release year: 1979
genre: bad sci-fi
viewing setting: home VHS, 12/25/04
synopsis: The good galactic ruler recruits two smugglers to save the universe from the evil galactic tyrant.
impressions: Given the above synopsis, a reader would never know that this is actually the worst rip-off of "Star Wars" ever filmed. No, really, I mean it. There are dozens of imitations, and this is the worst of them all. The plot is ridiculous, the dialogue is senseless, the special effects are cheap. The filmmakers tried...I'm sure they tried. The problem is, you can't make a space epic this way...unless, that is, you want to create one of the worst movies ever...a movie that deserves "Mystery Science Theater 3000" treatment...a movie that you might have to be drunk to enjoy. Well, this is that movie.
things to watch for: Oh, lord, where can I start? A guy who develops new superpowers every time the plot requires it? A robot who saves a woman from freezing to death by freezing her? Missiles that crash through the plate-glass windows of a spaceship - with no loss of air or pressure - and then open up to emit troops? A battleship that can stop time? The list just goes on and on in this movie.
something this movie has that no other movie has: I'll give you two: 1) an evil flagship shaped like a gigantic claw, and 2) a young David Hasslehoff fighting with a lightsaber.
acting: Bad. Caroline Munro (who hit her peak as an evil Bond girl only two years before in The Spy Who Loved Me) is easy on the eyes as the main smuggler. Marjoe Gortner plays the other smuggler, who also navigates, knows everything, and develops random powers as the movie progresses. Robert Tessier, who always plays leering bald evil henchmen, plays a leering bald evil henchman here. Joe Spinell is ridiculously over-the-top as the evil emperor or whatever. Christopher Plummer just sits around and smiles and looks utterly calm, providing the movie with the good emperor.
final word: Not even "so bad it's good" but rather just bad.
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