Monday, August 10, 2015

Space Raiders - Swashbuckling Space Pirates!

Space Raiders
D: Howard R. Cohen
W: Howard R. Cohen

S: Vince Edwards, David Mendenhall, Patsy Pease
Rated PG - Approx 84 Min

 - The ultimate adventure in space
 - He's 10 years old and they've taken him 10-million miles into space.

Alternate Titles
Star Child - US Alternate Title
Robber (Ryövärit) - Finland
Space Pirates - West Germany

"These aren't real onions, are they? They're some kind of alien yucko onions. Wonder if this is real cheese?"

Oh boy, here we go again.  Another review starting with a Video Paradise story/memory.  I'm starting to feel like that one particular Uncle that always tells stories about his time in the Navy:  "Did I ever tell you about the time we sailed right into a rogue wave in the Navy?  Did I ever tell you about the time I got syphilis while on shore leave in the Navy?  Did I ever tell you about the time that I peeled a potato that looked like Jay Leno's head while I was on KP in the Navy "  That or Sophia on The Golden Girls:  "Picture it....Sicily....1945...."

It's a laser gun shoot out! 

Awww...the cute little alien bug is going to eat some corn.....

Anyway....Video Paradise....Circa 1987.....a young me is taken to the video store on a Saturday afternoon to rent a video for the weekend.  My first instinct is to head directly for the animated section and grab a copy of Gumby for President.  Seriously, I must have rented Gumby about eight million times.....I was obsessed.  It was bad.  This time, however a I decided to check out the sci-fi section.  I was already a card carrying Star Wars fanatic, so I figured "What the heck!" and took a chance.  After milling up and down the aisles for a bit, lingering over the movies that I didn't have a shot in hell of renting yet (I'm looking at YOU Return of the Alien's Deadly Spawn!), I came across Space Raiders.

It had everything I could possibly want!  Lasers, spaceships, aliens, space pirates.....what more could a boy ask for!?  I brought it home and popped it in the VCR and was instantly in love with it.  I think I watched that tape about seven times that weekend.  It became another "go-to" movie when I didn't know what else to rent.


Last year, I came across a VHS copy of it while out flea marketing.  There's a flea market up in Hollis, NH that has a Video Barn.  Literally.  It's a barn stuffed to the gills with VHS tapes.  It's a giant mess and cramped with tapes strewn about everywhere.  In other words, it's beautiful and amazing and one of the most happiest places in my world.  As I squeezed and contorted my way around the cramped confines of the barn (no easy feet for a larger fellow such as myself!) I came across that old familiar box art and immediately scooped it up.  I paid a dollar for it and I regret nothing.  I finally popped it in the ol' VCR this past weekend and watched it for the first time in nearly thirty years.  The Mrs. Cinephile watched with me as well.  So how did it hold up to thirty year old memories?  Surprisingly well!

Space Raiders is a Roger Corman flick.  Oh sure, it was written and directed by Howard R. Cohen (whom you may know as W/D of Saturday the 14th, writer of Deathstalker III & IV and writer of Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer!) but you can always tell when a film is produced by Roger Corman.  Most notably in this flick is the fact that the same ship from Battle Beyond the Stars is used as the Raider's ship.  You know....the ship with boobs.  Seriously.  The spaceship has breasts.  I'm not kidding!  LOOK!

See!  Ship Boobs!

This ship is well endowed.
The story involves a young boy, named Peter (David Mendenhall....who provided the voice for Daniel Witwicky in the original Transformers cartoon and animated movie!), who ends up aboard said breasted ship, which belongs to a motley crew of space pirates, led by Hawk.  Hawk is your typically rough around the edges with a heart of gold type.  After learning that the kid is on the ship, he promises to get him back home.  Peter and Hawk bond and develop an almost father/son relationship.  You really get the feeling that Pete's real father isn't that much of a stand up guy.  Sure, he's trying (sort of) to get Peter back, but you really don't get a sense of urgency from him.

We follow along on their adventures as the crew tries to get Peter home while fending off Company fighters (The Company is your standard futuristic "we own everything" type of deal.  Either you're with The Company or your not.  The Raiders steal from The know how it goes.) as well as the henchmen of evil alien Zariatin.

The evil Zariatin.

Flying 'n' stuff

There are laserblasts a plenty.....though I should specify that we never see any laser beams coming out of any guns.....just a bunch of sparks shooting out of the muzzle.  There are lasers that shoot out of spaceships though, so you can get your laser fix there.

Most of the film plays out like a swashbuckling space pirate adventure....though there really isn't much in the way of actually swashbuckling.  As a matter of fact, I don't even know why I said that.  Probably so I could keep in the pirate them.  Oh well.  At any rate, there's plenty of action and for the most part, it's a kinda feel good action flick.  The Raiders are clearly the good guys and the bad guys are gonna get their comeuppance.  There's also lots of robots!  Not like really cool robots....more like guys wearing spandex with plastic parts hot glued onto them.  Which is totally fine.....just didn't want to get your hopes up too high.

Flying 101 with Hawk.

The obligatory outdoor scene.
Like I was saying before getting distracted by the plays out like a feel-good kinda action flick for the most part.....and then in the last twenty minutes or so it gets dark.  I'm not going to spoil it, but I have to say that I didn't remember how it all ended up going down and I was a bit shocked at the rather violent and downbeat ending.  Oh yeah, and Peter is a total ingrate.  Just saying.

There's a little bit of blood here and there.....squibs and whatnot.....and the blood is of the ketchup variety.


No such luck, amigo.  This is a PG flick.

There are a few different varieties of alien the aforementioned robots.  Oh yeah, and a really swanky stop motion alien bug.

The poor mans Mos Eisley......
.......has intergalactic pizza fights?!?!?

This still holds a very special place in my heart.  It's wonky, sure, and it's cheap, but it's got charm and it's a hell of a lot of fun, so why not give it a shot?  I watched my VHS copy of the film, but there is a limited edition Blu Ray that was put out September, 2014 from Scorpion Releasing.

"Get outta here kid......go get a copy of Space Raiders!"

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