Space Mutiny (also known as Mutiny in Space) is a legendarily bad 1988 South African science-fiction action film starring Reb Brown about, surprisingly enough, a mutiny aboard the spaceship known as the Southern Sun.
The Southern Sun is a seedship, a spacefaring vessel full of colonists out to settle a new world. Its voyage has lasted generations, so many of its inhabitants have been born and will die without ever setting foot on solid ground. This does not please the antagonist, Elijah Kalgan (not be confused with Calgon), who conspires with the pirates infesting the nearby Corona Borealis system and the ship's Chief Engineer MacPhearson. Kalgan hatches a plot to disrupt the Southern Sun's navigation systems and use the Enforcers, the ship's police force, to hijack the ship and direct it towards this system. At this point, the inhabitants of the Southern Sun will have no choice but to accept his 'generosity'.
Kalgan sabotages the vessel's guidance system just as an important professor's shuttle is on a landing trajectory, causing it to crash (offscreen). The ship's pilot, Dave Ryder, is able to escape, but the professor dies in the explosion. This sabotage seals off the flight deck for a number of weeks, allowing Kalgan and the Enforcers to hold the entire population of the Southern Sun hostage. Commander Jansen and Captain Devers enlist Ryder's assistance, aided begrudgingly by Jansen's daughter Dr. Lea Jansen, to regain control of the ship.
Space Mutiny was filmed in South Africa during The Apartheid Era (a fact understandably not mentioned on the end credits — see also Prisoners of the Lost Universe, Golden Rendezvous, Hellgate, etc.), which some viewers think ties in to all the pseudo-fascistic goings-on. The film also borrows almost all of its spaceship footage from Battlestar Galactica, including using the Galactica itself as a stand in for the Southern Sun.
For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page. The film was also featured on RedLetterMedia's Best of the Worst.
Tropes used in Space Mutiny:
- Action Girl: For an 80s heroine, Lea is actually pretty involved in the fighting.
- And Starring: The credits have "And Introducing: Cissy Cameron". Aside from misspelling Cisse Cameron's name, she was in quite a few movies before this and this was actually her 2nd to last film.
- Anti-Climax: With the movie involving spectacular space battles via the Battlestar Galactica footage you'd kind of expect that to be involved in the final showdown between hero and villain. Instead they have a chase sequence with the goofy floor scrubber vehicles in the basement of the ship.
- Artistic License – Space:
- "Constellation" is used as a meaningful locational term.
- And windows in deep space can somehow bring in a stream of sunlight! This would be possible if they were near a star system at the time, but exterior shots of the Southern Sun show that they're not. Even if they were, raw sunlight shining through a spaceship's windows would be very harmful, since there's no ozone layer or atmosphere to block most of its ultraviolet rays.
- Given the fact that people from outside the ship's crew are shown flying onto the Southern Sun, and the fact that diverting the ship to another system was even a plausible thing to do, it's clear that either the writers didn't get the point of a generational ship or that generational ships had become unnecessary in the ten generations since the ship was launched with the crew sticking to their now redundant multi-generational mission out of pure stubbornness.
- Artistic License – Military: Whoever wrote this didn't seem to know that, in the Navy, Captain is supposed to outrank Commander, because Captain Devers is shown to be subordinate to Commander Jansen. It's worth noting that the original Battlestar Galactica had a similar rank structure with Commander as the highest-ranking officer on the ship, making it possible that the film-makers were cribbing more than just special effects shots from the show.
- A-Team Firing: Lea among others had poor aim. With both Kalgan and Ryder's "speeders" bearing down on her, she fires at Kalgan... and manages to hit Ryder's speeder, temporarily disabling it.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The guy standing out in the open shooting the (extremely short range) flamethrower at people armed with laser guns. Fortunately they're all lousy shots.
- Back from the Dead: Due to poor editing, a woman who was murdered reappears (as a background character without any lines) in the very next scene.
