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On a frontier light-years from the O.K. Corral, a bizarre gang of futuristic desperados have their sights set on turning the tumbleweed town of Oblivion into their own private playground. Their lizard like leader, Redeye (Andrew Divoff, Wishmaster), pumps lawman Marshall Stone (Michael Genovese) full of lead in a deadly shootout just outside of Miss Kitty's (Julie Newmar, Batman) Kat House and begins terrorizing the town's inhabitants. Meanwhile, Stone's long-lost pacifist son Zack (Richard Joseph Paul) and his native sidekick Buteo (Jimmy F. Skaggs) are escorted into town by the eerie undertaker Gaunt (Carel Struycken, The Addams Family) to pay their respects at the Marshall's funeral. Rendered helpless by Redeye, the tough-as-nails Cyborg Deputy (Meg Foster) and the Marshall's old friend Doc Valentine (George Takei, Star Trek) team up with Zack to take back the troubled town in a final unearthly showdown.
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Guide: No F-bombs, sex. or nudity. Super Campy and cheesy.
This movie has all sorts of weird scenes. The best without question (also worth the price of the movie) has to be the funeral scene with the simultaneous Bingo game taking place on the second floor. This hilarious combination of sappy funeral speeches with bingo announcements like "B-1" going on in the background is a scream.
And while this movie has a really hot black nylon chick in Musetta Vander (if you're into the Trinity "Matrix" look, get this!), it is truly missing the gratuitous T&A. Musetta (the hot siren from "O Brother Where Art Thou") is hot though, so the movie still survives.
I give it 3 stars on the B-movie scale - T&A would have brought it to a solid 4.
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So, it's a "Sci-Fi Western." Let me see... Was it hokey? Heck, yeah! That's what MAKES the movie. Basically, toss Clash of the Titans, the original Star Trek series, The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the Eighth Dimension, and a little Jim Henson puppetry into a blender, and you've got a fairly representative perception of what it's like. I have no idea what the budget was, but what it looks like is NOT mainstream Hollywood, NOT trendy-Indie, but very hip and quirky and campy on a well-designed shoestring budget.
The characters are waaay over the top... waaay waaay OVER over the top... even the seemingly straight-played parts by Richard Joseph Paul and Jackie Swanson (Little House on the Prairie really was this tragic, it just wasn't meant to be). And YES, George Takei pokes fun at his Star Trek pigeonholing with wincingly blatant one-liners, but it's so FUN to see him cutting loose (Sulu was awfully straight-laced). Musetta Vander is absolutely DELICIOUS as the black leather-clad, electric whip-wielding Lash. If you've always had a soft spot for really wicked women (with a Bettie Page thing going), you'll fall for her after seeing this. Carel Struycken is so freaking cool, I want to hug him. His voice (I sooo dig his voice) and kind of innocent savant demeanor (but with bits of cold practicality peeking through) reminded me of Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride.
If you live for the credits, here you go:
Directed by Sam Irvin and written by Charles Band, Peter David (I), Mark Goldstein (II), John Rheaume, and Greg Suddeth. The credits include Richard Joseph Paul as Zack Stone, Jackie Swanson as Mattie Chase, Andrew Divoff as Redeye, Meg Foster as Stell Barr, Isaac Hayes as Buster, Julie Newmar as Miss Kitty, Carel Struycken as Gaunt, George Takei as Doc Valentine, Musetta Vander as Lash, Jimmie F. Skaggs as Buteo, Irwin Keyes as Bork, Mike Genovese as Marshall Stone, Frank Roman (I) as Wormhole, Jeff Moldovan as Spanner, Joe Muzio and Craig Anthony Muzio as Two Head, Tim Miller (I) as the Stinking Turncoat, Peter David (I) as Cowhand, Nadine Emilie Voindrouh as Josephine, Sam Irvin himself as the "Whipping Boy," and a bunch of techs and extras who probably laughed and partied their way through the entire (for Pete's sake, go find a copy of the freaking film and watch it already) filming.
