Film (1996). Goldcrest Films International, Peter Newman Productions and InterAL. Produced and directed by Stuart Gordon. Written by Gordon and Ted Mann. Cast includes Barbara Crampton, Charles Dance, Stephen Dorff, Olwen Fouéré, Dennis Hopper, Tim Loane, Debi Mazar, Shane Rimmer and George Wendt. 95 minutes. Colour.
Ramshackle mises en scene, some garish over-acting, a careless handling of the underlying dynamic of conflict between Outer Planets and inner planets of our Solar System, and some sense that Space Truckers should have been made before Red Dwarf (1988-current) rather than after, may explain why this obvious candidate for sleeper status has never awoken much twenty-first century interest. Much of the acting – John Dance and Dennis Hopper in particular – is at least as outlandish as asked for.
A corporation research station on Titan (see Outer Planets) is attacked by an apparently rogue Cyborg; its true master E J Scaggs (Rimmer) is not harmed, though the cyborg Inventor Nabel (Dance) is apparently killed. Elsewhere in deep space, a gamy trio – space trucker John Canyon (Hopper), his then-girlfriend Cindy (Mazar), and Mike Pucci (Dorff) – engage to transport to Earth what turns out to be a cargo of cyborgs, part of Scaggs's plan to benefit from the Invasion of the home planet. En route, the trio are captured by space pirate Captain Macanudo, who is the rebuilt Nabel (still Dance) in disguise; he tells them what they've been transporting, but a cyborg activates and kills him, this time for good. After some emotional to-ing and fro-ing, the trio agree to plunge their ship into Earth's atmosphere, destroying the still-dormant cyborg horde, though they escape. On earth, their destruction of the cyborgs not yet known, they accept a suitcase of money from Scaggs, who has become president of the now-privatized planet; but Pucci disgustedly hurls the suitcase out the window of their high-rise. It falls onto Scaggs's limousine just as he triggers the bomb he had planted in it. The team of truckers and truckers' sparky molls (Cindy's mother Carol [Crampton] has left Suspended Animation to join the crew as Canyon's girl), return to the space road in a new ship. The novelization is Space Truckers (1997) by Jim Mortimore. [JC]