Running time: 92 minutes approx
Stella Starr - Caroline Munro
Akton - Marjoe Gortner
Simon - David Hasselhoff
The Emperor - Rihanna
Count Zarth Arn - Joe Spinell
Directed by Lewis Coates
Written by Lewis Coates, Nat Wachsberger & RA Dillon
Stella Starr is the greatest pilot in the galaxy and Akton her faithful navigator, so who else would the Emperor turn to when a warship is attacked and destroyed by red monsters created by the evil Count Darth Arn? Accompanied by a taciturn police officer and talkative robot they set out on a fantastic adventure.
Or so the makers of STARCRASH would have us believe. In the wake of the release and world domination of STAR WARS, everyone scrambled to jump on the bandwagon. STARCRASH got in there very early, hoping to cash in the space opera hungry young audience.The fact that you've probably not heard of it should tell you all that you need to know about who successful it was.
It's not simply that STARCRASH fails on every single level, it's that the film finds whole new levels at which to fail. Caroline Munro may be a pneumatic presence in a series of almost-there clothing (hard labour in the future apparently consists of dropping oversized illuminated ping pong balls off a stretcher into a hole whilst wearing a bikini), but this leading performance throws her lack of acting ability into stark relief. Not that anyone fares much better. Marjoe Gortner is a human smile with a need to explain the plot and Hasselhoff does little more than wear his eyeliner well. Christopher Plummer (yes, that Christopher Plummer) at least has the honesty to look embarrassed throughout. Joe Spinell, on the other hand camps it up to Christmas and beyond and wouldn't have passed casting for an am-dram pantomime villain.
The cast, though, are kind of thrown under the bus by a script that isn't fit for toilet. A typical exchange is Simon exclaming 'Oh, Stella', to which she replies 'Oh, Simon', to which he ripostes 'Oh, Simon' and she rounds things off with 'Oh, Simon'. The script is in service of a plot that would be honoured to be called threadbare. A missing shuttle leads to a hop from planet to planet, encountering Amazons on horseback, cavemen and, er, cold weather. All whilst wearing a bikini. And Stella is supposed to be a master crook and space captain and yet she doesn't seem to do anything other than get into situations where one of the men, or robots with male voices, can save her. The height of feminism, this is not. The plot uses the 'not really dead' trick no less than three times and never stops to wonder whether anything that is happening is even remotely justifiable in narrative terms.
Then there are the visual effects, the kind that are often called special effects, but that term cannot be used here. Trying to ape the awe-inducing opening scene of STAR WARS, STARCRASH opens with a fly by of a giant spaceship that never looks like anything more than a bunch of airfix kits thrown together. This is then shot in close up so that you can see just how much like a bunch of thrown-together Airfix it looks. This horribly cheap aesthetic is then extended to all the other spaceships, none of which have any character at all, despite one being designed to look like a giant fist. Possibly worse than that is when the film steals the Talos sequence from JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS almost down to the shot, but with the worst stop motion you are likely to encounter is a professional production. There are also some stop motion robots that Akron gets to fight with bargain basement light sabre.
It does have a John Barry score, however, which is far more than it deserves.
This is one of those films that your memory tells you was so bad that it was good, but your memory is lying to you. This is not so bad that it is good, it is just bad. Very bad.