Halloween Endurance Test: Leprechaun 4: in Space (1997)

It’s amazing what a difference a second viewing can make. Upon watching Leprechaun 4: In Space the first time, I was irate. It played slow through its 95 minutes, the running bit of how many vehicles the Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) uses was dropped, exchanged instead with numerous death scenes. I have friends who refused to give up on it though. (Their identities will remain secret as this is the way nasty rumors get started and empires fall.) They point out that it predates my beloved Jason X by a good four years. And if I love Jason in space, why not our little Leprechaun?

So upon a second viewing, I realized that, while flawed, it does have some strong points. So what I’ll do here is list my original, “hated it” notes along with any additional retorts I might have towards my past self. Original notes will be in normal font, retorts in bold. Please try to enjoy.

(Please note this change in review structure has absolutely nothing to do with my accidentally saving the Paranormal Activity 3 review over my original Leprechaun 4: In Space review. I mean, watch the film a third time? Can you imagine what a cluster-fuck of opinions that’d be?)

——————————————————————————————————————–

Point 1: The Space Marines in the movie don’t sound or look authentic. Their “Yes, Sir’s” sound hollow. I don’t believe any of these actors have been through boot camp, or even a pretend, preparatory boot camp. They’re just not buff enough.

[Yet the mixing of sci-fi dork-dom with horror movie franchise-iness is certainly just as appealing as it was in Jason X. Plus, the bits of the sergeant’s metallic skull that’s showing through his scalp is kind of cool. Plus, his name is literally ‘Metal Head’ (Tim Colceri).]

Point 2: Harem girls on the Planet of the Leprechauns? Okay, this film is losing points now. Either have your sci-fi crap, or your fantasy crap, but you can’t have both. Especially if you’re trying to shoehorn that concoction into a horror movie. Princess Zarina’s (Rebekah Carlton) costume is just pandering to fanboy nerds now.

[This point still holds true. The movie’s biggest flaw is its three, barely intertwined subplots masquerading as an actual plot. You’ve got the Leprechaun/Princess Zarina marriage plot, the Space Marines vs Leprechaun plot, and, on top of it all, a mad robotic scientist who morphs into a scorpion/spider-hybrid, Dr. Mittenhand (Guy Sinner), and wants to blow up the spaceship all fighting for screen time.]

Point 3: The Leprechaun movie where he wears a tuxedo and speaks the King’s English? Misquoting Shakespeare (“As Shakespeare said, ‘Shit happens.'”) while we’re at it? Even all his annoying rhyming is gone. Not to mention a Monty Python reference (“flesh wounds”) and an Alice in Wonderland one (“Off with their heads!”). This movie’s so far in the future that it’s post-modern!

[Winning back lots of points now.]

Point 4: One interesting plot twist, changing up the standard structure of these films is the Leprechaun/Zarina love plot. The Leprechaun wants her so he can get his hands on the King’s gold, while Zarina wants him for his gold. Normally he’s not this conniving, he’s just revenge-based.

[I still stand behind this change-up. It was so shocking that I even failed to notice how the Leprechaun fails to recognize Zarina’s own conniving subplot the first time around. Sure, he wanted her father’s money, but I think deep down he might’ve loved her a bit too.]

Point 5: Director Brian Trenchard-Smith (Leprechaun 3) doesn’t get enough credit for at least trying to make the Leprechaun dangerous. Gone are most of the telekinesis traps, as the Leprechaun has upgraded to lightsabers at this point. Lightsabers which are soon traded for sub-machine guns!

[I know, I know, reading that does make it sound like a trade-down. Leprechaun using guns though, sets the stage for the next two sequels: Leprechaun: In Da Hood and Leprechaun: Back 2 Da Hood.]

Point 6: A grenade blows the Leprechaun apart. but he manages to posthumously infect an unsuspecting Marine with his essence when the Marine pisses on his corpse? Forget Jason X, this film’s literally taking possession plot points from Jason Goes to Hell: the Final Friday!

[I’m not a big fan of how many times the Leprechaun dies and comes back to life in this film. I prefer having one tough way to beat him rather than 95,000 cheap deaths that never hold. The Leprechaun’s rebirth, tearing, full-grown, a la Xtro, out of the Marine’s penis is a franchise favorite, however.]

(Mini) Point 7: The Leprechaun also impersonates John Wayne before a subtle Aliens nod with a shot of a scorpion in a jar just like a face-hugger.

[Have I mentioned how post-modern this movie is yet?]

Point 8: Finally, an original death so awesome it’s practically iconic! The Leprechaun slices a Hazmat suit open inside a room contaminated with flesh-eating bacteria, and the Marine is reduced to a pile of gory bones.

[I really can’t complain about that one. A perfect blend of sci-fi and horror; making up for the horribly (in a bad way) unbloody penis-birthing scene.]

(Mini) Point 9: Wait… if the Leprechaun can shoot fire out of his hands, why does he steal the Space Marines’ guns? Why not just do your own thing and throw fireballs.

[The Leprechaun should have kept wearing that tuxedo from earlier. You can’t top that.]

Point 10: the ending centers around one important piece of futuristic space-age equipment: the shrinking/enlarging ray. Could there have possibly been anyone in the crowd that didn’t see that ray and predict, “I bet the Leprechaun is gonna get shot with that and grow to upwards of 40ft?” And let’s not get me started about why they’d also decide to shrink the Leprechaun’s gold. He only has upwards of a hundred gold coins, and the Space Marines’ cargo hold is huge!

[The whole “open the airlock so the Leprechaun gets sucked out into space” ending is kind of a given too. I mean, he’s died every other type of death in this movie. Stabbed in the back, blown up by grenade, shot in the head at close range by an assault rifle, just to name a few. So they needed something that he couldn’t come back from; the void it is!]

—WANT MORE LEPRECHAUN?—

Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood

Leprechaun in the Hood

Leprechaun 3

Leprechaun 2

Leprechaun

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