The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Space Mutiny (1988)

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I first saw this in college, when my uncle made me a bunch of VHS tapes of MST3K episodes he'd taped off the Sci-Fi (now SyFy) Channel. It was an instant hit among my friends, and it propelled Reb Brown into star status for us, along with greats like Miles O'Keeffe and Wings Hauser. At the time I had no idea what blogging was, let alone that I'd have a blog about DTV movies where I'd come across this again in this capacity, but here we are.

Space Mutiny takes place on board a vast space ship with an enormous basement and boiler room called The Southern Sun. A group of people, led by police chief John Phillip Law, want to mutiny and steer the ship into pirate territory so they can live on an actual planet, and they would've gotten away with it too, if space pilot David Ryder hadn't escaped death when his ship crashed into the Southern Sun's docking bay. But he did survive, and now it's curtains for the mutineers.

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It's funny how, after doing this blog for four years, and the larger knowledge base I have now as opposed to when I was in college in 2002, I'm not exactly more forgiving, but I see things now that I didn't see then that change my opinion. For instance, that this is an Action International Picture, meaning I know better the context that it was coming from. I know who Reb Brown is, and John Phillip Law and Cameron Mitchell. That being said, we're still talking about a bad movie that hits all the so bad it's good notes, from the floor buffing devices that pass for high-speed vehicles, to the dead girl who shows up two scenes later, to Red Brown's screaming and Cameron Mitchell looking like Santa Claus, all the way down to the major factory basement that passes for the inside of a space ship. It's no Deadly Prey in the A.I.P. context, but it's no slouch either.

As far as the MST3K episode goes, for the actual riffing on the film aspect, this is one of the best ever. The sketches, especially the stuff with Pearl Forrester in a Roman dungeon, left quite a bit to be desired, so if you have this on DVD or VHS, you might want to fast forward past those. Another thing to note, there are a few scenes that are cut that you'll see if you watch this sans Mike and the 'Bots, including an action sequence and a few parts that might make the story work better, but it's not really anything that diminished from the high quality of their complete dismantling. It's like a gold standard for you and your buddies to follow when you tackle it yourselves.

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This is the second John Phillip Law film we've done, the first being Alienator. I would say, after the absolute silliness of Reb Brown, Law was what made this film great. You could tell he was totally having fun with it, and I think he relished the opportunity to play a diabolical baddie in such a low-budget sci-fi flick. He past away in 2008 at the age of 70, but his last film was something he did with Lorenzo Lamas, among many others, called Chinaman's Chance, which was supposed to come out in 2008, but as of right now is still in limbo. Law's most known film is probably Barbarella.

Slab Bulkhead. Tank Concrete. Thick McRunfast. Lump Beefbroth. Reb Brown. Yes, we know him affectionately as Reb Brown, and when, in the opening credits the word "starring" pops up and Crow remarks "I doubt this film is 'starring' anyone", we know better. He's a star to us, right? While I freely admit that it was watching Space Mutiny on their episode that introduced me to the awesomeness that is Reb Brown, based on gems like Robowar and Strike Commando (which as of this writing I have yet to review), I would've come across him sooner or later. Here's to you Reb Brown, you're one of the good ones.

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Action International Pictures is that tier or two below Cannon and PM Entertainment, instead of B or C, it's like F or something. They both made their own in-house no-budget productions, like this bad boy, and they distributed similar films from abroad, like low-budget Italian flicks. So far this is only the third AIP flick we've done, the others being the aforementioned Deadly Prey, and the Wings Hauser great Mind, Body, and Soul. It's material we've only begun to mine, but rife with so much potential, I can't wait to do more.

