Moon Marshals and Space Bureaucracy – Outland (1981)


Guess who just found a review draft from two months ago? This guy, who may or may not have been drunk or not drunk by the end of it, which might or might not explain why I forgot about it. Since I won’t be doing long-form reviews like this for the foreseeable future, it’s nice to be able to post one. I almost feel like it wrote itself and I just found it in my post log. Anyways, without further blah blah blah, my review of Outland.

Peter Hyams has directed some awesome stuff in the four decades he’s been making movies. Capricorn One, Stay Tuned, Timecop, Sudden Death, The Relic, and End of Days are a few of the standouts; A Sound of Thunder would also technically stand out, except it’s been ordered to sit in the corner until it’s told to show itself once again. Oddly enough, that brings me to Outland, which is a sci-fi thriller set in space and starring Sean Connery. Oh, you’re right, I had you at “sci-fi thriller set in space and starring Sean Connery,” but I’ll go ahead and pad my word count by talking more about this early ’80s gem.

Outland is the story of William O’Niel, the new Marshal presiding over a mining operation on Jupiter’s moon. As I said, he’s played by Sean Connery, so he doesn’t take shit from any man. That includes the General Manager of the facility, Sheppard (Peter Boyle), who’s running a drug trade on the side. To make a long story short, a new drug is compelling people to kill themselves, and Connery decides to put a stop to it. It’s time to dispense some justice…in spaaaaaaace!

Pictured: spaaaaaace!

Pictured: really grainy spaaaaaace!

There’s a side plot involving Connery’s wife and son, who leave him at the start of the movie, and I actually find it pretty hilarious. I’ll be the first to admit I might be reading too heavily into this, but I swear I see a little bit of the real Connery when it starts out. In his first scene, he threatens his kid if he doesn’t eat his breakfast; he tells his wife to “be good” while he’s at work; and to top it all off, he tells his wife that he understands how hard this new, shitty place is, but she’ll get used to it. You can imagine how sad both he and I were when his wife bolted.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say his character may slightly mirror him in real life, this is the kind of stuff I’m talking about:

It’s only okay if it’s warranted? Very chivalrous, indeed.

So, with his family conveniently out of the picture, it frees him to directly confront Sheppard about the lethal drugs he’s been importing and spreading throughout the colony. Apparently, it’s killed 52 people in the last two months, but nobody gives a shit. It’s one of those drugs that screws with your head so much that you can do fourteen hours-worth of work in six hours, etc. Obviously, the fact that those people kill themselves afterward should be a big, red flag to the guys foisting the drug on everyone, but whatever. Profit!

I have to wonder, though, if a turnover rate of almost two people per day is worth whatever profits they make from the drug, and on that note, why they’re so pissed with Connery for butting his head in where it doesn’t (but it does, really) belong. I mean, he’s not trying to stamp out the pot smoking or prostitution that goes on; he just wants to, you know, put a stop to the drug that makes people get inside airlocks without atmospheric suits on.

Needless to say, Connery wipes the floor with the company’s best men sent to kill him after he dumps an entire batch of the drug down the drain. By “best men,” I believe the company meant “mouth-breathing morons who will shoot through glass and get blown out into space.” I guess that’s a better alternative than merely missing Connery and hitting a wall, considering what he does with prisoners in his jail:


Yep, he suspends them in a zero-g room with no atmosphere and tells them sometimes people go mad like that at night.


…and thus ends Outland, a movie where Sean Connery trolls his wife and child until they run away, only for him to send out this last message before the credits roll.

Connery also gives this absolute gem of a quote, which he says to – of course – a woman:

“I would like a report of all these incidents that have happened during the past 6 months. I’d like it really soon, or I might just kick your nasty ass all over this room. That’s a Marshal joke.”

Marshal jokes are apparently pretty threatening in nature, but they also get the job done. Maybe I should become a moon marshal one day 189 years from now and see who I can make laugh.


About Sir Phobos

Male, 30-something, hates stupid things and likes non-stupid things
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8 Responses to Moon Marshals and Space Bureaucracy – Outland (1981)

  1. Great review, George. I loved the chemistry between Connery and Sternhagen. That quote you posted by Connery to the Doc was hilarious. And they way he delivered it was inspired. Everything else is kick ass. From the grainy FX to Boyle to the swinging bar doors and of course the great High Noon inspired showdown at the end. “It’s time to dispense some justice…in spaaaaaaace!” Epic, bro. Oh and stop forgetting about your drafts, you lush. Good job. Outland rocks.

    • Sir Phobos says:

      But the more drafts I forget about, the more content I can find for the first time all over again!

      Yep, him and the doc were awesome together. I also loved how people would do things obviously right in front of the security cameras and then wonder how Connery was able to know or do certain things. He’s the head of security. That includes security cameras.

  2. George, I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. Sort of High Noon in space with synthetic angel dust.

  3. I kind of like Outland, it’s one of the better High Noon remakes

  4. table9mutant says:

    Haha! Damn – Why did I just watch that interview? That’s just ruined SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy for me… 🙂

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