Film Review – Space Truckers (1996)

You get what you see with Space Truckers, a film best enjoyed with a beer. Low budget and low brow, the film is actually very good fun. It spoofs just about every sci-fi film from 2001 to sci-fi spoofs themselves. The acting and special effects range from great to hilariously bad (keep an eye out for wires!) But, if you choose not to take Space Truckers seriously, then you will have a fun 90 minutes. Although it won’t teach you anything new about life, you’ll laugh. Actually, it might even make you stupider.

In the near future humanity has spread across the galaxy and all logistics are handled by ‘the company’, a firm that breeds square pigs – genetically designed for haulage – and just about everything else. Truckers then haul cargo across the galaxy for the company for a measly wage. John Canyon (Dennis Hopper) is the last of the independent truckers, an old hand who can’t stand the encroachment of the company on his business. When they attempt to dock his pay, Canyon fights back, resulting in a company official (George Wendt) getting ridiculously sucked out of the space station a la Goldfinger.

Canyon must get out of the station quick. Soon, he has enlisted the help of spunky, New York waitress Cindy (Debi Mazar) and stubborn rookie Mike (Stephen Dorff) to haul a large freight of sex dolls. Or so they think. The intrepid trio come across space pirates led by genius, Captain Macanudo (Charles Dance), half-man, half-machine with serious performance issues and a vendetta against the company.

What’s more, the true deadly nature of the truckers’ payload is only now being realised, and our heroes must battle everyone to save Earth.

This film is as stupid and fun as it sounds. Camp in the extreme, the dialogue is so cheesy and on the nose that you can’t help but laugh. The actors, especially Charles Dance, are clearly having a great time and it translates on screen. The special effects and production design are great and terrible at the same time. The rotating diner is very impressive, as is the pirate ship and “black rock” asteroid visual effects. Yet these are matched with obvious wires and spaceship seats were clearly taken from a budget roller coaster. It all adds to the ludicrous amusement though.

Despite its low brow nature, Space Truckers never descends into outright vulgarity, instead focusing on the innocence of its characters and their quest. There is something really genuine about the film – it’s not trying to be ironic or clever. I should make one thing clear though if it isn’t already, this is not a good film, not even close. So, if you don’t like B movies or general stupidity then Space Truckers won’t be the film for you.

Space Truckers certainly delivers on its promise: truckers in space. It’s perfect for some late-night entertainment that requires no thought. Yet, it is good, genuine fun, without descending into seediness or cynicism. In a way, as much as being a spoof of space operas, it’s also a celebration of them. If that doesn’t get you excited, then I don’t know what will.

Ewan Wood | [rating=3]

Sci-Fi, Adventure | USA, 1996 | 12 |14th May 2018 (UK) | Second Sight Films | Dir.Stuart Gordon | Dennis Hopper, Stephen Dorff, Debi Mazar, Charles Dance