Review: ‘Spacehunter – Adventures in the Forbidden Zone’

Columbia's big-budget ($12-13 million) 3-D entry is a muddled science fiction tale set in the mid-21st century on planet Terra Eleven of a double-star sysem, an Earth colony reduced to Road Warrior-style rubble by wars and a plague.

Columbia’s big-budget ($12-13 million) 3-D entry is a muddled science fiction tale set in the mid-21st century on planet Terra Eleven of a double-star sysem, an Earth colony reduced to Road Warrior-style rubble by wars and a plague.

Weak story premise, lacking urgency of any sense of importance, has salvage ship pilot Wolff (Peter Strauss) and other ‘Earthers’ including orphaned waif Niki (Molly Ringwald) and Wolff’s former training school colleague, now sector chief Washington (Ernie Hudson), searching the planet for three shipwrecked, later kidnaped girls.

Episodic treatment pits them against many local dangers including a well-executed set of puffy monsters, en route to a showdown at the lair of local tyrant McNabb, known as Overdog (Michael Ironside, in skull-like makeup reminiscent of actor Reggie Nalder).

Technical highlights are the vast metal sculpture sets, plus impressive and well-matched miniatures and explosions. Director Lamont Johnson, who entered the picture midstream after original helmer Jean LaFleur [author of screen story with Stewart Harding] was bounced, handles the action scenes well but editing opposes viewer involvement, taking one out of each hectic action scene before its impact can be enjoyed.

Spacehunter - Adventures in the Forbidden Zone

Production

Columbia/Delphi. Director Lamont Johnson; Producer Don Carmody, John Dunning, Andre Link; Screenplay Edith Rey, David Preston, Dan Goldberg, Len Blum; Camera Frank Tidy; Editor Scott Conrad; Music Elmer Bernstein; Art Director Jackson DeGovia

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Peter Strauss Molly Ringwald Ernie Hudson Andrea Marcovicci Michael Ironside Beeson Carroll
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