Director Howard McCain has assembled a remarkable cast for what is essentially a deeply silly slice of B-movie hokum: erstwhile godhead Caviezel seems a little lost, but Hurt and Ron Perlman – both of whom have had some experience with intergalactic carnivores in the past – look like they’re having a whale of a time. No dark-age cliché is left unexploited, from swords, sandals and excessive drinking to buxom wenches and strapping warriors with names like Freya and Wulfric (and even, with no detectable irony, Boromir).
It’s all wildly predictable, laughable stuff. But McCain directs with terrific energy, making the most of his mud-spattered nordic locations and competent CGI and managing to keep an overstretched narrative compelling. He also never allows the film to descend into obvious self-parody: there’s a broad seam of playful mockery running throughout, but never to the point that it undermines the narrative. Daft, obvious but hugely enjoyable, ‘Outlander’ is superior trash.