Friday, May 2, 2008

It Came From Forgotten Filmography Friday 7

Space Truckers (dir. Stuart Gordon, 1996)
Goldcrest Films International
Synopsis: “The year is 2196 – John Canyon (Dennis Hopper) is a down-on-his-luck independent trucker trying to keep an honest living transporting loadd across the solar system in his rocket powered rig. In a last ditch effort to stay in business rather than being forced into teaming up with the ‘Corporation,’ Canyon joins forces with Mike Pucci (Stephen Dorff) to pull off a dangerous transport – contents unknown. At over five times the going rate, it’s an offer they can’t refuse. With the help from stowaway Cindy (Debbi Mazar), the trio sets out on an adventure they will never forget. To make the scheduled deadline, Canyon abandons the usual shipping lanes and heads for the scum cluster – a warzone of bandits, black rocks and rogue asteroids – where they eventually are hi-jacked by the Regalia, a private warship headed by Captain Macanudo (Charles Dance.) It is here the secret of the mystery is revealed and the battle for the universe begins!”

This here is Rubber Duck, we got ourselves a convoy.

I did a couple of bad direct-to-DVD horror movies and action films involving giant insects lately, so I thought it would be in better taste to move towards something else. This is a movie about truckers. Truckers in space. I was drawn to the cast of B- lists, and Dennis “King Koopa” Hopper. This was in a special period of Hopper’s career right around Super Mario Bros and Water World where he was playing insane villains. This is also the time Stephen Dorff was making Blade, and Debbi Mazar was being friends with Madonna and playing the bad henchgirl to Drew Barrymore’s good one in Batman Forever.

Space Truckers is, regardless of it being what the film is about, an awful title.


The production design immediately seems like it was the stuff the Starship Troopers people thought was too weird looking. Shiny labcoats and the costumes look halfway between Troopers and Space Balls with a dash of The Fifth Element thrown in, and comparing this movie to two of my favorite sci-fi movies is not a compliment here (one of them isn’t Starship Troopers.)

Opening with a can of beer floating in the style of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is not making many friends with film elitists. This movie is immediately ridiculous. Is it a comedy? George Wendt is in it as a bad-tempered Corporate shill straw man.

Hopper’s character here is not so much insane and evil as he is just kind of off. He’s supposed to be a badass, but I don’t see it.

I keep feeling moments I should laugh (the square hogs, for example,) but am unsure if it’s intentional. Or a tooth floating in zero gravity.

John Canyon spends his free time beating up the same three or four guys and showing how anti-corporate he is. And George Went gets suctioned out into space.

They are, of course, too rebellious and anti-corporate to work for The Man, so they go to carry a mysterious cargo. This, of course, takes them to the (Hive of) Scum (and Villany) Cluster and navigating an asteroid field of vaguely mirror-like asteroids (NEVER tell him the odds.)

This movie tries to force the awkward romantic tension between Stephen Dorf and Debbi Mazar’s characters. Just another bit of extremely awkward forced tension in the Dorf-Mazar-Hopper triangle of awkwardness. They’re supposed to be married, Hopper and Mazar. I think? Hopper seems to take it way more serious than Mazar.

Corporations, bad. Independent unions, good.

The bad guy is like a cyborg nazi leather man. Which is worse than a corporate shill, slightly, I guess. This led to the incredibly bizarre “dick chopping” discussion.

“If you’re gonna hack off my dick, do it! I’ll change my name to Terry or Lee or something neutral. That ain’t gonna change what I know.”

This movie is so bizarre and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to laugh. Sometimes I am, and sometimes…

The ending is more than kinda stupid, and I’m still not sure if this is a comedy or not. I’d probably skip this one were I in your position. C-/D+.

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