Leprechaun 4: In Space Review
Warwick Davis, Cher is your mother.
Look, I talk about some stuff that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but trust me: I swear this movie really happened. You won’t believe this, but it was released straight to video. I’m not ready to say something like “A once proud franchise goes down the shitter” because, let’s face it, Leprechaun was never exactly what you would call a good franchise, but it was better than this. Jennifer Aniston starred in the original- and now we’re watching a movie called Leprechaun in Space? How did we get here from the last movie, Leprechaun 3, which was about… well, okay, it was about the Leprechaun getting to Las Vegas, but still. I think.
This film is deep in the straight-to-video low budget tradition of taking a script with no connection to any other film and calling it a sequel for another. If this sounds strange to you, I’d like to point you in the direction of the Witchcraft series, which has been doing this since the second film. “But sure,” you might retort, “But the Leprechaun is a more famous character!” And you’d be right. But before you do your victory dance, this is nowhere close to the only time a “major” franchise character was stuck in one of these exercises- some of the latter day Hellraiser films employ this strategy, and I’ve long suspected that the last Halloween film does the same. So we can’t be too shocked that this is going on. What we can be a little shocked at, though, is that the film is a sci-fi shitstain of epic proportions, the Ben-Hur of crap.
This is actually the climax of the movie. Really.
So the film ignores the previous installments and just starts off in space. This would be effective- we might have just fallen asleep during the last film, after all- except the CGI used to render the spaceship is, even by 1997 standards, somewhere between “A box of Cap n’ Crunch” and “Kip Wells” in terms of objects that look like a real spaceship. We’re soon introduced to the Leprechaun himself, who has taken some princess hostage and wants to make her his wife so he can be a king. The Leprechaun has apparently made some wise investments in the last millennia or so, because he’s rich and this alone convinces the princess (who is, you know, your typical do-it-yourself evil princess character) to go through with the plan. Then, marines that look like the bizarro version of the military in Aliens go into a cave and take out the Leprecuhaun. Fortunately for our story, and I am not making this up, the spirit of the Leprechaun travels up a stream of pee into a soldier. You can guess which body part.
So through this method, the Leprechaun invades the ship and slowly takes out a team of marines, a mad scientist with a fantastic German accent, balding Rick Moranis, and the usual blonde attractive biologist who can’t fit in with the marines due to a college education. Considering that even in 2012 a college education is why a lot of people join the military, this is probably the twenty-eighth worst plot point of the film.
In Space, everyone is travelling on a disguised Segway.
The mad scientist ends up being, in a shocking twist, mad, and wants to use the now-recovered princess’s blood to regenerate his body. Unfortunately, he pisses off the Leprechaun in doing so and, as we all anticipated, turns into a half-spider mad scientist. This really happens. Before long, we’re in a pitched battle between marines in contract negotiations against a space-leprechaun, which is really the worst kind.
What I’m getting at here is, not only does this have nothing to do with the previous movies, it also has nothing to do with being Irish, or anything like that. What’s really amazing about the film, though, is that once you think it has finally made the craziest possible decision, it will find a way to up it, in a burst of either brilliance or mania- I’d love to say it’s intentional, but I’m sorry, I just don’t know. Grinding a spider into someone’s life-support thing turning a dead mad scientist into a spider? Weird. Having a princess flash marines and give a speech about how seeing her topless means they are condemned to die? Kind of crazy, but honestly better than anything the Italians were gonna think up. Immediately following this up with a sergeant performing a random crossdressing dance? Hmm. Immediately following that up with the revelation that the sergeant was an android? Do you see what I mean? And this keeps coming! One amazing occurrence after another cascades upon you with such speed and ferocity that you stop flailing your arms in surprise. You just kind of take it in.
Is that what the film set out to achieve? I’m not sure, only that I can’t imagine any film taking as many consecutive turns to left field unless it was intentional. It’s sort of like when Mankind fought Undertaker at King of the Ring (and THAT, ladies and gents, is the all time obtuse Baryonyx reference) and seeing Mankind keep taking bumps from the steel cage, through tables, then through the cage itself, on to tacks spread over the ring. It just sort of pounds you into submission after awhile. And, to be fair, that’s probably for the best. It wasn’t going to pull any effect like this off through storytelling, that’s for sure.
Does this look like a story you want to see?
Strangely, this sort of thing would actually become the calling card for the Leprechaun series. He wouldn’t go back to space, but in his next film, he went to… the hood.
Again. This really happened.
And whatever you might think about the Leprechaun being in space, when the sequel has Ice-T in a starring role, you’re either jumping the shark or punching the shark in the face, tying it up, peeing on it, and making it watch Season 2 of Elf on DVD. Making the shark your slave. Flicking off the concept of the shark. That’s Leprechaun in a nutshell, aware of how long ago it passed the shark, and keeping on anyway.