Sean Connery doesn't f*** around.
Even in space, he gets the job done.
In this Jupiter moon mining colony-set sci-fi flick, Connery plays a police marshal who shows up there and starts investigating a drug-smuggling conspiracy. The people there don't help him at all, leaving him on his own to sort everything out but tension mounts when he is marked for death and murders start occurring around him. Yes, Outland is essentially The French Connection... IN SPACE. Take a 70's cop movie, set it on Jupiter's moon, add Sean Connery and you've got yourself Outland.
The movie doesn't really need to be set in space or to be sci-fi at all but the fact that the people involved in the plot have literally nowhere to run does add tension and a sense of isolation to the proceedings. It's a slow-burning movie that demands for you to be immersed in that atmosphere, in that world. This isn't the typical slick, overtly futuristic science fiction movie you'd expect, it instead goes for a smoky, gritty, unpretentious look which works perfectly with the genres the film mixes together. Connery gives a very solid performance and really sells his character by conveying the right amount of strength, sadness and bottled anger. Peter Boyle pops up as one of Connery's biggest threats on the colony and their clashes are terrifically written and paced.
It's a serious movie with a serious tone but you still get the odd exploding head here and there, some nifty cop movie one-liners and a fun climax which won't exactly blow you away, admittedly, but it fits the film and works very well. Less patient viewers might give up on this one about halfway through seeing as it isn't really an action film but very much a 70's-paced cop flick that's more about tension, mood and character than spectacle. If you let yourself get immersed in the plot early on, you'll be hooked until the very end.
Overall, while Outland won't exactly change your life, it's still an underrated, really solid movie with a lot of cool moments, fine performances and a unique atmosphere. Stick with it and chances are you'll enjoy it.
Worth a watch.