- Badass Bookworm: Lea is a doctor, after all.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: Steve Codell says he'd rather jump to his doom than join Kalgan (or be put on ice). He's just climbing over the railing when Kalgan gives him a push. This is somewhat odd as Kalgan previously offered Codell a chance to join his side instead of being killed. Apparently it did not occur to Codell to simply pretend to join Kalgan's side and attempt an escape later on.
- Big Bad: Elijah Kalgan leads the mutiny.
- Big "NO!": What Kalgan shouts instead of jumping out of the vehicle he's in to avoid a collision, like the hero just did.
- Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: The Fixed Forward Facing Weapons on the Enforcer vehicles seem to be able to shoot at any angle other than straight along the barrel.
- Board to Death: MacPhearson kills one of his engineers who refuses to cooperate with the planned mutiny during a meeting scene complete with a big conference table.
- Breast Plate: A rare male example. Kalgon's bodyguard (who is No Name Given in the movie, but called Lobster Boy by fans) wears what looks like some sort of red sports padding over his upper body with nothing underneath, in stark contrast to the rest of the Enforcers (including the one female Enforcer we see) who wear full body jumpsuits.
- Bridge Bunnies: Some of whom are dressed so scantily they may as well be Playboy Bunnies. At one point Mike notes that one lady's hair hides her entire outfit and she looks like she's sitting around nude.
- The Captain: Captain Devers has the rank of Captain, but Commander Jansen actually runs the ship.
- Captain Obvious: The Commander theorizes that the saboteur is "someone who knows his way around spaceships". Well that should cut it down a bit, given that virtually everyone on board had literally spent their entire lives on the Southern Sun.
- Chase Scene: Done with floor waxers, which our hero could just as easily chase after on foot. In fact, Lea catches up to the chase by running down a side corridor in heels.
- The Chosen One: The Bellerians spend most of their scenes dancing around a plasma ball, possibly seeing into the future or influencing current events. They seem to believe that Ryder is destined to save the ship, though their dialogue makes it very unclear.
- Constellations as Locations: Constellations are repeatedly referred to as meaningful divisions of space.
- Cool Starship: The Southern Sun. Except it's the Galactica.
- Covers Always Lie: Sort of. The Agony Booth tells us that the VHS packaging claims the film features "breathtaking special effects from the team that brought you Star Wars." This is technically true, in the sense that the team that worked on Star Wars went on to do SFX for the original Battlestar Galactica series, Stock Footage from which was used for Space Mutiny. The rest of the film's special effects, on the other hand...
- Cryptic Background Reference: Someone talks about how the mutiny would "Oppose the Law Of The Universe, The Law Of The Galaxy." We never find out just what the hell he's talking about, and the whole thing just serves as a Hand Wave for why Parsons won't join. (It also seemingly uses galaxy and universe as synonyms, but that's its own problem.)
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- A colony ship that's old enough to have over a dozen generations of people on it can somehow take on three Space Pirate ships and win in a few seconds.
- Any time Ryder fights, he wins.
- Damsel out of Distress: Lea frees herself after being captured and proceeds to accompany the hero through the rest of the movie.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: At first, Lea hates Ryder, blaming him for the death of her friend the professor. Of course, she falls for him the very next scene, after he reveals that he too knew and liked the professor.
- Department of Redundancy Department:
- "We keep this TOP CLASSIFIED SECRET."
- "And there wasn't time to go to the auxiliary backup system."
- "Die Hard" on an X: Die Hard on a Spaceship, in this case.
- Disproportionate Retribution: MacPhearson's being burned to death seems like an oddly sadistic method of killing him, considering that he was cornered and pleading for his life (even if he was likely trying to pull an I Surrender, Suckers), and the most heinous thing that he had personally done, namely killing Engineer Parsons, was something that Ryder didn't actually witness. Notably, the footage of MacPhearson's death is so graphic that the MST3K episode had to cut it, something that they didn't need to do with the actual Big Bad, Kalgan's (apparent) death.
