Space Mutiny (1988)

Somebody, somewhere, probably in South Africa where this was made, thought that Space Mutiny was a good idea. Certainly, it has an all-star cast (well, for me). It has great special effects (stolen from Battlestar Galactica). And it has…well, nothing else going for it. I really can’t even fathom how anyone looked at the final results and said, “Cut. Print. Magic.”

This entire movie takes place on the Southern Sun, a generation ship that carries a large number of families on their way to colonize a new world. For over thirteen generations, it has seen people live and die who will never leave the walls of the ship until it reaches its destination.

The fact that he’ll never leave the ship and see another planet doesn’t feel right to Elijah Kalgan (Danger: Diabolik star John Philip Law!). Along with the ship’s Chief Engineer and some space pirates, he uses the ship’s police group, the Enforcers, to hijack the Southern Sun and take it toward another system. Hence, a Space Mutiny.

As all of this is happening, an important professor is about to visit the ship. He dies as his shuttle lands, but his pilot, Dave Ryder (Reb Brown, who is Yor, Hunter from the Future!) survives. For weeks, Kalgan takes over the ship while the flight deck is sealed off. But Commander Jansen (Cameron Mitchell!) has a plan. Ruder and Jansen’s daughter Dr. Lea Jansen (Cisse Cameron, whose first movie was Billy Jack) will take back the ship.

Yes, this is a Star Wars ripoff bold enough to call a female character Lea and have her look pretty much exactly like Debbie Reynolds. It’s also rife with errors, supposedly because its original director, Dave Winters, was called away because of a death in the family. Winters also directed the filmed concert of Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My NightmareThe Last Horror Film with Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro and, of course, Thrashin’, a movie that was constantly checked out of my local video store.

Space Mutiny

For example, the engineering areas of the ship were filmed in an industrial building with very 1980’s looking brick walls and concrete floors. The bridge? That should look high tech, right? Nope. It literally looks like an office cubicle farm. And while the guys wear silver or white jumpsuits, the ladies for some reason all get to wear spandex camel toe creations.

Why should we be upset that one of the officers, Lt. Lemont, is dramatically killed off in a scene when she shows up just fine in the very next one? And be on the look out for that Lorne Greene cameo via a stock shot of the bridge! Truly, Space Mutiny is a movie above such concerns. I mean, how do you can explain a ship that is in space, but the windows show blue skies outside?

Cameron Mitchell made this one a family affair, with his daughter Camille Mitchell doing the voice for an alien named Jennara and his son Chip is in this as Blake, a mustachioed member of Kalgan’s gang.

You have to see Space Mutiny to believe it. You can watch it on Amazon Prime, or choose to see it with either Mystery Science Theater 3000 or Rifftrax commentary.

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