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STARSHIP - 1 Slime
Rated PG
Copyright 1985 VTC and Rediffusion Television
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 7 July 2001

The Characters:  

  • Lorca - There is an obvious problem with being the only blonde guy on the planet and a leader of the revolution. It's an order that says: "If you see the blonde guy, shoot him."
  • Abbie - True leader of the freedom fighters, probably on account of her ability to constantly look annoyed. She was Lorca's girlfriend until a crazed robot killed her.
  • Suzi - Lorca's new girlfriend. She wears a chemise under her freedom fighter outfit.
  • Grid - A small droid and Lorca's friend. Your ears are hearing right, even if he appears as "Kid" in the credits.
  • Police Robots - Sent to impose martial law on this backwater mining planet. They seem to be wearing football helmets.
  • Danny - Bounty hunter for the bad guys who speaks softly and carries a big scattergun. Neck snapped by the same crazed robot that killed Abbie.
  • Captain Jowitt - Commanding Officer of the occupation force and it looks like the blood of House Atreides runs through his veins. Sorry, make that "ran through his veins and all over the tarmac." Abbie manages to kill him with a bomb.


The Plot: 

"Middle of the road, man, it stanks. Let's run over Lionel Richie with a tank." - Billy and the Boingers

While this film lacks any really glaring errors to pick at, I find it boring and that is probably the most serious crime possible. The filmmakers were just competent enough to be unremarkable. Special effects, plot, acting - you name it, they're all smack dab in the middle of the road. Why, if this movie were a person, it might be selected to fight Zarkorr.

On the mining planet of Ordessa the workers are very unhappy. Production is down and protests are rampant. We are never privy to how the whole mess started, but the latest supply ship arrives with something to really get the natives riled up. Off the shuttle marches a heavily armed unit of droids with orders to restore order by violent means. Civil disobedience looks a lot less attractive with trigger-happy robots around.

Droid: "Why did you chain yourself to this train track?"
Dude: "Uh, yeah. Like, that dude over there has the key and..."
(The sound of gunfire fills the air.)

The battle goes badly for Lorca's side to say the least. Many are killed, including the young man's mother, while our hero is forced to steal a truck and flee into the wastelands. Jowitt is supposed to be a top-notch commander, so how did someone get away by driving across the desert? The occupation force does not have to cover a large area; spotting a lone truck (leaving behind a huge dust cloud in its wake) should not be a problem. Stuff like this gives evil oppressors a bad name.

Abbie fights on after the crackdown, making life miserable for Jowitt by packing robots full of explosives and programming them to visit the maintenance facilities. Grid is unfortunate enough to be nearby when one such walking bomb goes off. The arriving response team of droids hauls the poor little guy in for questioning, probably due to his wearing a "Members Only" jacket (makes you look guilty). Before releasing Grid, they bore a hole in his forehead with a power drill. Reminds me of the way researchers mark rhinos for easy identification. They would tranquilize the beasts, then cut wedges out of their ears. Sometimes being an endangered species sucks.

One of Suzi's responsibilities is gathering intelligence on the enemy, including intercepting transmissions. She, along with Grid, breaks into the communications center at one point and sets the robot to cracking the system. He grabs a keyboard and starts typing! Hehehe! How about using a RS232 cable or something like that? There is only one reason you and I use such an unwieldy interface: biology and technology rarely mix at present. Anyway, by utilizing Grid's hunt and peck skills, the pair learns that a new shuttle is on the way with worker droids. The human miners will be killed after their replacements arrive!

Brace yourselves, because the bad guys are going to load everyone aboard an old shuttle and then flood the ship's hold with poison gas. That's not the kicker though. The shuttle is the same one listed as "lost" that Lorca's father commanded! It landed thirty years ago with everyone aboard dying of a strange radiation sickness, so the government hid it in an underground hanger. The problems this presents are no small matter. How do you hide the fact that a starship, around three hundred meters in length and several stories high, arrived at its destination? As mining colonies go, this is a major population center. Hundreds, if not thousands, would have seen or heard the ship coming in to land. The other issue is that Lorca does not look to be more than twenty-five. Can you say, "Test Tube Baby?" I knew you could...

