Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996) **
D: Brian Trenchard-Smith
C: Warwick Davis, Brent Jasmer, Jessica Collins, Guy Siner, Rebecca Carlton, Gary Grossman, Tim Colceri, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Debbe Dunning, Rick Peters, Ladd York
Plot Synopsis: Our deadly leprechaun is in space to woo a beautiful princess who is impressed with his gold and desires to separate him from it.
Review: Usually, when a franchise shifts the action to outer space, it's a last ditch attempt to give the series some sort of relevancy or freshness. In Leprechaun 4, the people behind this production are all too aware of this. So, instead of trying to create a serious attempt at making a horror movie, they have fun parodying the sci-fi genre.
The premise, involving a leprechaun who kills the members spacecraft in order to be reunited with his galactic bride, is perfectly illogical. The scenarios are perfectly absurd. The effects look perfectly cheap. The sets look perfectly lowbrow. The characters are perfectly idiotic caricatures. The cast recites perfectly ridiculous dialogue. The casting is perfectly exaggerated, especially Brent Jasmer who looks like a cross between Dolph Lundgren & Sylvester Stallone.
In terms of visuals, it perfectly evokes the feeling of an underfunded space saga from the 60's or 70's. In terms of writing, this is a film that knows what it's trying to accomplish and does so with precision. Yet, despite a solid foundation, it never quite scores a home run. Like Leprechaun 3, which also happened to be directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, the direction is flat.
On one hand, the performances & visuals are spot on. So, Trenchard-Smith deserves credit for that. On the other, the staging, editing, score & camera compositions are all flat. There's a scene that's spoofing 2001 in which the most ridiculous things imaginable are seen floating through space complete with a score aping 2001. This should've been a great moment, but it never reaches that potential. The score doesn't exude that larger then life quality of 2001. The photography isn't stylized. The editing allows for scene to simply be presented vs giving them an intricate quality. If these elements had been in place, it would've accentuated the humor in that an absurd scene is given an epic scale.
It's not just this scene, but every scene throughout the entire movie. The people behind this have lots of clever jokes & punch lines, but they don't fully understand how to present them. As a result, we get lots of chuckles, but no laugh out loud moments. [R] 95 minutes.
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