Have A Cold One



Sean Connery as Marshall William T. O'Neil
Peter Boyle as Sheppard
Frances Sternhagen as Doctor Lazarus
James B. Sikking as Sergeant Montone
Kika Markham as Carol O'Neil
Clarke Peters as Deputy Ballard

"I would like a report of all of these incidents that happened in the last six months. I'd like it really soon….or I might just kick your nasty ass all over this room. That's a Marshall joke." –Marshall O'Neil when Dr. Lazarus gives him a hard time.


I never saw this in the theater back in 1981…..I saw it HBO though, when my grandparents finally relented and got HBO. This was one of the first movies I saw on HBO to be honest.

Sean Connery stars as W.T. O'Neil, a Federal Marshall…IN SPACE. His new assignment is to take over law enforcement duties on the mining station located on Io, a moon of Jupiter. This is pretty much all explained in an opening crawl that tells you way more about Io and Jupiter than you want to know. The station, CON-AM 27 mines titanium and it's on its way to becoming the top money maker for the company that owns it.

O'Neil's wife, Carol isn't too crazy about this job. Apparently they've been moving from one rotten assignment in a crummy place to another for years. She even comments that their young son, Paulie, has never even been to Earth. (More on that below) Since this place is really the pits she's at the end of her rope.

But this mining colony is not only grungy, it's full of space drugs! A series of suicides makes O'Neil investigate the cause….and he finds out that the miners that have Darwin'd themselves were actually high on a synthetic drug that makes you go nutso after a while. The drug is being supplied to them by the mining bases General Manager, Sheppard. Apparently this drug "makes you work like a horse until it fries your brain". O'Neil's own deputy, Montone gets paid to look the other way and the rest of his men are either on the take or cowards. So with the help of the colonies chief medical officer, Doctor Lazarus, O'Neil becomes determined to bust Sheppard. Note that Lazarus is played by Frances Sternhagen. If you want someone to play a grumpy old lady in the 80s or 90s it was her.

O'Neil's actions ruin one drug shipment and getting under Sheppard's skin. They even banter about it, as O'Neil's case makes headway. (By banter I mean they make thinly veiled threats at each other) Why he thought telling Sheppard directly that he plans on bringing him down is a mystery, but hey, I'm not a cop, what do I know? Anyway, Sheppard contacts his business partners on the nearby space station and has them send a couple of hit men to whack the Marshall. It takes a week for the shuttle to come and go to the station, so O'Neil has a limited amount of time to find some help when the killers come for him.

…and he ain't gettin' it. His men as I said are too chicken to stand up to Sheppard and do their damned jobs. (Sheppard has Montone killed for even thinking about betraying him) and none of the miners wish to be deputized, either out of fear or apathy. The only person that offers to help is Dr. Lazarus. She was never in on the drug smuggling, she was just too complacent and misanthropic to notice it.

There were plenty of tense moments in the cat and mouse showdown between O'Neil and the hit men, this isn't one of those movies where the hero is invincible. Connery, as always, is great as O'Neil. Sternhagen's "mean old lady" doctor is pretty funny. She's such a snarky old bitch you have to like her. People may not even recognize Peter "Young Frankenstein" Boyle as Sheppard. This role is worlds apart than his last one before he passed on the sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond". Only those of us who watched "Hill Street Blues" in the 80s will recognize James B. Sikking as Montone. According to the credits, John Ratzenberger, Cliff from "Cheers", was in this movie somewhere too. I must have blinked and missed him.


1.) It might be just me, but if I had to work in a spacesuit because we're in a vacuum and my coworker starts going bonkers like he's on a bad trip, I'd be a little more concerned than these other space miners were.

2.) Geez, they sure smoke a lot in space. Check out the meet and greet scene at the beginning of the flick when O'Neil is introducing himself to the senior staff. There's so much smoke in that room I expected to see Joe Camel wandering around handing out freebies.
• It's hilarious to me that right after that scene Montone tells O'Neil "Nobody's here for their health and they certainly aren't her for the scenery." I'll say, you guys smoke like chimneys.