Since the resistance is an underground movement the movie includes plenty of raids and people running around. Lorca and Grid cross paths with the bounty hunter at one point and are taken prisoner. Danny ties the two up and places them in the back of an enormous dump truck, then starts driving back to base. He fails to realize that the droid's hands screw off (no, not that way you sicko) and that makes tying his hands together pointless. Obviously the pair of freedom fighters manages to escape and rejoin Abbie.

The scheduled genocide is quickly approaching, but luck is with the resistance fighters. Lorca is a starship pilot! I don't know whether he was supposed to have inherited this from his father or what; just accept the plot point. Please? With this ray of hope to guide them, the surviving good guys board the shuttle and attempt to escape. Perils still await, like the berserk security droid roaming the ship's corridors, but the other option was staying on this planet and the movie continuing. I was rooting for them to succeed.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • The first order of business after docking a starship is to empty the chemical toilets.
  • Yellow rain slickers are not bulletproof.
  • The phrase to remember is "Stop, drop, and roll." not "Stumble through glass and thrash."
  • Top secret message relay stations are a good place to post guards.
  • Don't play coy with a robot.
  • "Cruise control" does not mean "autopilot."
  • Droids can suffer and display all the symptoms of a concussion.
  • Concrete is used in the construction of starships.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - They are playing a synchronizer, but these aliens are not responding.
  • 15 mins - A grenade that caused 100% casualties against a dispersed group of robots?
  • 24 mins - We might not be able to see Grid at this angle, but how did the police robot miss him?
  • 38 mins - The dump truck only stopped because it wanted to.
  • 42 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A LORRY!
  • 57 mins - What exactly are we blowing up here Abbie? The sewers?
  • 60 mins - I don't care if it was a hologram; you're going to Hell!
  • 73 mins - If the airlock was shut then how did Danny get inside?
  • 83 mins - Stock footage of explosive mining operations?

Quotes: 

  • Jowitt: "We're looking for a missing 4000, under suspicion in an arson case. I want it. It may belong to the terrorists."
  • Abbie: "All this does is change our plans a little. Instead of hijacking this transporter to escape in we'll just blow the hell out of it!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note starship1.wav Grid: "Just wait. You'll see that everything is in order. I'm innocent! I'm innocent!"
Police Droid: "Take this droid to sector control."
Green Music Note starship2.wav Jowitt: "You always underestimate humans. You can't help it; you were designed by people who felt the same way."
Green Music Note starship3.wav Abbie: "You should have come back earlier."
Lorca: "I didn't even know you were alive."
Abbie: "You didn't bother to find out!"
Green Music Note starship4.wav Danny: "Lorca, two women, and the missing 4000. I'll get them for you Captain. I won't fail you like your metal friends have."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

ImageImageImage


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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipstarship1.mpg - 2.3m
A firefight! Come on children, everyone crowd around the windows and see what is going on outside. What is Grid thinking? He should be closing the shutters and telling all the kids to hit the deck.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1]
Starship
Reply #1. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by ChrisB
That is the Toecutter! I'm not surprised, this is an Anglo-Aussie film, though it seems this was a post-Max career low for him.
 It may not be very good, but at least we the British film industry attempted something different back then.

Starship
Reply #2. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by james
actually "middle of the road man it stank lets run over lionel ritchie with a tank"was not billy and the boingers (who was deathtung at the time) steve the womanizing lawyer, who had every bone in his body broken by sean penn, turned manager who spoke those classic lyrics. i now need my ass kicked for knowing that much detail about bloome county
Starship
Reply #3. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by ivansull
IMDB says Peter Gabriel was in this film, playing himself.  Is this a typo?  Haven't seen it myself...
Starship
Reply #4. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Bearcatrock
Great stuff! It's worth the price of admission for the bar scenes with the classic standup arcade machines mixed with a hologram head of someone who looks like Toyah. (Probably is.) Deep Roy who played Grid, did a lot of work for Terry Nation's excellent TV epic Blake's 7 and a bit also for Dr. Who. The fact that the credits list his character name wrong is icing on the cake. *** / out of *****
Starship
Reply #5. Posted on July 13, 2005, 04:12:32 PM by windcatcher
I like Cassandra Webb, the sexy actress in the chemise under her droid fighters.  Whatever happened to her?  Did she do any other films?
Re: Starship
Reply #6. Posted on November 06, 2007, 05:46:24 PM by Evan
I dont thiunk it deserves one dropling, I enjoyed it. The Giant truck things were pretty cool and I enjoyed the Lorca charactor. Pretty good movie for a dollar.
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