Wednesday, November 4, 2015

In short: Space Truckers (1996)

John Canyon (Dennis Hopper) is one of the last independent interstellar freight haulers. Thanks to an unfortunate incident concerning a (space) truckload of genetically modified piggies and a guy getting sucked out of a space trucker diner window into the outer dark, Canyon has to haul ass from his latest stop quickly, having to take on a load meant for Earth that just stinks of trouble. Because it’s one of those weeks, he also finds himself teaming up with former Company (boo hiss) rookie trucker Mike Pucci (Stephen Dorff) and his own favourite (space) waitress, granddaughter-aged Cindy (Debi Mazar), the woman who has just promised to marry him if he gets her to Earth. There just might be a love triangle situation in the making here. Also, the mysterious load our heroes are carrying is a bunch of bio-mechanical warrior droids built to invade Earth for exactly the Corp Canyon hates so much. Should be an easy voyage, then.

To keep with the traditional intro sentence for every write-up of this silly SF comedy lark ever written: this is not the finest film Stuart Gordon ever directed. In fact, it’s pretty much a bunch of ideas that are not really funny enough to carry a whole film, connected by a series of random sight gags, a hilarious Western-style soundtrack, and actors like Dennis Hopper and Charles Dance seeming to have quite a bit of fun with the whole thing.

How much fun any given viewer will have with Space Truckers will probably depend on their patience with certain jokes just carried on for too long, their love for watching Dennis Hopper doing improbable things, and their willingness to trade in ninety minutes of their life time for a film that contains jokes about a cybernetic penis with a starter. At times, I found myself giggling merrily at the whole thing, appreciating the improbable yet fun production design; at other times, my eyes went to the clock and my thoughts to the age-old question if there’s an official rule that states comedies aren’t allowed to be plotted consistently or carry actual emotional weight beyond the jokes. In other words, Guardians of the Galaxy this is not, but it might be an okay way to while away one’s time. Or not. (Yup, I’m as decisive as the film’s plotting, here).

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