Based on it's popularity through MST3K, you can actually rent this from Netflix. I believe it is for that reason as well that the MST3K version is no longer available from them. I don't know if that's a smart move, if that was the move that was made, because in my mind, MST3K only helps sell these schlockfests. Unless you're a die hard bad movie honk who loves him or herself some Reb Brown, I'd stick with the MST3K version, even if it becomes harder to find. Also of note, on the image page I uploaded a couple videos, the "ooh!" scene when Reb Brown runs down some stairs, and the end credits, which is my personal fave.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096149/

11 comments:

  1. There's a non-MSt3k DVD version of this film that also come with another entertaining low-budget sci-fi actioner called Firehead, that's the version I saw and if you ask me, I think it works better on it's own.

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  2. This movie RULES. Echo Bridge Entertainment released this onto DVD. They're the people the release all those terrible 4 packs for $5 at walmart. And venom is correct...I own that DVD. It's amazing.

    And did you notice that there is a lot of recycled footage from Battlestar Galactica? The ship that Reb Brown crashes into the landing bay...and the actual giant ship itself. All from BG. Just adds to the greatness of this movie.

    Reb Brown's screaming is second to none. I LOVE when he does that. If you need more Reb Brown check out Uncommon Valor on Instant Watch. I haven't seen it yet but I know he's in it alongside other...better actors.

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  3. I also wanted to comment on your comments about learning more about movies now then when you did in 2002.

    I'm also in that same boat. I still have so much to learn but just in the last couple of years I have absorbed so much terrible movie trivia and facts that it's really sad when I pop in an old forgotten film that I know the production company, a few actors, the director, and producers. It's getting pretty bad.

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  4. I'm glad you're doing a MST week. I'm a big MiSTie so I'm looking forward to reading all your reviews.

    As for Space Mutiny, all I can add is "MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!"

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  5. Mr. Gable, I think you're going to like Strike Commando, but if you're not sure, check out this scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yGL5UCoaiU

    I do plan on doing Uncommon Valor at some point though, because it also has Michael Dudikoff. Oh, and as far as you seeing things now that you didn't see then, I think you meant to say "it's getting pretty awesome", right?

    I'm glad you dig it Video Vacuum, I'm a huge MSTie myself, and it's been a trip to watch some of these without Mike or Joel and the 'Bots.

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  6. It IS getting pretty awesome.

    And thank you so much for that clip. That made my day. This must be Bruno Mattei's answer to Rambo. And was that recycled footage from Robowar I saw at the end there when he punches that Russian over the cliff. Isn't that the same thing as Reb Brown leaping off the cliff to escape the exploding robot?

    Holy crap. It really is getting awesome. I love movies.

    Also, I should do a MST3K week too. I've been dying to watch The Killer Shrews.

    I've only sat through a handful of episodes but I'll admit...I own the original movies of the MST3K versions. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Future War. Manos: The Hands of Fate. The Killer Shrews (lol it's in one of those 50 packs of "classic" horror movies)

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  7. Those fifty packs are great for MST3K movies. I saw Mitchell and Attack of the Giant Gila Monster in one of those a buddy had awhile back. I can't wait to see some of your takes on those.

    I had a feeling you'd love that scene, I was just hoping it was on YouTube, which it was. I'm looking to do a full review the week after next. I agree that the deeper I get into the lower tiers of moviedom, the more and more rewarding it gets.

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  8. I just got the new MST box set today and popped on Master Ninja. Classic. Definitely one you should review, even though it was Made for TV and not Direct to Video.

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  9. This is probably my favorite of the Mike-era shows. Fantastic picture of Reb Brown screaming there. That ending "chase" scene is just so fantastic in how bad it is that I bust out laughing every time.

    SPACE MUTINY is one of the MST3K's that would be entirely hilarious even without the riffing. It's just such a gleefully bad movie.

    Also, the more Reb Brown you can review here, the better. I for one anxiously await the STRIKE COMMANDO review (or the sequel, for that matter).

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  10. I think I have to agree with you on this being the best Mike episode, though I'd put Attack of the Neptune Men and Prince of Space right up there.

    Expect Strike Commando the week after this one coming up. I'm not sure if I'll get the sequel in that week as well, but you can be sure it will soon follow.

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