Deep Space (1988)

Director: Fred Olen Ray
Starring: Charles Napier, Ann Turkel, Bo Svenson, Ron Glass. USA. 1h 30m

I love when the smaller budgeted movies attempt to retell bigger budgeted blockbuster style stories, and this film, that spends most of its time I’m swimming in the success of other sci fi  classics like Alien (1979) in fact it’s totally an Alien rip off, but all of its good intentions, seems to be another homage to cult film but plays out like another version of the fated project, The Dark (1979),  and this about s successfully thrilling as Alien 2 on Earth (1981)

What is really admirable about this setup is just how 80’s street cop the movie becomes. With the name of Deep Space, accompanied by a team on a spaceship, anyone would expect a heavy sci fi story but within minutes the ship/satellite is crashing to earth and a terribly nasty genetic mutant is loose on the streets and there’s only one particular hardened officer, Ian McLemore (Napier) who’s gonna keep his streets clean.

They created a monster over lunch. Now it's back for dinner...

Originally there’s a special government team tracking the beastie, but much like Predator 2 (1992), the team, despite their expertise aren’t as well equipped to deal with an alien threat as Ian, along with this sidekick Jerry Merris (Glass) a pair of cops that don’t play by the book and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, they are a little Miami Vice and a lot of Alien Nation, but they get the job done.

somebody’s gotta come down and clean up the mess ’cause I’m gonna make a big one.

– Ian

Veteran director Fred Olen Ray and cinematographer Gary Graver prove they have the skill to put together another mediocre, low budget sci fi adventure, but essentially the movies that the long string of clichés,  both cops are always moments away from being suspended but an angry chief, and the every given moment of total hard asses.  Despite the setbacks you can really see this as being a version of  Alien set on the grimy streets of any large American , Metropolis, switch off the smart guns for shotguns,  aliens for not so deadly rubber aliens and this becomes a viable contender for the craziest Alien/Lethal Weapon mashup up of the decade. Ann Turkel does an admirable job, even though she’s given the thankless task of being the ultra sexy love interest and her unique selling point is virtually falling apart every time something happens.

Unfortunately  the  movie,  in short, is mostly a cop film but the bad guy just happens to be from outer space,  technically not even  from out of space as the beastie, is just a government project that was being held in space,  Deep Space, can’t even get it’s alien life form from the correct planet.  Taking any of the movie  into space was just literally an ego trip. Maybe that was always Fred’s, intention,  maybe the fans and critics have been writing too much sci-fi into this crime thriller? When the movie never really decided on what cards it’s trying to play, ,sadly leaving the rest of the hand looking a little bit camp. The results are frustrating,  but for indie fans it’s full of brilliant things,  and just hampered by a slightly split personality. 

TLDR:

Rating: 4/10

Related: The Dark (1979) , Alien (1979), Predator 2 (1992) , Alien 2 On Earth (1981), Creature (1985), Cellar Dweller (1988)
Lists: 18 Horrors from 1988 Still Worth Talking About Vol 1, Vol 2, 18 Horrors from the 1980’s Vol 1,
Spotlight:
Charles Napier, Bo Svenson

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