Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Shitty Movie Review - "Space Truckers"

Well, it's been a long time since my last shitty movie review. But to be honest, "Killdozer!" is a pretty tough act to follow, so I had to take a break. But now I'm back with more shitty movie reviews and hopefully you'll find something to your liking.

Space Truckers

"That was some of the best driving I've ever seen."
-Mike Pucci

With the passing of Dennis Hopper earlier this year, my friends and I wanted to do something to honor him—so we had a mini-movie marathon of some of his greatest films. "Space Truckers" is one such film. A classic staple of late night television unwatched, many have heard of "Space Truckers," some have seen parts of it, and fewer have sat through all 95 minutes of it.

It starts out promising enough, with an opening setup reminiscent of the rebels lining the hall of the Tantive IV right before the slew of stormtroopers busts in and starts ripping shit up. But instead of an army of stormtroopers, it's one incredibly cheesy looking robot that looks like the lovechild of the xenomorph from "Alien" and the predator's shoulder cannon from "Predator." It's pretty hard to take this sophisticated, state-of-the-art war machine seriously when it has a pincer for a left hand. Really, did the scientists not want it to be able to pick things up with its left hand? Is pinching the future's answer to this century's Brazilian jujitsu? Good thing it's a got a switch blade built into it's left arm. And if that's where the film starts ... you really shouldn't expect a whole lot in the way of serious cinema, but that's okay.

See, "Space Truckers" is one of those movies you'd swear came out in the mid 80s. It reminds me a lot of "Robot Jox" in terms of its aesthetics (read crappy special effects), and even that movie was released in 1990. But no, it's not from the 80s, it's not even from the early 90s. This movie was released in 1996. By comparison, "Jurassic Park" came out in 1993. Hell, "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" came out in 1977, and the special effects in that film blow "Space Truckers" away. But the lack of believable special effects is not really a detriment to the film, as it's more of a charm point. The effects are quaint by today's standards, even by yesterday's standards. This movie isn't trying to be a blockbuster special effects movie, and on that note it succeeds. For example, vector graphics are all over the HUDs in this movie. It makes me want to play that old PC tank game I had back in the day.

There are plenty of bright spots in the film. The gates and trucking lanes are pretty cool, and one can see the influence that "Space Truckers" had on "Cowboy Bebop," especially in Session 7's "Heavy Metal Queen." I also have to give a lot of credit to the set designers who really put a lot of work and effort into all the little background details, like the advertisements and the signage.

As for the characters, Dennis Hopper as John Canyon delivers as good a performance as a completely sober Hopper can, as a character who is neither a drug addict or an alcoholic. Debbie Mazar plays a space version amalgam of pretty much every other character she's played, and Stephen Dorff is Stephen Dorff, getting topless and showing off his body in the almost nude and sweaty second act. I was surprised to see Charles Dance of Numsy in "The Golden Child" fame in a fairly comic role as Nabel/Macanudo, the half-human, half robot scientist that created the abomination mentioned earlier. Most people who've seen part of the movie will remember that he looks like Hacker from "Centurions" and that he has a pull-start robo-penis with blinking blue LEDs (hey, it's just like my 'puter). Oh, and hey, there's Norm from "Cheers!"

If this still isn't enough to get you to watch the movie there's also this: square pigs.

Dennis Hopper left behind a legacy of films, and "Space Truckers" is right up there at the top, along with "Hoosiers," "Speed," and "Super Mario Brothers." As his character John Canyon puts it in the movie, "For a son of a bitch gimp racist murderer, he died okay." Indeed, indeed.

My shitty movie rating: 6.5 out of 10. It's worth watching, especially with group of friends, but unless you're a Dennis Hopper fan or Stephen Dorff fan, you may not want to watch it multiple times within the year. Maybe a once every one or two year dealy.

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