When he is late in delivering a consignment of square pigs to boss Keller, space trucker John Canyon gets into a fight and is forced to take the first available load and flee the space station with young trucker Mike and fiancé Cindy in tow. When they sustain damage from an asteroid, they are stranded and prepare to die slowly – only to be raided (and rescued) by pirates. However when the pirates try to unload the cargo they are met by resistance – resistance meant to defend the load of lethal bio-mechanical soldiers on their way to attack earth. The captain of the pirates (who also created the soldiers) plans to try and use them for his own ends.
As many, many other people will tell you, this film isn’t very good at all. In fact it quite rubbish at points but at other times you can see what it was trying to do and it is not so rubbish that you can’t sit and enjoy it in some ways. The plot is utter nonsense and relies on coincidences and other poor plot devices to keep things moving – however it does provide big dumb explosions if that is all you were after. Also it tries to be a sort of sci-fi spoof while also being a sci-fi at the same time. This is not totally successful as it is like having its cake and eating it, but it would have taken a better film to pull that off. Here it fails to do it and, although some of it is funny (the captain having mechanical trouble ‘down there’ is one) it generally misses the mark and its two aims cancel one another out. I think a big problem is that it all feels so very silly and trashy; and a lot of it is down to the costume and set design. Now, when the Oscars are given out for these disciplines I must admit I rarely pay attention, but this is a film that badly needed a better design team. The look of the ships is meant to be similar to trucks, OK, but the sets all look plastic and cheap – like a slight touch would have them falling too bits. Likewise the costumes etc all look like they have been knocked up by someone’s mother the night before they were due to hand in a school project.
The big robots look impressive even on a budget and I just wondered why the rest of the film just looked like cr*p.
Of course, blaming the sets for this film is unfair and most of the blame must go on the writers who totally failed to deliver a spoof sci-fi; instead their film has way too few laughs and is far too silly to be an effective sci-fi – they had two aims and missed them both. God only knows how it got the couple of stars it got – maybe they saw potential that is lost on me now but with little material to work with they really are stranded in a film that they must have known was going to stink the place out. Hopper and Dorff are a charismatic pair and they are fun to watch, but neither looks totally happy – in fact, if anything, they look resigned, not a mindset you really want in your cast! Mazar does her usual Noo Yark stuff reasonable well but the support cast swings from the badly miscast (Wendt) to the hammy (Dance) to the average (everyone else). Like I say, I can’t understand how it got these guys all involved but it certainly gave them nothing to do.
Overall this is a pretty poor film but it is not unrelenting rubbish. It has some moments where it is a little funny and some moments where the sci-fi action becomes passable in a ‘Friday night in’ sort of way but, outside of these odd moments it mostly misses the two targets it was aiming for – comedy and sci-fi. The cast look like they have given up and accepted the fact that their contracts are binding but they more than anyone must have looked round at their sets and costumes made of cheap plastic and realized that this was going to be a piece of junk that they just need to do and try to forget about. Maybe worth a look if you’re in a really undemanding mood but, aside from a few passable bits I doubt anyone will take much from this (other than ‘the p*ss’!).