Surrender, or be blown to astro-dust!
Director: David Winters, Neal Sundstrom
Starring: Reb Brown, John Phillip Law, Cameron Mitchell
Trailer (I could only find it in German):
Synopsis: On the generation ship Southern Sun (played by the Battlestar Galactica, flying backwards), flight commander Elijah Kalgan leads a mutiny.. in space! Kalgan and his followers are angry that they have not been set down on a planet, and want the Southern Sun to land immediately, even if it means killing most of the crew in the process. Commander Jansen (Cameron Mitchell) enlists ace pilot Dave Ryder (Reb Brown) and his lady friend to shut down the Kalgan using any means necessary, including space go-carts, mystical dancing women, and flame throwers. But Kalgan isn’t going down without a fight!
Why does it fail?: The easy answer is that nobody involved in any stage of production seems to understand how movies work or what makes them enjoyable. On paper the plot is pretty simple. Bad guy wants a mutiny, good guy stops him. How can you possibly mess that up? Somehow the makers of Space Mutiny do just that, throwing in as much nonsense as possible to confuse an otherwise easy story. So instead of just having a mutiny plot, we also have to try to make sense of the mystical dancing ladies kept on the ship, who have the power of mind control (maybe?) and a needlessly convoluted set of events orchestrated by Kalgan. The plot makes no sense, but that does not even begin to scratch the surface. In an effort to cut costs (or because they did not have the skill to make special effects) the directors of Space Mutiny decided to use stock footage from the original Battlestar Galactica. The same footage, over and over again. Which looks good, I guess, if you don’t mind blatant stealing. It is easy to complain about the use of stolen Battlestar Galactica footage, but as soon as the directors try to do their own special effects shots, you will be wishing for the stock footage to return. During the climatic action scene in the “engine room” our hero and villain face off with each other on space golf carts, which barely move slower than a human running. Sitting through the movie is worth it just for that scene.
Is it worth watching?: Since Space Mutiny has been featured by Red Letter Media and Mystery Science Theater, I am going to have to say yes. It is absurd and frustrating to watch, but does have really fun moments. Space Mutiny is one of those bad movies that is fun to watch just to try to figure out what decision making process lead to what we see on film. You are watching it constantly wondering whether the directors and writers actually thought that this would be entertaining or exciting for anybody. And that is fun to watch. Mercifully, Space Mutiny is around 80 minutes long. Much longer and it would not be fun to watch. Space Mutiny is not going to appeal to everybody, but if you are the type of person that likes watching bad movies with your friends, this is one that you have to add to the list.
Rating as a real movie: 0.5/10
Rating as a bad movie: 8/10