Monday, May 4, 2009

Hyper Space

DVD cover

Year: 1989

Run Time: 81 minutes

MPAA Rating: R

Director: David Huey

Cast: Richard Norton, Don Stroud, Lynn-Holly Johnson, James Van Patten, Ron O'Neal, Rebecca Cruz, &tc.

Format Viewed: DVD (R1)

Premise: It is the future. Mankind has a pollution problem. The answer? Pack the pollutants onto space ships then hire crews to ferry the toxic nuclear waste out to a distant part of "hyper space" and dump it. Perfectly routine, unless your ship suffers a malfunction while en route.

The DVD: The movie being reviewed was released by Simitar, a label long defunct. (The packaging bears a 1999 copyright.) Yet I found this a few months ago in a Fye's bargain bin. While the DVD is pristine with nary a scratch on it the same can not be said for the video, which was sourced from a less than pristine tape master. Extras include movie "factoids".

The Movie: The movie opens with two guys in a car. .


As they're drinking coffee and staring off into the distance at nothing we (the audience) know they are supposed to be on a stake out. Who they are and what they're staking out is unclear, even as the scene suddenly shifts to the inside of a warehouse where two other actors dressed as mechanic types try to look busy. It's unclear what they're doing but sorting through the junk carefully laid out by whoever dressed the set isn't part of the plan. Nor do we get much time to ponder their lack of industry amidst a warehouse full of industrial junk when a third troglodyte of a man enters frame. This guy looks like a angry wrestler looking for the poof that peed in his cheerios. And, hold on, is that ball of hair he's got wrapped up in that bundle he's carrying an human hea-

Body slam!

OH SNAP! The wrestler dude's killing the mechanic guys! Will no one stop his murderous rampage?. WAIT! Here comes one of the guys from the car. ZOIDBERG! The guy strikes a dramatic pose to utter the following line: "Release the head."

Give the angry troglodyte credit for obeying law enforcement for he does just that. Only he hurled that severed head straight at the cop-guy's chest. .

He shoots, he scores!

OUCH! That had to hurt. BTW this is the first 2-3 minutes of the movie. If you were like me you're probably scratching your head and re-reading the movie's title right about now. As if this intro wasn't confusing enough the titles scroll soon after this scene and open with the following prologue. .

Earth Government = The Corporation?

Crazy. What was that intro about? But, just when you're about to give up and write this off as belonging in the bad movie hall of shame for false advertising we see. .


Sleepers about to waken.

Perhaps the cheapest "cryogenic chamber" set ever. Long story short the crew is awaked from their cryo-slumber to discover their ship has malfunctioned, thus effectively stranding them far off course. While their ship doesn't have enough fuel to make it back to Earth they have a shuttle that, by some magical mystical means supposedly can. The hitch? The shuttle's life support can only support ONE PERSON. This threadbare premise is the set up for the crew turning on each other for use of the shuttle.

There's also this. .

Coed Shower Scene

When all else fails distract the audience with nudity. It works every time. And, yes, I have to admit that this brief glance of flesh distracted me enough to keep me watching; hoping to be distracted some more. Alas there were no more flesh toned distractions as the remainder of the movie was an earnest effort to do a bit of psychological drama. Granted you can see the twist near the end coming a mile away but you're distracted by the other twist, at least for a second or two, and that's all it takes because by the time the action is over so is the movie.

Availability: Believe it or not there is a German (R2) DVD release under the title Space Rangers - Hyperspace that lists a 87 minute run time. Alas the OOP Simitar release appears to be the only R1 Hyper Space DVD. However Amazon lists a DVD-R available under the title Black Forest. Not to be confused with Hyperspace (aka Gremloids) or Hyperspace.

Assessment/ Verdict: If you've ever seen Alfred Hitchcock's classic Lifeboat or it's science fiction adaptation Lifepod then you know the basic premise of this movie; a group of people in close confinement struggle for survival with fellow survivors who have dire secrets. Sadly neither the acting or sense of suspense in Hyper Space is quite as good as that in Lifeboat. The movie never really recovers from the opening scene. Worse, Lynn-Holly Johnson is all but wasted here. Her character really should have had more screen time. Instead we got that crap intro and a follow-up flash back, both of which have a shoddy tacked on out of place feel. While the intro could have been forgiven if it came after some sort of set up to establish the movie's futuristic setting, instead it just underscored the shoe string budget of the feature. Nor does it help that this scene was followed by a tacky no-budget scene of people on tables in their underwear that was barely redeemed with a (all too brief) tantalizing flash of nubile female flesh. Sorry, no offense to the filmmakers, but with these two scenes setting up the movie it's impossible to suspend disbelief. Thus the movie is best watched as a b-movie farce. If you can watch this movie without taking it seriously then it can be fun. Otherwise pass.

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Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan

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