The budget of "Space Mutiny" was so tiny that the exterior footage of spaceships and space battles is entirely made up of stock footage from "Battlestar Galactica." Not only was this footage years behind, technologically speaking, but it's trippy for fans of the TV show, who will recognize the familiar look of the spacecraft and the cheesy style of battles, which were rip-offs of Star Wars effects anyway.
The interiors were filmed in the basement of a gambling resort in South Africa, which makes me wonder if they had had a special effects budget at one time but lost it to the house.
The film was released in 1988, long after everyone else had gotten over the craze of Star Wars clones. It's about a bunch of guys that stand around in silver robes, look at computer monitors, and talk about fighting for the freedom of people that don't seem to exist. With rare exceptions, these folks are either graying, wise father figures (one looks like Santa Claus) or good looking women in high-cut combination tunic-thongs.
The badguys, true to the spirit of thoughtless escapism, are bad because they're supposed to be, not because they have any actual reason. Their leader is named Kalgan, which sounds more like a household cleanser than a megalomaniacal usurper. He conspires with a roomful of Bellerians -- alien ladies who never do anything but stand in a circle and pose and sway to the sound of eerie synthesizer sound effects. Kalgan, in the grand tradition of maniacal villains, stares and fumes so zealously that his skin is stretched taut by facial features aching to escape.
It starts with an inexplicable space battle that results in a malfunction of one of the goodguy's ships. As a safety measure, his ship's monitor indicates that it's going to eject the pilot. Given the choice between being stranded in deep space and enduring a spaceship that *might* explode, I'll take my chances with the latter. But the pilot beams to the space station, Star Trek-style, just in time.
Shortly afterward, the film stops ripping off Star Wars, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica just long enough to rip off James Bond. The badguys have a meeting about how they're going to be evil together, and of course there is one nervous, good-hearted little geek that expresses his reservations, with fatal consequences.
Enter our hero, Dave Ryder, a humongous pretty boy jock who couldn't possibly look less at home in his silvery wardrobe. While he talks things over with Santa Claus and gets unconvincingly upset, the Bellerians do some sinister slow-motion aerobics in the dark. This is ALL they ever do, which makes one wonder how they find time to perm their hair.
Later, this kid finds some random information that the badguys need to intercept, so while he's on his way through a maze of ladders and catwalks that would do Freddy Krueger's dreamworld proud, the badguys surround him. Kalgan gives the kid an ultimatum: join him, or join the DEEP FREEZE. The kid says he'd prefer to jump to his death. Kalgan says, "Be my guest," and just as the kid is climbing over the railing, Kalgan PUSHES HIM OFF. It just goes to show how evil Kalgan is. A guy is minding his own business, just about to commit suicide, and WHAM, the evil of Kalgan takes another life.
The shot of the kid landing on the concrete below is hilariously unconvincing: he sort of lands gently and spits up blood at a moment when, at the time, only the lower half of his body had experienced any impact.
Meanwhile, Ryder visits the heroine, Lea Jansen (Lea! There's a great name for a heroine in a space opera!) as she's watering her plastic flower garden and way overreacts to something she says and storms off. But they meet again in a dance club, where she randomly decides to flirt with him as she's gyrating through the kookiest dance moves ever. The camera spends more time on her rear than her face. It's not the most subtle of scenes.
This leads to a hilarious Zamboni chase scene, as Kalgan flees the scene of a crime on a giant iron-shaped Zamboni, going all of one mile an hour. Rather than overtaking him by walking at a modestly brisk pace, Ryder and Jansen hop in their own Zamboni and drift after him. Blaster fire cranks up the...uh, suspense...or something.
Meanwhile, Santa Claus discusses "top classified secret" information with somebody. In the background is a woman, alive and well, that had been killed in the previous scene.
Ryder and Jansen stumble across a reincarnation of a spooky butler from a classic Universal horror film -- he even randomly asks them if they want a "spot of tea." They tell him they're looking for "the Enforcer's headquarters." He invites them in. Ryder wants to leave, but Jansen says, "Wait, this looks interesting." What looks interesting is a bunch of shrink-wrapped bodies hanging from the ceiling. Well, they're frozen, not shrink-wrapped, according to the butler, but how they remain frozen right out in the open, I don't know.