- The Dragon: MacPhearson, to Kalgan.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Awkwardly handled. Ryder kicks the crap out a mook and steals his perfectly fitted costume, even though the guy was half his size. Lea then is able to take another mook's outfit, despite her being half the guy's size. However, it's quickly subverted — the first time they try to pass a security checkpoint, they are challenged for ID and must fight their way out.
- Event Title: It's called Space Mutiny and it's about a mutiny... in space.
- Evil Cripple: MacPhearson, co-conspirator of the mutiny, who needs a cane to get around and occasionally uses it to kill people.
- Evil Is Hammy: John Phillip Law as Kalgan certainly knows what kind of film he's in, and pitches his performance appropriately. Not surprisingly, he gives by far the best performance in the movie.
- Evil Laugh: Kalgan, all the time.
- Evil Plan: Elijah Kalgan seeks to overthrow the government of his Generation Ship, sell anybody not in on his plan into slavery, and use the money to live it up on solid ground.
- Eye Awaken: Kalgan at the ending which no one is shocked by.Servo: "I'm sitting in something wet!"
- Fan Disservice: Leah's fake seduction scene with the balding, flabby guard. Thanks for the zoom in on his pasty chest, movie.
- Lea's dancing scene. She also has a short topless scene in the uncut movie.
- The Bellerians are basically made of this trope. They spend all their time dancing around in swimsuits and gauze and give magical lapdances to the crew.
- Filler: The Bellerians were obviously added at the last minute to fill time. Other than one brief scene with the Commander, nobody involved in the main plot even talks to or about them except in voice-over, and vice versa. Their effect on the plot is tangential at best; in one scene they pointlessly seduce a couple of guards (presumably to sow discord amongst the Enforcers, though no such idea is ever mentioned) , and later on they tell the Commander that there's a mutiny on his ship (which he already knows anyway) while giving him a mystical lapdance. What little interaction they have with the rest of the movie is clearly stitched together in editing from unrelated scenes, with an implication that they are somehow causing various events through magic (or something). The effects in their scenes also take a nosedive even for this movie, consisting entirely of some store-bought plasma balls and a fog machine.
- Fix It in Post: The long list of editors in the opening credits should be a tip-off that this movie likely went through post-production hell. In addition to the Bellerians mentioned above, the whole Pirate Attack subplot built up during the first half of the movie is a hastily thrown together collection of reused scenes from earlier in the movie combined with second-shoot footage of the B-cast explaining the plot to the audience.
- Generation Ships: The Southern Sun is one, but since Ryder and others shuttle back and forth to other locations it isn't at all clear why. The only reasonable explanation, given the size of the ship, is that it is transporting supplies to establish a colony world upon its arrival, but this doesn't explain why the crew are forced into generational slavery to operate the ship en route.
- Godiva Hair: One of the female bridge crew had extremely long hair that just happened to cover what little of a uniform she had on.
- Greek Chorus: The Bellerians don't do much except comment on the goings-on around them... and maybe influence events with their poorly explained magical powers, but that's not entirely clear.
- Groin Attack: Done repeatedly on the same guard, with Lea kicking him in the junk to stun him, then Ryder finishing him off with a shot from his laser pistol to the same spot. Presumably he was intended to be shooting the guard in the stomach or chest, but no one told the special effects department, and they just followed the direction his gun seemed to be pointing.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Lea is able to escape by pretending to seduce a hapless guard.Mike: You're lucky the smart guard is on vacation this week.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Verbatim from Ryder as he's called out for unintentionally causing Professor Spooner's death. It doesn't really make sense though; he was teleported out of his ship by an automated ejection system, meaning that technically he didn't do anything at all, good or bad.
- Idiot Ball:
- About half way through the movie the leaders learn Kalgan is behind the mutiny.The Commander responds by simply relieving him of his rank and making Ryder the new Flight Commander. Instead of executing Kalgan or even throwing him in the brig, they decide it's best to just ignore him. Unsurprisingly, he immediately continues his mutiny attempts.
