A fun sci-fi throwback to the old 30s and 40s serials
In the same vein as Jason of Star Command and Flesh Gordon, Starcrash is a
campy, fun throwback to the old serials of the 30s and 40s. It looks,
feels, and tastes like an old serial, minus the chapters. Yep, it is a
cheesey attempt to cash in on the great sci-fi craze of the late 70s,
by the likes of Logan's Run, Close Encounters, Space: 1999, and ESPECIALLY
Star Wars, of course. It is guilty as charged. That said, it is an
absoloute low-budget blast. For detractors, here's your first clue that
this film is not to be taken seriously: A robot with a long, southern
L the cowardly robot is a riot!
Starcrash shamelessly pilfers elements from Invaders from Mars (1953) (a
brief appearance by an alien judicial judge), Ray Harryhausen films (a
couple of model animated aliens & robots), and Star Wars (a lightsaber
duel), not to mention the old serials.
The whole thing never stops to catch its breath, and neither does the
viewer, overwhelmed by alternately cheesey and surprisingly good special
and generally porn-level acting and dialogue. One minute Stella and L are
battling Amazons, the next L is gunning it out with troglodytes, and the
next Akton is having a lightsaber duel with those model-animated robots.
There are psychadelic images and scenes, almost worthy of the equally
bizarre Barbarella. And along the way are allusions to classic sf
Edmond Hamilton, Murray Leinster, and Ray Bradbury.
For the b-movie or old time serial lover, or someone who doesn't mind some
campy lightweight space opera, Starcrash really can't be
Starcrash hits rock bottom.
"Starcrash" is simply one of the worst Star Wars rip-offs ever made (on
a par with the inconsequential "Turkish Star Wars"; see that one on
YouTube). And as Obi-wan Kenobi would say, it "can have a strong
influence on the weak mind." Where to start? Assuming this is NOT a
comedy, this putrid mess becomes just another entry in the footnote
history of Star Wars rip-offs (and there were a bunch of them, circa
1978; some were OK, most stunk). Caroline Munro is Stella Star (sounds
and looks like an adult film actress) who is essentially Han Solo as a
Baywatch-girl. Speaking of Baywatch (not something I relish doing) this
film also stars a young David Hasselhoff (queasy feeling sets in) as a
space prince (wearing as much mascara and hairspray as Munro). Marjoe
Gortner (of Earthquake fame; speaking of movie footnotes) plays Munro's
sidekick/navigator, a curly haired simpleton slathered in man-tan (like
Chewbacca reincarnated as Richard Simmons). Munro and Gortner are both
chased, imprisoned and paroled so that they can go on a feeble-minded
mission for the Galactic Emperor (no, not Ian MacDiarmid, but an
embarrassed holographic Christopher Plummer talk about phoning it in!).
That's really all the plot you need; for this film is really all about
cheap, disco-ball space effects (that look like something George Lucas
would've made with an 8mm movie camera back in the fourth grade) and a
mega-cheesy 'laser sword' fight that would've prompted a Lucasfilm
lawsuit if this movie even registered on the cultural radar.
"Starcrash" makes TV's "Buck Rogers" look like Fellini's "Romeo and
Juliet." Better to either ignore it, or (as I have) watch it as a
dim-witted parody of Star Wars (it's about as gut-punching-ly bad as
the Star Wars Holiday Special; but without the Star Wars cast for
credibility). Some stop-motion robot effects (right out of "Gumby") are
also on display (including an incompetent 'homage' to Ray Harryhausen's
classic Talos statue sequence in "Jason and the Argonauts"). Now, if
the story were worth half a damn, some of this could be forgiven; but
sadly, it is utter crap. Without Star Wars to steal from, this film
would pop and disappear like the hollow, dirty soap bubble that it is.
This one is the absolute nadir of the Star Wars' rip-offs; best watched
for uneasy laughs, and nothing else..