The laser fight in the metallic underbelly of the ship resumes. Pretty much EVERY badguy that gets shot follows the impact with a flying leap over a railing to untold depths.
Meanwhile, the Bellerians wave their see-through drapes around in perfect sync. One of them flagellates in front of Santa Claus.
Ryder delivers a wooden pep rally speech to the men, while Jansen is abducted by Kalgan's men. They hold her so calmly and perfunctorily that it's hard to believe her struggling is sincere. Kalgan uses her to get to her father, Santa Claus, who solemnly resolves that, heavy though is heart may be, maybe they should do something.
Kalgan straps Jansen to a chair and points a laser at her tooth and demands that she talk, on pain of dentistry. The laser, it turns out, sounds like a tooth drill, except that it doesn't actually do anything. Ryder rushes to her rescue (throwing a guy over a railing in the process, of course), disguising himself in the uniform of a guy he knocks out. The uniform fits perfectly, despite being previously on an substantially smaller guy.
As Kalgan and all but one guard race away after Ryder, Jansen seduces the remaining guard by slobbering on his lower jaw. I'm pretty sure even the most egotistical guy wouldn't fall for the suddenly ravenous beckoning of the woman he was physically torturing just moments ago. Sadly for us, the guy strips down to his underwear, and the camera even zooms in on his torso. He's shocked when Jansen double-crosses him.
Ryder appears just as she's subdued the guard, and he and she creep around the catwalks, looking for opportunities to throw guys off railings.
Meanwhile, the Bellerians continue their sensuous work-out.
Jansen is returned to her father, and Ryder goes back into the boiler room to creep around amongst the badguys. Eventually he finds himself surrounded on all sides, plus the top and bottom, and being shot at with lasers from upwards of fifteen feet. Nobody ever hits him. He, however, takes down the badguys like there's no tomorrow. Tons of guys fall over railings, including some that seem to have leapt over just for fun. At least one guy, shot in the back by one of the badguys, falls UP, onto a table.
Ryder covers his retreat by causing an explosion. Call me paranoid, but I'm not sure causing an explosion and a fire in the boiler room of a spaceship is the brightest idea. The badguys can't get around the fire, so they give up and go home.
Ryder and Jansen catch up with MacPhearson, who has holed himself up in a...room of some kind. They get him by causing a gas leak and shooting at it, which causes fire to ignite along a trench in the middle of the room. MacPhearson, who has hidden himself in the trench, stays there and dies, despite having plenty of time to escape before the flames reach him. This scene is intercut with shots of the Bellerians doing more sexy warm-up exercises.
We cut back to the Zamboni room. Kalgan has stolen one and tries to run our heroes over with it. Initially, the illusion of speed is improved, but that soon wears off, and we have an encore performance of the incredibly low-speed Zamboni chase. This time Kalgan and Ryder drive Zambonis next to each other and try to ram each other into walls. At no time does either one of them do what I would have done: reach out and punch the other guy.
The scene goes on with Kalgan insanely shouting things like, "Meddling fools!!!" Lea picks up a laser gun and, instead of shooting Kalgan from a safe place, feels compelled to do so while standing in the path of the Zambonis. She is saved only because the machines rebound off each other at the last moment, causing them to veer around on either side of her.
But Kalgan turns around and aims for her a second time, this time hitting her, but since the thing was really only moving at a leisurely walking speed, it doesn't kill her.
Ryder's Zamboni, meanwhile, is temporarily disabled. He hits it a few times, and it fires up again, and Ryder and Kalgan engage in a chicken match. As the Zamboni's crawl toward each other at presumably high speeds, the movie's funniest moment occurs. Ryder emits the craziest, most ludricrously intense scream of determination ever, then INSTANTLY becomes stoic and calm as he jumps out of his "speeding" Zamboni at the last minute. He rolls FOUR TIMES when he hits the ground, and a long time apparently isn't enough time for Kalgan to escape the inevitable small Zamboni collision, which results in a humongous explosion and his death.
Ryder and Jansen mash their faces together, and they live happily ever after.
The closing shot is a ridiculously long pan through the boiler room, accompanied by sinister music. Gosh, will the camera eventually find Kalgan still alive?
Rating: 4.5 turkeys.
Response From RinkWorks:
This review sucks. I don't know who this "Sam" guy is, but he's a big dumbhead!