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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hidden sci-fi treasure, Connery leads from the front!
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...
Published on 26 May 2001

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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why you've never heard of this film
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...
Published on 29 Sep 2009 by Andy Slater


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hidden sci-fi treasure, Connery leads from the front!, 26 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Outland [DVD] [1981] (DVD)
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally...... presented in the way it deserves!, 14 Oct 2012
By 
IOWBOY - See all my reviews
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'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!

**** START OF SPOILERS*****

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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth it for Connery alone., 16 Feb 2007
By 
Ian Armer (Lancashire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Outland [DVD] [1981] (DVD)
*WARNING: SPOILERS!*

'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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No aliens, but still a good space film, 18 July 2009
By 
G. Rollo (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Outland [DVD] [1981] (DVD)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great entertainment, 4 Aug 2007
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Outland [DVD] [1981] (DVD)
As many previous reviewers have said this is a remake of High Noon the classic western from the 1950's. So if you know the plot to that film you'll know the plot to this. The excellent Sean Connery is a Marshall sent to Io, one of Jupiters moons, which has a mining colony. He realises that too many workers are dying in odd circumstances and decides to find out why.

The main reasons to watch this are Connery, and the superb Frances Sternhagen as a colony medical advisor. Both give compelling performances, which compensate for the sometimes average script.

In an era when numerous classic Sci-fi and Horror films were released (Alien, American Werewolf in London and Escape from New York to name a few) this film tends to be forgotten, maybe because it is less original but I think it still holds up really well.

OK these days the special effects are a bit ropey, but some of the sets are superb and overall this is fine film to get hold of at the right price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars classic sci-fi thriller, 23 Dec 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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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why you've never heard of this film, 29 Sep 2009
By 
Andy Slater (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Outland [DVD] [1981] (DVD)
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Connery's finest., 25 Aug 2005
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This review is from: Outland [DVD] [1981] (DVD)
You may think that 5 stars is a little excessive for a fairly low key, low budget early 80s sci fi movie. But 5 stars is what it deserves - because of Connery's performance. His acting is subdued and this brings a realism to the film that lifts it higher than the routine sci fi thriller - the quiet determination of Connery's character is pitched perfectly. The movie falls into two halves - the first follows Connery's investigations into the corporate conspiracy involving dangerous performance-enhancing drugs. A tremendously exciting scene sees him chasing the main drug dealer through the metal labyrinth of the Io mining station. The second half is a modern adaptation of High Noon - and it works brilliantly. Connery's growing isolation in the face of impossible odds is very well realised. His stoical determination to face his assassins is very engaging. The cat and mouse fight between the assassins and connery is tense and exciting. This DVD has been criticised for lack of visual quality but let me assure you that the digital transfer is as good as most pre-1985 movies. It is a great film that deserves more recognition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High Noon In Space, 10 Jun 2014
By 
Timelord007 (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Outland [DVD] [1981] (DVD)
Outland.
Written & Directed by Peter Hyams
Starring.
Sean Connery.
Peter Boyle.
Frances Sternhagen.
James B. Sikking.
Kika Markham.
Music by Jerry Goldsmith.
Distributed by Warner Bros..
Region 2.
Running time 109 minutes.
Budget $16,000,000 (estimated)
Box office $20,000,000 (U.S.)

Trivia.
1)Sean Connery lost a major extended cameo role in Chariots of Fire (1981) because this film went over schedule.
2)Both Nicholas Barnes and Marc Boyle were dubbed.
3)The script was originally intended to be set in a western period but Peter Hyams decided to move it into the outer space background due to the influence of Alien and Blade Runner.
4)Early appearance by actor Steven Berkoff.
5)Sean Connery & director Peter Hyams would work together on military thriller The Presidio (1988)..
6)Peter Hyams directors credits include, End of Days,The Relic, Sudden Death,Timecop, Narrow Margin, The Presidio, Running Scared, The Star Chamber & Capricorn One.

Plot Synopsis.
In the distant future police Marshall William T. O'Niel is stationed at a remote mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io & begins investigating a series of murders besides uncovering a drug-smuggling conspiracy & discovers the one thing all the deaths have in common is a lethal amphetamine-type drug, which allows the miners to work continuously for days at a time until they become "burned out" and expire.

O'Niel follows the trail of the dealers, which leads to a man named Mark Sheppard who is overseeing the colony as O'Niel gets no help from the populace of Jupiters Moon when he later finds himself marked for death by Sheppards lethal assassins who have been hired to kill him.

Timelord Thoughts.
This is a taunt tension filled thriller set in space that deviates from the usual aliens & monsters attacking humans, Instead writer/director Peter Hyams aims for realism & delivers a excellent suspenseful conspiracy thriller involving a drug smuggling operation on the mining colony on Jupiter's Moon.

Sean Connery delivers a superb performance as Marshall William T.O'Niel who uncovers the drug conspiracy & an unusual spate of suicides who eventually has to battle for survival in a cat & mouse chase pitted against hired killers around the colony while his wife & son leave him for earth as their tired of their lives on Jupiter.

Connery kicks ass in this film while giving a believable performance as O'Niel who is one of a few honest citizens on Jupiter's Moon, Writer/Director Peter Hyams keeps the story moving along at a cracking pace while delivering the usual bursts of action especially in the films final 20 minutes which are nailbittingly tense as O'Niel is stalked by assassins in a cat & mouse kill or be killed life or death scenario.

With great support from James.B Sikking as Sgt Montone, Peter Boyle as the corrupt Mark Sheppard who is behind the drug smuggling conspiracy & Francis Sternhagen as Doctor Lazarus who is O'Niels only ally against Sheppards lethal assassins.

Personally the film falters a little in it's final showdown between O'Niel & Sheppard as up until then I was expecting O'Niel to really kick Sheppards ass for trying to kill him yet instead we get just one punch from O'Niel but overall Hyams manages to tie up the story well as an investigation begins on the colonys illegal operations while O'Niel leaves Jupiter to be with his family on Earth.

This is a classic Sci-Fi thriller with a great performance by Sean Connery as on Jupiter's Moon he's the only law.

Timelord Rating.
8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cult classic, 8 Feb 2014
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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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