- At one point Kalgan has Lea prisoner and is subjecting her to Cold-Blooded Torture in order to get her father's "countermeasures". MacPhearson suddenly walks in and says "I see you have the girl", and then says he has to get back to the engine room. For no apparent reason, Kalgan and "Lobster Boy" both leave with him, leaving only a really dumb guard to watch Lea, who she easily seduces and escapes from.
- I Have Your Wife: The mutineers attempt this by capturing the Commander's daughter Lea and threatening to have her Thrown Out the Airlock. Unfortunately for them she's savvy enough to escape on her own.Kalgan: Jansen, I have something to show you.Crow: I got your mother!
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
- The Enforcers miss constantly whenever they aim at anybody important. Their aim against the various Red Shirts still loyal to the Commander is a little better, but even then they seem to miss most of the time. Somewhat unusually, Kalgan's aim isn't any better than his mook's.Mike: They shouldn't have set their phasers to "Miss".
- In a rare heroic variation, Lea not only misses Kalgan coming at her in a slow moving cart, but hits David's cart instead.
- The Enforcers miss constantly whenever they aim at anybody important. Their aim against the various Red Shirts still loyal to the Commander is a little better, but even then they seem to miss most of the time. Somewhat unusually, Kalgan's aim isn't any better than his mook's.
- Informed Ability: Lea says that she's a doctor, but never does or says anything else to back it up. Since she's in the Greenhouse facility a lot, she might be a botanist, but given the nature of the movie, it's likely the detail was added in just so they could have the brief exchange below:David Ryder: Listen lady!Lea: Doctor!Ryder: Doctor!
- In the Back: MacPhearson shooting a bunch of his engineer staff for poorly explained reasons.
- Join or Die: Variant. Kalgan offers a technician who discovers his evil plot to either join or be cryogenically frozen. The technician chooses a third option of dying. Kalgan obliges.
- Kick the Dog: Kalgan stating his intention to sell everybody not in his conspiracy into slavery.
- Kill It with Fire: A, for want of a better word, flamethrower features during the main battle. Later, MacPhearson makes the unwise decision of trying to hide in the Gas Expulsion Sump, which Ryder promptly fills with methane and sets on fire.
- Large Ham: The sheer amount of ham on this spaceship could put Captain Kirk to shame. Not only our hero Ryder qualifies, but also Kalgan and his right-hand flunky MacPhearson. Even Lea gets in on it from time to time.Kalgan: I'm surrounded by incompetence! I'm being undermined by my own disciples!
- Laughably Evil: Kalgan, though not on purpose.
- Made of Explodium: The tiny go-karts in the finale make surprisingly large explosions.
- Malevolent Masked Men: The Enforcers, or at least all those without speaking roles.
- Martyr Without a Cause: The engineer who discovers the missing explosives is given the option to join Kalgan or die, and he picks option #2. It doesn't occur to him to simply pretend to join Kalgan to sabotage his plans or look for an opportunity to escape. Even worse, the options Kalgan gives him are to either join him or be cryogenically frozen. The engineer chooses to jump off the catwalk instead. Even if he was unwilling to pull a Fake Defector, he could have opted to be frozen in hopes of being rescued when the mutiny failed.
- May–December Romance: The Bellerians giving a lapda— ahem, imparting the cosmic truth to the Commander.
- Mickey Mousing: When MacPhearson stabs a dissenting crew member, with a Scare Chord on each stab.
- Mood Whiplash:
- Lea is upset over her professor friend's death, yet walks onto the bridge with a big smile on her face, and then goes to the space disco to party.
- And even though there's a mutiny going on, the good guys have a party on the bridge.
- Mooks: The Enforcers.
- Neutral Female: Lea's attempts to help out in a firefight are marginally effective at best. At worst, she does more damage to Ryder than to Kalgan, because she shoots Ryder's go-kart.
