Plot: What’s it about?
Wolff (Peter Strauss) is a master pilot, skilled bounty hunter, and freelance mercenary, so his skills are often in demand. A distress call comes through from Terra Eleven, a planet smothered in disease and destruction. This is not the kind of place you even want to think about, with massive piles of rusted metal everywhere, as well as no real form of ruling body, aside from the menace that is Overdog (Michael Ironside). Wolff picks up the distress signal and agrees to rescue three gorgeous maidens trapped on the planet, but of course, things don’t go just as planned. Overdog manages to kidnap the trio of ladies and vanish, leaving Wolff in the middle of this scrapyard realm with no real idea of what to do next. But he soon runs into Niki (Molly Ringwald), a human who sent as part of a medical expedition to the plague-ridden landscape. The rest of her team perished, but she survived and now she has agreed to guide Wolff to Overdog’s headquarters. But even with their combined forces, can they somehow outdo the evil Overdog and his minions?
I’m always pleased to see new low profile sci/fi flicks released, so of course, I was overjoyed when Columbia issued Spacehunter. This is by no means a well known film or even a great one, but it is a fun movie, if you ask me. I mean we have Peter Strauss, Molly Ringwald, Michael Ironside, and Ernie Hudson in a low budget sci/fi adventure, with a definite 1980s texture. I love the production design here and while it does borrow from other movies, it looks cool and in the end, that’s what matters in Spacehunter. It never pretends to be a cinematic breakthrough, just a fun ride and wild adventure, with some terrific visuals. The premise is a decent one, with a bounty hunter that takes on a mechanical fiend, with tons of unique characters & situations tossed in, as we’d expect from a sci/fi epic like this one. Yes, sometimes the lack of funds is obvious, the dialogue is often corny, and there’s not much in terms of innovation, but for 80s sci/fi addicts, Spacehunter is a solid movie and offers a lot of good times. This disc from Columbia offers no supplements, but for those interested, the movie alone is more than reason to snatch this disc up.
Although her career has all but fizzled out these days, Molly Ringwald was a name player in the 1980s, to be sure. This film was made prior to her string of teen aimed hits and only her second feature, but she seems to have a hold on her character. This kind of movie had to be hard to work on for her, since it was an odd picture and all, but she handles herself well, especially under the circumstances. Of course, this kind of material doesn’t really allow the performer to shine, but Ringwald is more than solid and if you ask me, much better than the role demands. She proves to be a real asset in all respects here, a nice overall performance. Other films with Ringwald include Sixteen Candles, The Stand, Teaching Miss Tingle, Betsy’s Wedding, Fresh Horses, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, and The Pick-Up Artist. The cast also includes Peter Strauss (Nick of Time, The Jericho Mile), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, The Human Tornado), and Michael Ironside (The Next Karate Kid, V).
Video: How does it look?
Spacehunter is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition included on the disc’s flip side. I found the image to be solid, but as expected, there’s quite a bit of grain present here. At times, the grain is rather light and unobtrusive, but it sometimes gets a little thick, which is bad news indeed. But the image never dips below acceptable, so if you’re used to low budget 80s movies with grain, this one shouldn’t be any different. The colors and contrast remain stable, but are sometimes impacted by the grain, although never to an extreme extent. I’ve never seen Spacehunter look this clean and sharp, but even so, it has some real flaws and can’t measure up to the usual DVD standards.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc uses a discrete surround track, which means the front three channels and one rear channel are represented. The mix sounds good by my ears, with a nice amount of depth and presence, all things considered. It won’t match up against more modern efforts, but it has some surround presence, sometimes even solid power back there. The front channels hold most of the content and it all sounds good, with no real issues to mention here. The vocals remain clear and easy to understand also, so no dialogue is lost with this track. This disc also includes a French language option, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, and Thai, should you need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.