about this film? It has shoot outs, it has a completely over the top performance from Steven Berkoff. But for me the central character, O'Neil played by Sean Connery, is really well played.
O'Neil is called in as the new marshall on a mining facility. Unbeknown to O'Neil the only problem is that the miners are taking are taking a drug that increases their performance but also has really bad side effects. There's one scene where one of the miners hallucinates and appears to be seeing spiders. Really intense stuff.
Meanwhile O'Neil's wife takes off because she's had enough of being stuck in back of beyond places. Then there's the bounty hunters after O'Neil because the drug dealers who are effectively running the facility want O'Neil dead. Poor guy, doesn't anyone cut him a break?
However one of the best scenes of the whole film is where O'Neil walks into the bar where the Manager of the facility is enjoying a drink or two and O'Neil knock's him out.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2009
Other reviews here describe this film as deserving of greater recognition so I though it might be worth explaining why you're likely to watch it and think "that was okay" rather than "wow!". I think there are two reason:

The first is that there are problems with with plot. It's a reworking of the western "High Noon" but whereas it make some sense that the marshal in High Noon doesn't just call for backup I did wonder why Connery's character didn't do that? Sure, the locals were all corrupt but a call to Earth would have resulted in there being more than one cat amongst the pigeons. He also made very little preparation for the arrival of the bad guys and even sits watching them on a video link while they disembarked the shuttle, assemble their weapons, and set about looking for him. Fortunately luck is on his side especially when it turns out that the bad guys can't shoot straight. The shame of this is that with a few tweaks it could have been much more sensible and with a more satisfying outcome.

The second issue is that the environment in which all of this takes place looks very much like the Nostromo from Alien. As I scan across the other sci-fi on my shelf I can identify similar plot issues in most of them but they all have their own unique sci-fi eye-candy. Outland doesn't because it's borrowed so heavily from Alien and I think that this is probably the main reason you haven't heard of it. Borrowed plot. Borrowed aesthetics. There's nothing new here to get excited about.

Outland is a worthwhile addition to any sci-fi collection but I don't anticipate that there are any sci-fi fans out there who would include this in there top 10. Not because there's anything really wrong with this movie, but because there are better movies to choose from.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2010
Outland is an excellent film with Sean Connery playing the starring role as a Marshall on a remote mining outpost, where the miners use a drug to enhance their ability to work.

Arriving with a one year contract to complete, he is unaware that the hierachy are involved in smuggling the drug to the moon in order to boost profits. When workers start to die in mysterious circumstances including suicide, Connery starts to stick his nose where it's not wanted.

Frustrated with his meddling the contract manager of the mine, hires a three man hit squad to take care of the Marshall. What follows is a very well crafted, atmospheric space themed thriller that to this day remains one of my favourite films.

Outland is one of those underestimated gems that few people know about despite Sean Connery playing the leading role. If you like sci-fi, thrillers or Sean Connery, this ones for you!
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