Outlander is available on DVD.

     Vikings and space aliens seem like a odd combination for a movie, but that is what you get in Outlander directed by Howard McCain and staring James Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ). Outlander is like mixing Braveheart with Alien. While Outlander is not as good as either of those classics, it is still exciting to watch.

     Kainan (Caviezel) crash lands his space ship in the middle of a lake in what is nowaday’s Norway during the Iron Age (700 A.D.) McCain, who also helped write the story with Dirk Blackman (both wrote Underworld: Rise of the Lycans), leaves it up to the viewer to decide if Kainan comes from the future or a much, much more advanced society from somewhere else in the universe.

     After stumbling into a village that has been brutally destroyed by someone or something, Kainan is captured by a group of Vikings lead by Wulfric (Jack Huston). Wulfric is the next in line to be king of his village and he believes that Kainan is responsible for the destroyed village.

     Rothgar (John Hurt, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) is the current king and his daughter Freya (Sophia Myles, Underworld) is supposed to marry Wulfric, which she is not very happy about. 

     When Kainan tries to escape, he is interrupted when something attacks the village and leaves several Vikings decapitated and others missing. Kainan is caught again and tries to explain that it was a creature that must have snuck onto his ship called a Moorwen, a medium-sized dinosaur like monster that has a whiplike tail with razor sharp teeth and that glows red in the dark, that caused all the damage.  Of course, the Vikings don’t believe him and think it was a bear that caused all the trouble.

     For saving the lives of some of the villagers, Kainan is freed and he becomes part of the village. After the Moorwen attacks again and shows itself, the Vikings finally believe Kainan and they decide to work to together to kill this vicious beast.

     There are some puzzling elements to Outlander. When Kainan first arrives, he speaks Old Norse (old age Scandinavian). How’s that possible? Does he come from some sort of highly advanced Viking culture? This doesn’t make any sense. Then, he uses some kind of Star Trek gizmo that scans his eye and downloads into his brain all the information he needs to survive during this time period. What’s up with that? McCain uses flashbacks to give us background information about Kainan and his culture, but it doesn’t really help us understand. Does he come from the present or the future?

    David Hackl (production design), Ian Grieg (set decoration) and Debra Hanson (costume design) did a wonderful job of recreating an authentic-looking Viking society. The sets and wardrobe look like they were pulled right out of the Iron Age. Great Job! Cinematographer Pierre Gill captures the rolling, green hills and beautiful flowing rivers and falling waterfalls spectacularly. Gorgeous!

     While McCain and Blackman’s story may sound like something you’d find on the Sci-Fi channel on a Saturday night, it is actually intriguing. There are several good action scenes a la Braveheart to keep you excited as well as some good heart-pounding suspense when the Moorwen is on the hunt a la Alien. The special effects are not overdone.

      James Caviezel does well with the drama, but is lacking a little when it comes to the action. Sophia Myles has the spunk to be a Viking princess. Jack Huston is adequate, but far from excellent. John Hurt has no trouble with being royal. Ron Perlman (Hellboy), in a limited role as another Viking king named Gunnar, brings some much needed intensity to this film. Cliff Saunders (Open Range) adds some laughs as Boromir.

     Although Outlander seems eerily like Luke Skywalker meets Beowulf, don’t be too skeptical because otherwise you’ll miss out on a pretty good movie.