Outland [1981]

Outland is another in a long line of Westerns retooled for science fiction. Writer-director Peter Hyams (Capricorn One, 2010, Timecop) restages High Noon in outer space, with Sean Connery as O'Neil, the marshal for a settlement on one of Jupiter's moons. While investigating the deaths of some miners, O'Neil discovers that mine boss Peter Boyle has been giving his workers an amphetamine-like work-enhancing drug that keeps them productive for months--until they finally snap and go berserk. When Boyle sends killer henchmen to neutralize the lawman, O'Neil is unable to get the miners to back him up. Outland is no classic, but it offers solid suspense in an otherworldly atmosphere. Also starring Frances Sternhagen, James B. Sikking (Howard on television's Hill Street Blues), and John Ratzenberger (later to become famous as Cliff on the sitcom Cheers). --Jim Emerson

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