Later Period Italian Disco Peplum Star Wars Garbage, With Nudity
OK so this movie isn't the greatest, but it's still far from uninteresting. The only real connection it has to Luigi Cozzi's superior STAR CRASH is the use of certain special effects shots. They appear to use some of the same models & spacecraft, which would of course be cheaper than building new ones for this film, or better yet just recycle the same footage. Nobody will notice.
Most movies are about two or three things. First there is the story or plot -- this time out two mis-matched intergalactic lovers land on a planet populated by castoffs from "Buck Rogers In The 25th Century" and discover sex. This includes an eye-opening scene where the film's heroine/lead actress goes for a naked swim in some sort of erotic oasis. I say "eye opening" not just because she is a delightful little morsel, but because the content of the scene is so at odds with the form that the movie takes: It looks to have been made for kids, but has tits. Huh.
And that is the second thing that this movie is about: Mixing low octane erotics with Star Wars inspired (or maybe FLASH GORDON would be more likely considering Don Powell's Parliament/Funkadelic Space Tyrant costume: wow!!) juvenalia. It's an exploitation film taking on the appearance of a science fiction adventure to lure in the kids, plus some bared flesh -- kept to a minimum, just a tad beyond the tease level -- to keep their parents occupied. The film is also equal opportunity in parading about a little space strumpet for the guys to ogle as well as an astronomical Adonis for the ladies to swoon over. Or vice versa: you never can tell about some people these days.
The third thing this movie appears to be about is how the European cult genre film craze -- dating back to the Gladiator movies that much of the film resembles -- had pretty much worn itself out by 1981. The Italians always were the most imitative of the Euro filmmakers and by the time STAR CRASH 2 was made they were imitating their own forms. Like FLASH GORDON and YOR, HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE this is essentially an updated Peplum saga with laser guns instead of javelins, and illustrates how by 1981 Italian B cinema was finally forced to find it's own voice after stuff like this stopped working at the box office.
The Italians went from Peplums to Gothic horror to spy thrillers to Spaghetti Westerns to war movies to Gothic horror to crime thrillers to car racing movies to Star Wars ripoffs and then back to the horror genre again for the 3rd wave of Fulci, Argento, Lamberto Bava and Joe D'amato. STAR CRASH 2 was directed by the occasionally brilliant Bitto Albertini, who participated in all of those prior genres and was on the tail-end of his career, and while this certainly isn't his best film his name is the big draw here: Bert Albertino movies are rather hard to come by, but unlike his ZAMBO or THREE SUPERMEN films there isn't much to recommend this one, aside from the kitschy 80's sci fi production design and the sex.
I happen to like kitschy 80's sci fi production design and sex so I got a kick out of this one. You certainly won't find the likes of it made today, and for fans of the Alfonso Brescia Star Wars ripoff school of film-making this movie will be a welcomed addition. Anyone else be forewarned though: There be Italians in disco robes dancing in this movie, and unless you are used to stuff like that you will probably find it to be somewhat silly, and maybe even a little on the erotic side. Welcome to Italian cult genre film-making, we hope you enjoy your flight.
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