A space salvage expert and his partner become involved with a group of criminals intent on hijacking a small asteroid made of sapphire and crashing it into the moon for later recovery. The only place that they can bring the asteroid down without drawing attention to themselves is a far side mining claim. But first they must dispose of the miner. Little known to them, however, is the fact that the miners sister has hired the same salvage team to help her locate her missing brother.
James Olson ... Capt. William H. Kemp
Catherine Schell ... Clementine Taplin (as Catherina von Schell)
Warren Mitchell ... J.J. Hubbard
Adrienne Corri ... Elizabeth Murphy
Ori Levy ... Korminski
Dudley Foster ... Whitsun
Bernard Bresslaw ... Harry
Neil McCallum ... Space Captain
Joby Blanshard ... Smith
Michael Ripper ... 1st Card Player
Robert Tayman ... 2nd Card Player
Sam Kydd ... Len, the bar man
Keith Bonnard ... Junior Customs Officer
Leo Britt ... Senior Customs Officer
Carol Cleveland ... Hostess
This is not actually that bad a film, if you take away the stupid bits and ignore some of the wooden acting. But I'm afraid it hasn't stood the test of time that well, thanks largely to the awful music and costumes on show here. If you can ignore those, the story isn't too bad.
It's always interesting in these types of movies to do the "Hey! Isn't that...!" thing when the actors appear. Here we have Warren Mitchell as the bad guy.....who went on to play Alf Garnett in "Til Death do Us PArt" in the same year as this film, and for many years after. Also here is Catherine Schell, of Space 1999 fame. Of course the main star here, James Olsen, is probably more familiar from his roles in The Andromeda Strain a couple of years later, or the Arnie vehicle, Commando, some time later. Also present is that stalwart of Carry On movies, Bernard Bresslaw.
Of course, this movie has its bad points. The least of which is the music. It's just so 60's its almost criminal. Add to that, the PVC clothes which we all will apparently wear in the future, along with the garish, often lop-sided wigs (which must have been re-used in UFO, methinks) and you have a film which will always be dated to the time it was made.
Other bad points include the acting. I won't go into the many instances but at one point big Bernie Bresslaw (who plays a heavy) has to look bored and almost asleep during the plot exposition by the bad guy's scientist. He does this so well that you think he really is bored of the film, not the scene he's in.
The science isn't too bad for a film of this era. No one wandering about on the lunar surface without a helmet, for instance, or other foolishness.
But unfortunately, the costumes, wigs and music will always make this movie a bit of a chuckle. I suspect this was something of an experiment by Hammer, to see if they could break out of the horror genre. I don't know how well it went down at the time, but I guess it wasn't that well, as I can't recall any other Hammer sci-fi projects.
Anyway, a dated piece, but worth a look if there's nothing better on (or you just want to laugh at 60's fashions).
1969 was a year for classic westerns, with such titles as True Grit, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, and The Wild Bunch. It was also the year of the first space western. Moon Zero Two is a bizarre offering from Hammer studios, who evidently wanted to try out something a little different to their traditional horror fare. The film starts well with a genuinely likable cartoon credits sequence (a la Pink Panther), but then the real business actually starts and it's a downhill affair from there onwards. Classic western this most definitely ain't!
Kemp (James Olson) and Karminski (Ori Levy) are a couple of space pilots who eke out an existence by collecting floating space junk and ferrying passengers aboard their battered old space shuttle Moon Zero Two. In between jobs, they while away their time at the bar in Moon City (it's 2021, you see, and the moon has been extensively colonised). A wealthy businessman, J.J. Hubbard (Warren Mitchell), approaches the Moon Zero Two pilots asking them to help him to intercept and divert a geologically valuable asteroid so that it will crash land on the dark side of the moon. But is there more to his request than meets the eye?
What's most dismaying about Moon Zero Two is that occasionally it displays some genuinely ingenious flashes of imagination but does nothing with them. Just look at the crazy drinks served at the bar; the high-speed train from settlement to settlement; the inter-planetary space shuttle service; and even some of the interestingly designed costumes. Yet the film refuses to pursue any of these fascinating ideas. Instead, it is perfectly happy to plod along with its painfully conventional (not to mention juvenile) plot and dialogue, and its dismally inadequate special effects. There's something ultimately infuriating about the way that every intriguing idea in this film is counter-balanced by an equally predictable or banal one. In the end, Moon Zero Two emerges as a poor-to-mediocre affair, but it could've been oh so much more.
Yes, it's credited to Hammer, who gave us all those wonderfully poor horror movies made on a budget of three shillings tuppence happenny back in the 1960s. It's not meant to be Star Wars, and it isn't. But for its time (and we have to kind about such films) it's actually technically very accurate (no sound in space, etc.) and if you can ignore the kitsch design and costumes, it's actually quite good fun. I can imagine that the Moon of Moon Zero Two was a realistic and plausible view of human colonies on the Moon as seen from 1969, and why it might be a lot like the wild west. Every plot element of the film is lifted from cheap westerns, but it's a favourite of mine, perhaps because I was a child when I first saw it.
Just remember, it's actually more intelligent than many of the brainless (and plotless) movies which people seem to accept today without question!