Arrow in the Head reviews Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar, a sci-fi adventure starring Michael Pare, directed by Garo Setian
PLOT: Space scavengers and a group of mercenaries race across the cosmos in a search for a long-lost freighter that is said to contain great treasure.
REVIEW: I have a lot of admiration for filmmakers who don’t let financial limitations stifle their creativity or force them to minimize the scope of their stories. In that regard, there’s a lot to admire about director Garo Setian’s sci-fi adventure film Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar. Just like the title instantly brings to mind Star Wars, Space Wars is reminiscent of the low budget sci-fi movies producers like Roger Corman pumped out in the wake of the original Star Wars’ success. You know, movies like Battle Beyond the Stars and the movies that featured stock footage from Battle Beyond the Stars. Space Wars just happens to have been made on an even lower budget than those had.
In his feature debut, the killer robot movie Automation, Setian featured more impressive special effects than you would expect to see in a movie with such a limited budget. He does the same in Space Wars – but on a much larger scale. Armed with a budget that other filmmakers would use to make a movie about people interacting in one location, Setian has made a universe-trotting adventure that takes place on different planets, space stations, and space ships, featuring alien creatures and action sequences that take place in the far reaches of space, including a chase through an asteroid field like in The Empire Strikes Back.
Michael Paré, who first gained attention from both the mainstream and fans of cult movies back in the ‘80s with the likes of Eddie and the Cruisers and Streets of Fire, and has plenty of sci-movie and Starhunter experience, stars as space scavenger Kip Corman. (And giving a nod to Roger Corman with the character’s name was a nice touch.) The year is 2980, and Kip roams the final frontier with his daughter Taylor (Sarah French), looking for a big score. By this time, scientists have figured out how to extract the soul from a dead body and use it to create a blue liquid called Essence, which can then be placed in a cyborg body to bring the dead person back to life. Kip’s wife / Taylor’s mom was recently killed in an accident, and while they have her Essence, they don’t have enough credits to complete the process of bringing her back in a cyborg body. This lack of funds leads them onto the adventure of the title, the Quest for the Deepstar, a long-lost freighter that is said to hold great treasure. Kip and Taylor team up with a celestial cartographer named Jackie (Anahit Setian), who claims to know how to locate the Deepstar.
Finding the Deepstar and its treasure would be treacherous enough, but the script by Joe Knetter (who crafted the story with the director) throws more problems at Kip, Taylor, and Jackie: not only are a group of mercenaries also seeking the Deepstar, but Kip is also being chased across the cosmos by his insane former employer Elnora (Sadie Katz). While Elnora is entertainingly unhinged for all of her scenes, the group of mercenaries are more layered characters. There’s the leader Dykstra (Olivier Gruner), his dedicated lackey Nina (Rachele Brooke Smith), the bloodthirsty Manx (Jed Rowen), and Wade (Tyler Gallant)… a guy who might actually be redeemable. There are some interesting scenes with this group, especially once Taylor ends up on their ship and starts trying to mess with their dynamic.
Some viewers will be put off by Space Wars right away due to its low budget. There’s a CG action sequence in the opening moments that will be deciding factor on whether or not viewers will be able to go on this ride or not. But if you can go along with a modern version of ‘80s sci-fi cheapies, there’s entertainment to be found in this one. Kip and Taylor are a fine pair of heroes, and their interactions with Jackie are fun. Setian and Knetter have put a good group of villains up against them, and also keep the action coming at a steady pace. I can’t say I was wrapped up in the story for every moment of the film’s 90 minute running time, but I could appreciate what the filmmakers were doing. I also liked that there were some twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting, and that it all wraps up with such a heartwarming ending.
Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar won’t be for everyone. You probably already know whether or not it’s for you. But there’s definitely an audience that will have a good time watching it. This one didn’t connect with me as well as Automation did, but it’s fun – and if there were to be more adventures in the Space Wars universe, I would watch them too.
Uncork’d Entertainment is bringing Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar to theatres on April 21st, and a digital release will follow on May 2nd. Here’s the list of theatres:
April 21-27: Lumiere Cinema, Beverly Hills, CA (Q&A on first night) Camelot Theatres, Palm Springs, CA
April 22: The Frida Cinema, Santa Ana, CA (Q&A with cast and crew)
April 28-May 3: Galaxy Theatres Boulevard Mall, Las Vegas, NV
April 28 & 29: Moonlite Drive-in, West Wyoming, PA (double bill w/ ESCAPE FROM DEATH BLOCK 13)
April 30: Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival, Miami, FL
May 5 & 6: The Fallon Theatre, Fallon, NV
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/space-wars-quest-for-the-deepstar-review/