Space Truckers initially centres around intergalactic delivery driver John Canyon (Dennis Hopper) taking wide loads from A to B across the universe, in his space truck known as Bitchin’ Betty, but when dropping into the diner where waitress Cindy works (Debi Mazar), to whom he’s forever proposing, and there he also meets drifter Mike Pucci (Stephen Dorff). For reasons that don’t really make any sense, they head off together, go right into the scum cluster, full of black rock (yes, me neither), and end up drifting, making them think that the end isn’t far away… and they’re almost right, as the main baddie, pirate captain Macanudo (Charles Dance), is here to make their lives a bigger hell.
The one-liners/exchanges don’t make you laugh out loud, although after an earlier situation at the start of the film, and having put himself back together, Macanudo tells Cindy, “I rebuilt my own mind”, to which she replies in a Brooklyn accent, “So you got a home-made brain(!)”
The plus to this film is that instead of relying a lot on lazy CGI, a ton of practical effects are used, while Dance’s spaceship is created in a computer, his new body is real, and a bit of a laugh to take in. In fact, it does look quite an expensive film at times, whilst also looking cheap, so it’s a very odd mix. The actual budget was around $27m, as the director confirms in his interview in the extras.
In fact, it’s so low-budget that even in an early scene where Hopper punches a baddie in the face, and he spins backwards in zero gravity, no-one’s bothered to CGI out the wires that hold him!
For the package itself, while the audio said it was just stereo on the box, it’s a definite DTS 5.1 soundmix. Not only did my amp confirm this, but you can easily tell there’s split-surround audio in the opening scene.
Plus, for no apparent reason, the end credits are slightly off-centre to the right. This will be something on the original print, but… oh well, I said it was low-budget.
As you’ll gather from the score below, this film didn’t wholly work for me, but fans will definitely want to pick this up.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, and in 1080p high definition. Early on, there’s some shimmering on the image. This sometimes happens with older films where the print wasn’t looked after too well, but later on, things get better. This is down to the start of the film being on the outside of the reel. Also, the picture looks rather softer than I’d like, but did I mention it’s a low-budget movie?
The audio is in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, and don’t expect huge amounts of split-surround action throughout the film, but when it does happen, as I said, it is used to great effect.
The extras are as follows:
- Space Trucking With Stuart Gordon (22:53): The director talks about his frustrations about how he didn’t work for three years after directing Fortress, a Christopher Lambert sci-fi movie which I really enjoyed, and was successful, but no-one picked up Gordon for another film for a while, and he says this is par for the course after speaking to other directors. There’s a lot of great anecdotes in this, and yes, those wires in that early scene do get a mention!
Something is really up with this sound, though, as while the film clips mixed in have their dialogue in the front channels, the director’s speech is echoing all around the speakers as if he’s been interviewed in an echo chamber. Quality control must’ve had the day off.
- The Art of Space Truckers (8:07): with art director Simon Lamont. Both this and the next interview aren’t as engaging as the first, but they’re worth a look for the completist.
- Scoring Space Truckers (12:31): with composer Colin Towns.
The main menu features clips from the film, along with a short piece of the theme, Highway Junkie by Chris Knight, and there’s a decent number of chapters with 16. Subtitles are in English.
Space Truckers is released today on Blu-ray, and you can see an unboxing of the disc below. Also, check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.
Running time: 96 mins
Distributor: Second Sight
Released: May 14th 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Stuart Gordon
Producers: Mary Breen-Farrelly, Stuart Gordon, Greg Johnson, Ted Mann and Peter Newman
Screenplay: Ted Mann
Music: Colin Towns
John Canyon: Dennis Hopper
Mike Pucci: Stephen Dorff
Cindy: Debi Mazar
Nabel / Macanudo: Charles Dance
EJ Saggs: Shane Rimmer
Keller: George Wendt
Bitchin’ Betty: Sandra Dickinson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.