Director/Writer: Peter Hyams
Starring: Sean Connery, Frances Sternhagen, Peter Boyle, James Sikking. UK. 1h 52m.
After leaving the James Bond franchise Sean Connery was finding his footing in a range of different style of films and with his great acting abilities and physical fitness he was the perfect candidate for this futuristic “Space Western”.
Set on Jupiter’s moon Io, this British thriller, written and directed by Peter Hyams stars Sean Connery as a grouchy Federal Marshal William O’Neill who’s been assigned to a titanium mining outpost, conditions are difficult as gravity is 1/6 of earth and there is no breathable atmosphere, his wife departs almost as the film starts and he soon realises that he’s on his own and up against a corrupt system as miners start to forego psychotic episodes and either go crazy and commit suicide or try to kill each other, but as the surly officer digs deeper into this mystery the more isolated he becomes and soon the story whittles down to one man against a gang that’s protected by the corporation.
On Jupiter’s moon something deadly is happening.
It’s often compared to High Noon (1952) and rightly so, both movies deal with a lone lawman against a gang and strangely even though the film is set in the future and on a distant planet, Connery uses a shotgun in the big showdown. He does have one thoroughbred friend the hardcore Dr Lazarus (Frances Sternhagen) who is my spirit animal, god she’s brilliant in this film, witty and charismatic, and she pairs off with Connery like a genuine best friend and contributes one of the best lines of the film.
“I’m unpleasant, I’m not stupid, of course I’m sure, I can count!”
Looking like it’s set in the same universe as Alien (1979) corporation jumpsuits, baseball caps and sneakers all housed in a blocky metallic home (both designed and crafted by Martin Bower. But there is no alien threat here, the damage is self inflicted, basically this outland post has hell of a drug problem and the battle between good and evil is headed off by a feisty Sean who’s constantly coming up against the laid back easy talking Mark Sheppard (Peter Boyle) who deflects his anger with lots of meh.
Underlying western themes in this sci fi world include a floating jail and a saloon style bar with naked dancers under strobe lighting. There isn’t much depth to this intrepid story
R – Alien (1979), High Noon (1952)
L – Selected British Sci Fi films, Selected Sci Fi, Selected Westerns
5S – Sean Connery,
Vs – Outland Vs High Noon