I Saw A Film!

John Boy Walton and a mixed bag of mercenaries recreate a kind of Magnificent Seven (Robert Vaughn is here reprising his role, so not Seven Samurai) in spaceships fighting an army headed up by John Saxon and a bunch of poor guys with huge wounds on their heads. This is a sort of Star Wars by way of Roger Corman, which means while at times you’ll be able to infer that you’re watching a kind of space movie, it’s mostly going to require good efforts of imagination to accept the special effects (it didn’t age well!) though there are some very pretty set designs on the plant. You won’t have to work hard to enjoy Sybil Danning’s bosoms as she reclines in her fighter. Lots of gun sound effects go: Pew! Pew! Pew!

It’s one of those films where you know the bad guys by their ugliness, but once you’re out in space it’s guesswork as to which ship is piloted by which character. It would likely take several viewings that aren’t going to happen, also IMBD says there is at least one major goof in which a destroyed ship reappears in a later sequence, so they were kind of counting on us not noticing, or they didn’t notice!

We have George Peppard a few years prior to A-Team playing a harmonica and donning a cowboy hat. One of the things that always gets me as shortsighted is this idea that these future space haulers will spend their days sitting in pilot’s chairs. Hell we’re almost at the point where we don’t even have to drive our cars as it is, why would they bother holding a steering wheel in space? Going to work on Star Trek should not have included long shifts staring at a huge screen and mashing on buttons. Space is mostly empty and uneventful. It is much more likely to be induced into that “suspended animation” idea until arrival at whatever awesome place, years in the future, you’re going. But I’m being kinda picky, no one wants boring space movies!

John Boy flies a ship with a sassy AI. He gets to kiss on gorgeous Darlanne Fluegel (who did a few TV and B-movie things before passing much too soon), and we get to watch lots of models blowing up and sending variously colored film-etched “laser” blasts all over the place. The one smart move Saxon’s team employs is a sonic weapon, meant to disturb ears. It seems like it should have been much more effective. There is a bit of comedy in this thing too, as when Saxon’s conqueror has his doctor murder a passive defender, and have the dead alien arm installed on his body (he was in need of an arm), it works instantly well (You’re a genius doc!) until somehow the rest of the dead fellow’s buddies take control of said arm and try to have it knife him. Nearly Stooges level stuff, but Star Trek did the same shenanigans on some planet with mind-control aliens too.

Once again a diverse team of ethnicities and genders proves to be effective, from now on any time people are arguing about the power of homogeneity I’m bringing up Wind Talkers and this film.

For Free on Prime – very good for a few chuckles while you work on your jazz chords.

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