Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)
Three women makes an emergency landing on a planet plagued with a fatal disease, but are captured by dictator Overdog. Adventurer Wolff goes there to rescue them and meets Niki, the only earthling left from a medical expedition. Combining their talents, they try to rescue the women.
Peter Strauss ... Wolff
Molly Ringwald ... Niki
Ernie Hudson ... Washington
Andrea Marcovicci ... Chalmers
Michael Ironside ... Overdog
Beeson Carroll ... Grandman Patterson
Hrant Alianak ... Chemist
Deborah Pratt ... Meagan
Aleisa Shirley ... Reena
Cali Timmins ... Nova
Paul Boretski ... Jarrett
Patrick Rowe ... Duster
Reggie Bennett ... Barracuda Leader
Oh boy do I ever enjoy this movie. For some reason I\'ve managed to see it at least once a year since it was released and I never get sick of it and I really have no idea why. Mental disorder, perhaps. This movie redefines camp for post-apocalyptic scifi quest adventure 3-D crap. Peter Strauss and Molly Ringwald are both great in their stock roles--Strauss is refreshingly down-to-earth, so unlike the usual all-knowing megalomaniac space ranger with a girl in every port (his girl is a purchased robot companion, which says things about a guy); Ringwald\'s whine would give God a
headache, but she\'s got the right proportion of bravado and vulnerability to create a believable, occasionally endearing space orphan. I like the random nature of their search, designed to place them in situations where the production can use up a set or two that might have been intended for some other movie. Plenty of rubbery creatures abound. And the Thunderdome-esque stuff is actually pretty cool--I\'m reminded of Leela\'s test in that Doctor Who episode (something people who like Spacehunter are a plausible demographic to remember). All in all this is a happily-brainless-yet-somehow-lovable piece of space junk and I\'m crazy about it. Or just crazy.
Spacehunter is a film I saw as a child, which has remained at the back of my mind for years. Around the same time, I was watching things like Ghostbusters and Star Trek (The Wrath of Khan), and knew nothing about special effects, budgets or story lines. All I knew was that I liked these films. Having recently obtained a copy of Spacehunter, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it holds up, compared to other classics. Yes, a lot of it is hokey nonsense, but in a GOOD way.
Strauss makes a likable rogue, obviously straight from the Han Solo mold, and Molly Ringwald is her usual early eighties cutie. The special effects are fair for the time (though the title sequence leaves something to be desired), and the futuristic \'Mad Max\' style vehicles could easily be from a more recent movie.
Michael Ironside is almost unrecogniseable underneath prosthetics, but offers a great performance, hampered only by his lack of mobility in costume. I was especially surprised to recognise Ernie Hudson as a supporting character, playing Strauss\' ex-buddy.
In all, a great film with a few minor flaws. I\'m amazed this got no further than it did at the time. One of the few post-Star Wars movies that deserves a sequel (which i\'m tempted to have a bash at myself).
Back when I was 12, renting this movie was like popping in the end-all be-all of science fiction, especially since I didn\'t get to see it at the theater! The credits were funky, the heroic Elmer Bernstein score was sweeping, the dialogue was amusing and the plot was something every 12-year-old boy only wishes he could take part in. After all, what could be more fun than taking your android companion on a simple mission to retrieve 3 female survivors from a destroyed outer space pleasure cruise ship who land on a planet nobody is supposed to go anywhere near? I was game!
As Wolfe, the man motivated to rescue the three maidens for some big time \"megacredits\", Peter Strauss is fantastically watchable. I don\'t know what it is about him as an actor, but he does try to bring some sense and sensibility to a pretty generic role. Joining this little adventure is Niki, played by a very young Molly Ringwald. Sure, she\'s annoying and a pain-in-Wolfe\'s rear end, but who else could you see playing her from that time period? One of the cast members of \"The Facts Of Life\"? Also included in the cast is Andrea Marcovicci (too bad her part wasn\'t a bit longer), Ernie Hudson (who always manages to bring some intensity to his roles whether in a good or \"not so good\" film) and Michael Ironside as Overdog (the opposite of \"Underdog\"?), the baddie.
Yes, the film consists of a whole lotta cheese; the dialogue borders on laughable (especially by the dwellers on the planet), the special effects don\'t quite live up to expectations and the plot revolves around a bunch of set pieces that don\'t seem to make for a consistent story.
Still, you know what? This movie holds a very special place in my heart. Let\'s face it, folks, they don\'t make them like this anymore. There\'s no fart jokes, no nudity, no sex and very little language. What\'s more, Peter Strauss gets some very funny moments! Upon finally rescuing the three screaming women from Overdog, a frustrated Wolfe shouts at them \"Will you PLEASE shut up? I\'m trying to rescue you!\"
Haven\'t we all had a moment when we\'ve wanted to say this very same thing?
# The \"tape machines\" were on loan from Brainstorm (1983), which was being filmed on an adjacent set.
# While it was common for 3-D movies to also be released simultaneously in flat versions, the two versions of this movie were shown at different ratios. 3-D prints were projected at 2.35:1, while flat prints were only 1.85:1. Thus, the flat widescreen DVD version from Columbia TriStar is correctly presented at 1.85:1 and not 2.35:1, as erroneously listed on the DVD case.