"Starcrash 1979 film poster" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Starcrash_1979_film_poster.jpg#/media/File:Starcrash_1979_film_poster.jpg
There have been many stunning achievements in science fiction.
Starcrash is not one of them. That does not, however, keep it from being a cheesy, fun ride.
Our story opens with a spaceship hurtling through the starry void, pursued by ships of the Imperial Police. The occupants of the renegade ship are a smuggler named Stella Star and her sidekick, Akton. In the process of evading capture, the rogues come across evil a'brewing. The nefarious Count Zarth Arn. Apparently, his evilness is developing a superweapon that could threaten the entire galaxy. This find ends up leading the smugglers into the employ of the Emperor of the Galaxy (played by the inimitable Christopher Plummer). But their mission is not just to stop the Count, it is also to find the Emperor's son who has gone missing.
And the son is played by David Hasselhoff.
As you've likely deduced by now, this Italian production has more cheese in it than the entire state of Wisconsin. The special effects look like they were pounded out in somebody's garage and plot holes that nobody seemed to stop to think about (Horses on alien planets? A robot that claims to have no feeling and operates on logic says "I'm worried"?) It's played straighter than Barbarella while at the same time realizing its not as cerebral as Star Trek...and doesn't even try to be. While we're making comparisons, there are many many parallels here to Star Wars and with Starcrash debuting in 1978, that's not exactly a coincidence. Yes, one of the characters basically wields a ligthsaber, the antagonist's first name is "Zarth," but Starcrash does at least try to turn the trope on its head.
Our lead character is a woman...and a sexy one at that. Caroline Munro plays the hot Stella Star in a barely-there leather get-up (see pic below). While I would not exactly tout her as a model female character, she is at least strong, a good pilot, and seems pretty handy with a laser gun. She isn't waiting for anyone to save her. On the contrary, it is the Emperor's son, the last survivor of a clandestine op against Zarth Arn, who needs the finding and the rescue. Best of all, that son is played by the Hoff!
Look folks, it's a movie. Let us lift the brume of any pretense to art and just call it what it is: entertainment. It's at least 90 minutes of spaceships, laser blasts, robots, armored and helmeted bad guys, a giant brain-shaped supercomputer in a scene reminiscent of the Star Trek episode "Return of the Archons" (I think that's the one, anyway), lines like "Look! Amazons on horseback!", a guy with superpowers, alien beings, and hot women like Caroline Munro. It's trite and redundant space opera, but it never slows down for a second. It's kitsch. It's FUN. It's completely ridiculous but in the best way possible. And it's exactly what I need after a long week of work.
Check it out in its entirety on YouTube while you still can.
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