The bulk of Outland plays out as a chase between the law and the unjust. In the film, the Sheriff character has to use his surroundings in order to defeat his enemies, which is a common aspect of Westerns. He is creative and even shoots the glass of a greenhouse to kill somebody pursuing him.
Furthermore, Outland's setting is eerily similar to a common Western's setting. Outland's setting is on the frontier- or rather the space frontier. It is a mining town in space. The entire town, including the mayor as the kingpin, is corrupt. It is only the single new Sheriff that has a sense of justice and takes action against what is going on. The entire action is isolated and is on the outside of civilization. The area surrounding the town is the Wild. Since it is Sci-Fi, they take it to even more of an extreme. The outside will kill you without proper preparations and precautions.
This film keeps with traditional Sci-Fi conventions in the way that it deals with technology and progress, though. The film shows the corruption and human decay that is capable with the discoveries of new technologies to supposedly improve quality of life. The entire reason things start to decay in the population is the introduction of a new completely synthetic drug. This is a physical manifestation of what horrors and decay technological progress is capable of bringing out.
All of the elements blend together to build suspense- particularly the location. There is nowhere for him to really run away to. He cannot escape the threat. It is a kill or be killed situation. He is trapped within his town.