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Featuring a posse of favorites including Julie Newmar as the racy saloon hostess, George Takei as the tipsy local "Doc," Carel Struycken (The Addams Family) as an eerie mortician and Meg Foster playing a robocop with a quick draw and a heart of gold-plate.
OBLIVION is set over two thousand years in the future on a barren planet that is reminiscent of the Western landscapes of the United States. In fact, not only does the landscape remind one of the American wild west, so do the way people live and how they behave. For instance, mining is popular occupation of spectators, gunfights are common, and horses are a relatively common form of transportation. However, despite the similarities, there are also a lot of differences, e.g. the bank has an ATM; there are spaceships; the outback is populated my giant, ferocious, flesh-eating scorpions; and one of the chief villains is a humanoid reptile from another planet.
The story begins with a shootout between the Marshall of Oblivion (Mike Genovese) and the power-hungry lizard-man, Redeye (Andrew Divoff). Redeye has set a trap for Marshall Stone and Marshall Stone falls for it. With his death, Redeye takes over the town of Oblivion and begins turning the place into his home base for his various illegal activities. News of Marshall Stone's death reaches his only son, Zach (Richard Joseph Paul) who is working in the Outback mining for the highly precious metal dreconian. Zach heads back to Oblivion with a native he rescued from death and Oblivion's funeral master. Zach has no intention of getting even for his father's murder, but when he gets to Oblivion and sees how much damage is being caused by no one standing up, he decides to take control and bring law and order back to town.
As far as films go, OBLIVION really isn't terrible. The story is a typical Western-type story, but the production values are fairly decent.
The movie does have a very campy feel to it, however. This is because of two major reasons. To begin with, the film doesn't follow the pattern of any one genre. The movie is most like a Western, but it's not like any other Western I've ever seen. There's lots and lots of comedy, including dumb one-liners and off-beat visual effects, e.g. the funeral home looks like a casket and there are overhead fans outside. There's elements of sci-fi with the alien bad guy, the power metal of dreconian, and the giant scorpions. There's a little bit of gore, romance, and even some innuendo of bondage. The movie seems to start off wanting to be a straight action piece, then shifts gears into high comedy, before ending in the action genre again. The other reason for the campiness is the unusual well-known B-movie cast secondary stars. Julie Newmar (who played Catwoman in the 1960s BATMAN tv series) is dressed in a skintight cat costume portraying a woman named Miss Kitty who has some feline attributes and runs the local saloon, George Takei portrays the local doctor/inventor, Doc Valentine, and constantly says lines directly ripped from STAR TREK, Isaac Hayes plays a tavern/pawn-shop owner named Buster who has a soft and squeaky voice, and Carel Struycken (famous for Lurch on THE ADDAMS FAMILY movies) plays the funeral director and undertaker Gaunt. There are several other performers who parody other roles they have played which provide for some laughs, but is also something that becomes dry after awhile.
Overall, OBLIVION isn't a terrible movie and if you don't mind the camp-factor, then it can provide for a relatively fun ninety minutes of cheesy entertainment.
I was more than pleasantly surprised (they had me with the streetlights/fans/girders): loved the art direction/set design. Filled with in-jokes of the hit or miss variety (some brought out a laugh, some were groans), this was a standard plot for Westerns. The prodigal son reluctantly returns to his home town and he's not warmly welcomed by the residents. That alone wouldn't have been enough to hold my interest, it was the rest, the odd bits that popped up now and then, that made me enjoy this romp through the wild west (after taking a turn through The Twilight Zone first).
Loved most of the characters but especially Julie Newmar as Miss Kitty and Meg Foster as Stell Barr. The only two clinkers in the cast were Musetta Vander as Lash and George Takei as Doc Valentine (trading on his time with Star Trek). They crossed too far over the line and went from being caricatures to just plain grotesque. The problem with this type of humor is that it works, because everyone is in on the joke, or it doesn't, because it misses being funny by a smile. "Jim....Beam me up." Or the Bingo sequence during a funeral, funny once, but they just wouldn't let it go. That's the only fault I could find with this piece; knowing and not knowing when to let a joke settle in on its own.
I liked it, I'm keeping it, and I'm looking forward to watching it again sometime.
I sure as hell did and always will.