Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone Reviews
There was a glut of low budget SF and fantasy movies made during the 80's and luckily 'Spacehunter' is one of the slightly better entries. Even though it doesn't have a particularly strong story and you are left feeling that a lot was either cut out or just never shot, it still is a fun movie to watch. The acting is competent and Michael Ironside is suitable over the top as the villain even though he gets very little screen time. The special effects are a bit hokey by today's standards, and were designed for then 'brand new' 3D technology. The gore is non-existent, but there is some good make-up effects to keep you going. As I have said before, the story is a bit slow at the beginning and is over just as you feel it is getting started, but is entertaining and feels a little more adult than some of it's competitors of the time. On a personal level, I find it quite silly when movies create their own languages, and this is no exception, but I am willing to forgive it, as this is one of those movies that I grew up with, and it brings back some very nice memories.
Peter Straus plays our title character and as you can tell from the long subtitle that he goes on an adventure into a Forbidden Zone. Well you see three beautiful women crash-land on an E type planet (E, as in Early-type.....oh jeez) that's full of road warrior type clans and cannibals. Strauss is an "adventurer" for hire so he is hired to rescue the girls before the evil ruler Overlord (Michael Ironside) has his way with the girls. So Spacehunter and his android roam the planet in their futuristic vehicle and with the help of an annoying young girl (Molly Ringwald), they try to beat his competition (Ernie Hudson) to rescue the captive girls. Along the way they run into all sorts of weird situations they have to escape from, including a water race of super women and some monstrous fat humanoids.
A majority of the film is standard space adventure material and fans of this type of science fiction have seen these type of films before, most likely better. My main beef with the picture is our lead hero. He's supposed to be a loner, anti-hero but Peter Strauss's performance and how he is written makes the character rather boring. He is just a very blah, uninteresting hero. Molly Ringwald's character is annoying as ever but is the way the character is written so she does an adequate job in her first major role.
For a film that was filmed in 3D, it actually surprisingly lacked the "comin' at you" shots of shit flying at the camera. It also doesn't have that dull, washed look that many 3D films at the time get when getting a home video release in flat 2D format, which is good. I'm sure people at the time were disappointed as it lacked all the 3D gimmickry of shit coming at the camera but it makes it transfer to the 2D format much nicer without all those shots. I did get a chuckle at the 3D title sequence when the name Spacehunter breaks trough a piece of steel jetting out into the camera. The part that made me chuckle is when the subtitle jets out, it's so small and long that it's almost unreadable. The subtitle is too long fellows and not mention pointless! Newer DVD and VHS releases even did away with the subtitle on the box artwork, showing how pointless it is. It's like they added it as if they were intending on making a sequel. Much like Metalstorm, a sequel never got made and I doubt anyone will be crying over that fact.
Spacehunter has enough cornball sequences to please fans of cheesy science fiction adventures, but everyone else will find it forgettable. I would have enjoyed it more if our anti-hero was more interesting. He's just a bore! Thank God all the wacky situations they get in introducing much more interesting side characters.