Premise: (spoilerâ€¦ as if it mattered) A team of four spacemen (actually, two space men and two space women) return from space after 40 years in deep sleep on a mission to look at some alien probe a ways off. Arriving back on earth they are enslaved and taken to the local saw-mill to be put to work. Two of them are killed in the process.
It turns out the world has been taking over by alien â€œmitesâ€ which look vaguely like giant humanoid grass-hoppers. The mites killed off most of humanity with neutron-type-bombs and enslaved the remainder to help them deforest the place and ship the wood back to their homeworld for a tidy profit.
The two remaining spacemen, Dr. Ivan Hood (Bruce Campbell) and Kelly, fall in love and start planning escape. Eventually Dr. Hood and some other prisoner escape, killing a mite in the process (amazingly the first time anyoneâ€™s ever killed oneâ€¦ever) while Kelly is caught and taken back. Hood starts planning to come back and rescue Kelly.
Rumor in one of the few surviving free communities is that the President and senators live up in the mountains and are raising an army to wipe out the mites. Hood decides to track down the Pres. and get his help in destroying the saw-mill. Along the way he runs into and wins over various allies with his healing techniques and well cut jib. Unfortunately it turns out the president and senators are just beaten old men with no army.
Hood returns to the free town determined to rescue Kelly by himself if necessary. But it turns out heâ€™s inspired a lot of dejected people and they eventually help him. He and Kelly are reunited, and with their inspired army they go on to liberate all the sawmills in the Pacific Northwest.
Opinions: She Dragon and I were going to watch this movie just to catch a little Bruce Campbell seedy goofiness, of a Saturday night. But as we re-watched the commercials again and again over the course of a week the realization slowly dawned that this was probably nothing special in the grand scheme of campy sci-fi. Eventually She realized her time would be better spent doing anything else, but I persevered in the name of inertia and eternal springing hope.
From the onset it seemed pretty obvious this movie was made just as a vehicle to put Bruce Campbell on the screen. Except for Bruce and maybe Renee Oâ€™Connor most of the acting was pretty awful (I mean Jake Lloyd awful) and even for Bruce it probably wasnâ€™t his finest hour.
Some may ask if Bruce ever had a really fine hour. I imagine classic fans will probably point to the Evil Dead series as some sort of pinnacle, but I think this is really looking through a telescope heavily occluded with the gritty haze of nostalgia. Looking back I finally settled on Bubba Ho-tep as the work that probably best encapsulates all thatâ€™s good about Mr. Campbell.
But even looking up the manâ€™s filmography on IMDB one starts to enter the twilight world of Bruce Campbell. This is a world at the fringes of Hollywood, inundated by cameo performances and B sci-fi movies (Tachyon: The Fringe or Man with the Screaming Brain anyone?), a world which truthfully looked a whole lot more mysterious and sordid as I was looking this information up at 1:00am last night. In the cold light of day it just looks like Bruce had some fun doing whatever projects struck his fancy or paid the bills.
Anyway, regarding the movie at hand: The CGI couldâ€™ve been worse but was generally pretty sucky. The back-story and some of the details were kind of shoddily thought out, and there were a few little mysteries left unexplained (like more info on the outcome of the â€œprobeâ€ mission, or what the deal with that green glowing ball on the alien pylon was). Maybe this was all just meant to be part of the movieâ€™s campy charm, but didnâ€™t really do much for me.
In all, out of 5 stars, I give it something like 1.5 or 2.