Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983)

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?