Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. United Kingdom, 1981. The Ladd Company. Screenplay by Peter Hyams. Cinematography by Stephen Goldblatt. Produced by Richard Roth. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. Production Design by Philip Harrison. Costume Design by John Mollo. Film Editing by Stuart Baird. Academy Awards 1981.
Imagine High Noon set in outer space and you have the basic thrust of this very cool science-fiction film. Sean Connery plays a newly posted police commissioner on a mining planet who discovers that illegal drugs are being given to the workers to maximize their production. The drug they take ends up making the user paranoid and suicidal, prompting Connery to put in his very best effort to stop its importation onto the planet and wipe out the dealers for good. Trouble is, the greedy corporation that runs the mine is responsible for the drug’s main supply, and doesn’t take too kindly to his sabotaging profits. With no help except for his own wits and the advice of a sarcastic doctor (a lively Frances Sternhagen), Connery must prepare for the imminent arrival of assassins who have been hired to clear him out of the way. Terrific action plus rich production design that makes for a fascinating trip into the desolate reaches of the outer universe.