May 27, 2015

Movie Review: Leprechaun 4 - In Space

Despite taking 1996 off, the Leprechaun franchise was clearly not over with. I mean, Leprechaun 3 (the first to be released direct to video) was the biggest selling direct to video title of 1995. Consider that the budget could not have been too high, there really wasn't a question that there would be another incarnation on the home video market. It doesn't really matter how bad the movies were, people were buying them, and when there is money to be made, movies will be made. Now, the key is to freshen things up. We have had the gold bit, the wife bit, and then more gold, what to do to bring some new life to the franchise? Send it to space!

Early 1997 saw the release of Leprechaun 4: In Space. What a grand idea, let's take our diminutive, gold loving killer and put him out in the middle of nowhere. It is sure to rake in the gold! Right? Well, that's what Trimark was thinking when they produced it. Brian Trenchard-Smith (Night of the Demons 2) returns to the director's chair after helming the successful third outing. Handling screenplay duties is Dennis A. Pratt, who, prior to taking a little Irish guy into space, penned Kickboxer 3: The Art of War.

On pretty much all fronts, this is not a good movie. The funny thing is that I actually kind of enjoyed it. It successfully shook up the franchise by sort of making it as a spoof of Alien. I am not sure that was the intention, but there is definitely some influence. What I did read was that the original impetus for going to space was Apollo 13 and the original concept was to spoof that space flick before it morphed into the movie that exists today.

The story is a simple one. A team of space guns for hire are sent on a contract to a mining moon to clear out some sort of infestation. What they find is the Leprechaun having a romantic dinner with his captive date, an alien princess (Rebecca Carlton). He plans to marry her to become a king. Well, dinner is interrupted by the guns for hire and everyone winds up back on their ship. The Leprechaun is somehow birthed by one of the men in a comical bit reminiscent of the scene in Alien. What follows is the guns for hire trying to take out the Leprechaun, while the green guy takes them out one by one in an attempt to leave with his would be bride.

Of the trio of sequels, this might be my favorite. Of course, it might also be my least favorite. Weird. I like how it confines our space (which is helpful for the low budget), this also limits our cast and allows us to spend some more time with our victims. The writing seems better for the set characters. I also like the space thing, silly for sure, but I like it. However, this movie also features the weakest writing for the title character. For one, they never refer to him as a leprechaun and he never rhymes. It was rather awkward not hearing the guy deliver any killer rhymes.

Again, while I did get a little entertainment value, this is not a good movie. The acting is terrible, the writing pretty bad, and the effects are laughable. I did like seeing Miguel Nunez in the cast, although it feels like a bit of a slide to end up here after roles in Return of the Living Dead and Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning. Still, he livened things up a bit, but not really enough to save it.

At the center of Leprechaun 4: In Space is Warwick Davis. It may not be his best turn as the titular killer, but he was still made for this part, no matter how poor the movies actually are. I am not recommending the movie, I have weird taste some time and I don't really like this much, but comparatively speaking, I could see myself watching this again.

Not Recommended.

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