While much of Starcrash blatantly plagiarizes George Lucas' Star Wars, as well as Buck Rogers serials from the 1930s, Cozzi embellishes his borrowed themes and designs with his own unique but cockeyed vision. The movie is, consequently, absolutely packed full of odd or inept images, scenarios, and characters. Spaceships hurtle past brilliantly green, magenta, and yellow stars. Stella encounters both a giant robot and a pair of sword wielding robots, all three of which are moved by stop motion animation. She visits planets inhabited by troglodytes and Amazons, as well as a colorfully lit city floating through space. Her wicked opponent, Count Zarth Arn, runs his empire from a spaceship shaped like an enormous hand, and L and Thor, the Galactic Policemen who are hunting Stella at the beginning of the movie and who later join forces with her, are, respectively, a robot who speaks with a Texas accent and a dour green skinned alien with pointed ears.
Not surprisingly, all these inhabitants of Cozzi's movie are dressed in some of the most wonderfully atrocious costumes the viewer is likely to have ever seen. Imperial soldiers wear close-fitting gold helmets and tight tunics. The Emperor wears golden armor and a cape. Count Zarth Arn wears a futuristic version of Bela Lugosi's Dracula outfit, and Stella wears a black leather bikini. The film's sets are even worse. All are ridiculously shoddy and lend the movie a pathetic charm.
What is more, one completely absurd and implausible incident follows the next in this ridiculous universe. The Emperor's forces enter Count Zarth Arn's space hand inside golden torpedoes which crash through the ship's glass windows and then pop open to release the imperial trooper within. Stella lands on a planet where the temperature drops thousands of degrees (although, perhaps, the people of the future prefer a scale different from any of those currently being used) and can, apparently, propel herself through the void of space with a breaststroke. Count Zarth Arn's ultimate weapon projects images of the floating material inside of a lava lamp and makes any person or robot upon whom those images have been superimposed hallucinate. The list goes on and on.
Happily, having wisely realized that such ludicrous actions and events could only be satisfactorily brought to life by equally ludicrous individuals, Cozzi has assembled a brilliantly inept cast. Not a single actor displays even a modicum of talent. David Hasselhoff is astonishingly wooden and completely incompetent. Marjoe Gortner is annoyingly chipper and just as dreadful. Caroline Munro is extremely attractive and does lend the movie an innocent sensuality, but her acting skills are far less noticeable than are her physical endowments. Compared with the abilities shown by her fellow cast members, however, her own talents are sublime.
Starcrash really is an absolute delight. It is one of the most fun movies I have ever seen, and it is one of the worst. It is so dreadful that it never fails to entertain.
Review by Keith Allen
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