Saturday, July 26, 2014

Only now does it occur to me... ARENA

Only now does it occur to me...  that BLOODSPORT: IN SPACE basically exists.  It's called ARENA, and though it's not nearly as good as you'd hope, it does indeed deliver on its promise of dudes in rubbery costumes wailing on each other in a futuristic gladiator superdome.
  
 


The responsible parties include Full Moon Pictures' Charles Band, HALLOWEEN I-III producer Irwin Yablans, and TRANCERS and ROCKETEER writers Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo.  Though technically not a Full Moon Picture, it certainly feels like one; and in terms of Charles Band's science-fiction offerings, it's not quiiiiite as good as TRANCERS, VICIOUS LIPS, or ROBOT JOX, though they are fairly creative with the creatures and costumes, given the (clearly) low budget.

A few things of note:

Our human champion Steve Armstrong (there hasn't been one in fifty years) undergoes the typical hero's journey, from making smoothies at the arena snack bar to delivering knuckle sandwiches to space monsters.

He's played by Paul Satterfield, whom you may recognize as Deke from "The Raft" segment of CREEPSHOW 2.

English folk singer Hamilton Camp basically plays an Ian Holm-ish, four-armed "Mickey" from ROCKY:


Marc Alaimo (TOTAL RECALL, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE) is the fight-fixin' corporate baddie

 and he plays it kind of like a poor man's Jeffrey Jones, which is fine by me.

There's an imitation Admiral Ackbar puttin' away the pints at the local dive bar:

The real Admiral Ackbar in RETURN OF THE JEDI:  "It's a trap!"


Poor man's Ackbar: "What's on tap?"


And our "Chong Li" figure– a.k.a., the big villain who our hero takes on in the tournament championship– is basically a Cyborg Minotaur.  I really appreciate that.


In closing, it's fun enough paracinematic garbage, but it never reaches the illustrious heights or depths of a BLOODSPORT or a ROBOT JOX.  But I, and anyone capable of sentient thought, ought to be overjoyed that it simply exists.

2 comments:

Mike B. said...

Whoa! Hot on the heels of that Garris stinker, you continue to amaze this summer with some deep, deep dives into the bargain-bin/off brand/pay cable abyss! I remember trying to sit through this one multiple times back in the day, and I just couldn't do it. I may have to try again someday. I do recall the Full Moon feel, but it was just so stiflingly dull, lacking even the Band-ian pluck of something like "Ticks," or heck, even lesser fare like "Hideous!" I'll now have to go look up your "Robot Jox" review, which I did see years ago and only remember as a film that, in its own weighty seriousness, seemed completely unaware that it was a low-budget film called "Robot Jox!"

Sean Gill said...

Mike,

Glad you're diggin' the dives into the bargain bin. It was a pretty rough one to get through, but I still have to appreciate it– to some extent– just by virtue of it being a fighting tournament movie. However, I legitimately enjoy ROBOT JOX, and I'd sing its praises from the rooftops!