3.) When Carol leaves her "I'm taking Paulie and we're going back to Earth" message, I actually had to agree with what she was saying. When she says that Paulie has never even set foot on Earth or breathed real, fresh air I was like "Huh? That kid has be friggin' ten years old!" You're telling me that they've been moving from space station to space station for TEN years? Even if the Marshall didn't want to resign it never occurred to him to let his family go back to Earth while he finished this one year tour? He must be really needy or Carol can really rock a mattress.

4.) According to Doctor Lazarus in the last year there have been 52 deaths of people going bananas and dying. 52! She says the company always ships the bodies out on the next shuttle and then the bodies are jettisoned into space like a "burial at sea". Cripes, did none of the 52 dead guys have family or anything that wanted the body shipped home? Forget the fact that Sheppard must be an amazing criminal mastermind to cover up FIFTY TWO deaths like that, did not ONE of these schlubs have a will or anything that said "If I croak please have my remains sent to I. Pluggem Funeral Home at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Atlanta Georgia, EARTH"?.
• Maybe Sheppard's just lucky. He's certainly no mastermind. O'Neil easily figures out his drug pushing deal with Montone and watches him conduct business on the security cameras in the space-titty bar. You'd think he'd know that he could be observed there.

5.) You know what I love about these old school sci-fi movies? The computers. In 1981 the stuff you see here seemed like "Wow! That's high-tech!" You look at it now and think "HAHAHA! They don't even have color screens!"
• To be fair, put it in perspective…there was no internet back then…at least not one we could access. (Google DARPA). Communicators on Star Trek looked high tech even though your cell phone is way more versatile and powerful.
• Another indicator is Deputy Ballard…the African American dude. He's got a pretty good 80s afro. I'm a black man (yeah, surprise!) and I haven't seen an afro in over a decade now. I just think it's funny that hairstyles have changed so much you can date them.
Holy crap…when O'Neil taps into the communications of Sheppard I saw a SCSI (scuzzy) connector. I haven't seen one of them in years. It's like seeing a phone with an actual dial on it! (They added some lights to it so it looked like it was IN SPACE!)

6.) I guess only married guys will understand this, but when Carol contacts O'Neil practically begging him to just resign and go to Earth with her and Paulie he declines. Carol rightly guesses that there is something terribly wrong going on there and that O'Neil is in trouble even when he politely dismisses the idea. The ladies always know, huh, fellas? AMIRITE?
• Trust me, I've tried the whole "Nothing to see here, move along" with my wife…and we've been married 23 years now. She can read me like a book with 24 point type.

7.) In the future, humans will build outer space bases with connecting tunnels that can be easily disconnected from each other so anyone in them will die from explosive decompression.
• Also space station windows will be made of candy-glass.

8.) Ballard's death was inspired by Wile E. Coyote.


♦ For some reason the kid, Paulie, annoys the snot out of me. Is it because he just looks too darned old to speak the way he does? Perhaps….I can't put my finger on it, but I hate any scene with him in it. Luckily they are few and far between.

♦ Doesn't O' Neil have superiors he can report Sheppard to? He's a Federal Marshall. Even Raylan Givens had a boss….and he definitely did not back down from a gunfight. Hmmm…maybe O'Neil didn't, but that raises more questions. He must report to a higher authority on Earth…but according to dialogue it takes a year to make to the trip to or from Earth. Now, the space station…that we never see, but it's only a week away travel time from the mining base….must have some kind of Law Enforcement Organization. Can't he contact them for help?

♦ So the two hitmen couldn't just file out from the shuttle, go to their quarters or something and then assemble their weapons? As I said before Sheppard just by default has to know that O'Neil can see what's going on by the security cameras. If they had just moved along with the other passengers O'Neil would have no idea what they looked like.


Plenty of people explode like over filled balloons full of blood from Explosive Decompression in this flick.

In this movie, the future is really dingy and grimy.


Even this movie is over thirty years old, it holds up well. There's rarely a dull moment and it's thoroughly entertaining. If you're a Connery fan or you just want to sit back with a space action movie you won't be disappointed in Outland. Get the tap, guys, this flick gets a keg.


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