1988 | Color | 87min
Starring: Reb Brown, John Philip Law, James Ryan, Cameron Mitchell, and Cisse Cameron.
Directed By: David Winters
Every few years a film comes along which manages to redefine its genre. A film which skillfully blends outstanding writing, wonderful direction, tight editing, and stellar acting performances to form unforgettable cinematic experience. Films like Citizen Kane, Vertigo, and The Seven Samurai, to name a few. These films are the cream of the crop and have rightfully taken their place in cinema history as some of the best ever made.
Then there’s David Winter’s Space Mutiny. Space Mutiny has it all; bad acting, poor direction, meandering plot, laughable tinfoil costumes, atrocious (when not ripped from the old Battlestar Galactica series) special effects, and mind-boggling continuity errors. It fails at almost everything it tries, and does so quite exquisitely, I might add.
In fact, this film manages to fail on every conceivable level, save one. Space Mutiny just happens to be one of the most hilariously-entertaining movies ever committed to celluloid. From watching veteran actor Cameron Mitchell attempt to play the role of a wise, level-headed spaceship captain, while having what appears to be a large gopher pelt taped to his chin; to the not one, but two, floor-buffer chase scenes; to the odd pleasure one takes in seeing a 250lb Reb Brown scream like a little schoolgirl; there isn’t a single moment of this film that fails to entertain.
Space Mutiny’s plot is, like its special effects, mostly lifted from Battlestar Galactica. A large group of pioneers have left an overpopulated Earth to seek out a new home world. After spending several generations aboard their ship, The Southern Sun, some have grown restless. Now the leader of the Enforcers, Kalgan, with the help of the space pirates (Space pirates?!? Cool!), is organizing a mutiny to force the Southern Sun to land in pirate territory. Only one man, David Ryder, stands in their way.
Fortunately for the citizens of the Southern Sun, Mr. Ryder is a big hulk of a man. He does have a tendency to scream like a girl sometimes, but you get used to it. His nemesis, Kalgan, is a different story. He roams the Southern Sun in his tricked-out floor buffer, laughing maniacally and glaring at people. John Phillip Law plays him as a cross between Snidely Whiplash and John Trovolta in Battlefield Earth. I can just hear director David Winters going over to him and saying, “Good job, John, but do you think that you lean a little more towards Dick Dastardly in this take? And for God’s sake, would you please emote!!!”
Our hero’s love interest, Lea, is played by Cisse Cameron. While she does a decent enough job, her character is supposed to be in her early-twenties and she, well, obviously isn’t. She also features prominently in a scene which, as a direct result, has made it impossible for me to lay eyes on a hula hoop without being physically repulsed. I’d rather not talk about it, actually.
Also adding to the fun are the Bellerians; a group of scantily-clad, psychic aliens who apparently worship plasma balls, interpretive dance, and Stevie Nicks. They don’t seem to have any other purpose other than to take up screen time and provide a little sex appeal, though they weren’t really doing it for me. In my opinion most of them needed to stop wiggling around for five minutes and eat a damn sandwich. Maybe it’s just me.
Of course I would be remiss if I failed to mention Lt. Lemont. This character isn’t all that important to the plot (None of the characters are, come to think of it), but she is remarkable in one respect. Her character happens to be the focal point of one of the most egregious continuity errors in film history. Early in the film, Lt. Lemont is murdered by Kalgan. However, moments later her character is seen in the background—not once, but twice—typing away at her console like nothing had ever happened to her.
You’re probably asking yourself by now, how could any movie have failed so completely at every aspect of film-making? Well, I have a theory. No movie can be this perfectly bad merely by accident. I submit to you that Space Mutiny was not meant to be taken seriously, instead it was an intentional comedy—a parody of sorts. If my theory is correct, this is not only a great movie, but one of the best-executed comedies of all time. An overlooked gem, if you will. So, to make up for this huge oversight by the critical community, I hereby retroactively name Space Mutiny to be the “Feel-good comedy of 1988!” Now go grab some friends, some beers, a copy of Space Mutiny and enjoy. In fact, you don’t really even need the friends or the beer. It’s that good.
Reviewed by Derek Miller
Posted April 6, 2008
Thrill as Dave Ryder saves the day while screaming like a little girl. I laugh like an idiot every time I watch this.
- Posted under: sci-fi