There are some movies that are bad ideas. There are movies that are badly acted. There are some movies that are just simply bad all round. This movie is a new level of awfulness however and is probably the After Earth of the 1980s. Now before I continue let me just clear this up; I am concentrating on the actual movie and not the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode it was featured on.
So let’s get on with it.
Firstly the plot. Yes there is a plot and I have to say for a minute it’s not that bad an idea. Simply put the people of Earth have abandoned their overpopulated planet in search of a new home that will take them generations to reach. Now, members of the ship’s complement have become frustrated with being condemned to having spend the rest of their lives trying to reach a planet they will never see in their lifetime and so they decide to advance things further by forcing the ship to land at a closer planet. I personally think there is a good story in there but this was not the movie to capitalize on it.
The plot is pointless. It really is. Firstly the narrative claims that the ship is traveling far from Earth to colonize a new world yet there are pirates and weird women with pyschic powers coming aboard. Did they leave generations ago too or is the ship really, really slow? Also “the peoples of Earth” only seem to include white people and no one else. There is one very obvious reason for this and that is the movie was made in South Africa during the 1980s at the height of the apartheid.
Ok so lousy storytelling is abundant in sci-fi. Maybe the special effects can save it? NOW…If you have never seen the MST3K episode or never heard of this movie before then here is the biggest shock. All the space footage is stock from the original Battlestar Galactica series. I’m not kidding. What’s worse is how it is used. Firstly the Vipers from the series are now transport ships of some kind that can act as fighters against pirate ships (which are of course Cylons) but the best scene is when they destroy the pirate ships with missiles. They used the footage of the Vipers being launched to serve as missiles which means it looks like they are launching Kamikaze pilots to destroy the Cylon Baseships…Oh I mean the pirate capital ships.
Now the actors. Well, in fairness some of them do try but others look like they have just come off the set of a Head and Shoulders commercial. A lot of them have porn star acting qualities but without the porn in this case. In fact the main actress, Cisse Cameron, is a softcore pornstar. Reb Brown was an actual Hollywood actor and has appeared in movies with Danny Glover and Willem Defoe but I have to be honest here; maybe he has no real talent or the director has no talent (or both) but he is just awful. It’s funny at first but after a while it starts to wear you down.
The most memorable scenes are memorable for all the wrong reasons. Everyone who sees this film thinks the chase scene on the little go-kart things is hilarious especially with the immense explosion they cause when they crash. Another famous scene is when a character gets killed only to appear in the very next scene as an extra. And there’s one scene that is so full of cheese that you feel like you put on 15 pounds watching it and that’s Cisse Cameron’s dance scene when she is trying to make up with Reb Brown’s character…..(shudder).
That pretty much sets the tone for this movie. You will laugh for the first half hour but the fun dies very quickly. It’s poorly made. Poorly acted. It’s not even so bad it’s good. Watching it without the MST3K commentary is a real endurance test that only the most sadistic movie viewer can endure. But it is because of the MST3K episode that it is so loved. The episode is hilarious and well worth a watch.
An interesting sidenote; Cisse Cameron and Reb Brown who met for the first time on this film actually fell in love and got married. And they are still together today. God bless them.
Thanks for reading…