Thoughts on “Space Hunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone”

I was intending to talk about Saba Sebatyne this week, but in reading further into “Fate of the Jedi” I noted that something that I wanted to talk about might not be how I remember it, and since I am planning on doing deep dives into that series I figured that I’d at least wait until I was finished the series to examine that if I still thought I was correct about it (and I do still think that I’m correct in at least some way, but just want to make sure that I don’t say anything outlandish there).  So now it’s a good time for me to return to talking about the science fiction movies that I’ve been watching with “Space Hunter:  Adventures in the Forbidden Zone”.

When I talked about “Slipstream”, I noted that you could get the science fiction equivalent of the “slasher” movie by coming up with a very basic premise that let you explore the oddities of a science fiction world, which then would be interesting because of the different science fiction takes on the world that was being built.  This movie refutes that premise, because at its base that’s what it does.  A space bounty hunter type gets a message to try to rescue three women who crashed on a totalitarian planet, who end up being captured by the evil dictator who seems to drain life force or some such thing.  He meets a local girl and then a rival bounty hunter as they move through varied environments to try to rescue the women.

The first problem with this movie is that the environments aren’t really compelling and the world isn’t very fleshed out.  We never really understand what the power structure of the world really is or why those environments developed the way they did.  So it seems more like random wandering and running into random encounters than it does like exploring a science fiction world, which then of course loses the main benefit of this kind of plot.  If we don’t really understand or care about the world, then a plot that gets us to go through that world isn’t giving us anything else to cling to.

The second problem is that the plot itself is way too basic.  While saving the women is the main goal, we rarely find out what might happen to them, why they are important, or even get a good understanding of them as individuals to make us care about them.  So the only reason for us to care about them is for the same reason as the hero, which is that he’s getting paid to rescue them.  But obviously we aren’t getting paid to rescue them, and the movie doesn’t really set up a good reason for him to want the money, nor does it set up a plot where he can sacrifice the money for some other good, so we end up not really caring about them or their rescue.  That forces us to rely on liking the characters as a way to get us into the movie.

And the characters aren’t all that interesting.  The rival bounty hunter is very underdeveloped, the young local girl is just really, really annoying, and the main bounty hunter is pretty much a stock lead for this sort of movie and gets little development.  So we don’t really have any reason to want to see them succeed or to really care about them, so we don’t get the boost of interest in that way either.

So, overall, it’s not a very good movie.  The structure is the right one for this sort of movie, but it doesn’t fill in the parts properly to even rise to the level of “Slipstream”.  I don’t think I’ll watch this movie again.


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