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Review: Outlander

It's the viewer who's in real danger
By TOM MEEK  |  January 20, 2009
2.0 2.0 Stars


VIDEO: The trailer for Outlander

One can only imagine writer/director Howard McCain on vacation at a Norwegian fjord and gazing up into the starry night and hatching this brilliant idea: Beowulf from Outer Space. Instead of a Geat from seas afar, Kainan (James Caviezel) is an astronaut from a distant planet who brings Grendel to the party.

The beast — a Moorwen, sort of a dragonized Predator — crash-lands with Kainan and begins to munch its way through a Viking village. Iron Age weapons have little impact, and Kainan doesn't have access to any of his high-tech gadgetry.

It's the viewer who's in real danger, however — from the stiff acting and the hoky FXs. Through it all, John Hurt as the king who clings to his pagan gods during the advent of Christianity manages to maintain his dignity. But McCain, who also penned this week's Underworld entry, has fits knitting the genres together, and Outlander comes off like a Sci-Fi Network offering minus the tongue-in-cheek cheese.

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