- No New Fashions in the Future: The fashion of the characters' clothes and hair is extremely '80s.
- No Sympathy: A weird example. Lea's friend/mentor Professor Spooner is killed in a shuttle explosion early in the film. She rushes towards the fire in a panic to try and save him and has to be forcibly carried out for her own safety. When she comes to the bridge later, understandably distraught, Captain Devers is the only one who seems remotely sympathetic, telling her that they were worried about her and gently advising her to let the professionals handle fires before asking if she's okay. Then Lea's own father cuts off Devers' kind attempts to talk to her before ripping into her for getting in the way.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Oh yes — a group of gauze-clad Space Witches called Bellerians show up early in the film, and proceed to do nothing for the rest of the film except exposit Fauxlosophically about the plot. Also they dance around in gauzy scarves and skimpy one-piece swimsuits with holes cut in them.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: South African actress Billy Second's American accent as Lt. Lemont wavers very noticeably as noted by the RiffTrax crew during the live show.
- Older Than They Look: Reb Brown (Dave Ryder) was 40 when Space Mutiny came out, but could have passed for being in his mid-20s. He's actually six years older than Cisse Cameron, but thanks to her bad makeup and hair, it makes Ryder's affair with Lea look like a May-December romance.
- Our Graphics Will Suck in the Future: The film simulates the fighting space ships in the beginning with very primitive vector graphics that only show a vague resemblance to their counterparts.
- Paper Tiger: The Pirates are played up as a massive threat for the first half of the movie, but when actually encountered their entire fleet is wiped out in seconds by the Sun's superior firepower (using entirely reused footage).
- People Jars/Human Popsicle: Kalgan tends to freeze prisoners (or failure subordinates) in cryogenic suspension rather than kill them outright. This is actually a fairly canny move, as once he's taken over the ship he can thaw them out so they can still be useful to him. Unfortunately the movie didn't have a budget for a cryogenics lab so they just hung four or five guys wrapped in plastic up on a coat rack.
- Plot Hole: MacPhearson explains to Kalgan that It's Personal between him and Ryder as Ryder's Stingray squad gave him the injury that resulted in his limp without ever explaining how and when that could have happened as the movie implies that MacPhearson was born and raised on the Southern Sun like everyone else.
- We never find out who the hell Professor Spooner is, why he's coming to the ship, or why he's so important. Indeed, he dies without even appearing on screen. It seems to be implied Lea knew him based on how upset she is, but we never learn any more details.
- The Bellerians count as well. Who they are and why they are rescued is never explained. In addition, they are all forced to share a single cargo hold as living quarters (though they don't seem to mind), implying they can't be allowed to just roam the ship freely with everyone else, but again, we never learn why.
- Punch-Clock Villain:
- The Mortuary Keeper is just there running the facility where failed Mooks are frozen until necessary. He may work for the villain, but when the heroes arrive he asks if they need help or would like tea. He also answers all their questions about the Big Bad's Evil Plan. He doesn't really seem evil at all, and is likely being forced to work for Kalgan against his will, if the sad look on his face while Lobster Boy roughs up a goon is any indication.
- You could arguably count the Enforcers as a whole, since they were all forced to Join or Die by Kalgan, though they're at the very least openly mean-spirited.
- Railing Kill: They appear in abundance. Hell, it even appears in the movie poster.
- Red Right Hand: MacPhearson's limp.
- Red Shirt Army: The Space Pirates are wiped out very quickly after their initial appearance, giving the impression that they were never really a threat to begin with.
- Relationship Reboot: Dave Ryder and Lea Jansen.
- The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: Lea on the doughy henchman.
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The Southern Sun is said to house "thousands of migrants". However, when we see the main bar/club it looks big enough for maybe a few dozen people (granted, there could be more than one such bar, however there's nothing in the movie to indicate this).
- At one point Ryder is giving the other crew members a rousing speech before they go off to fight the mutineers. We see maybe 10-15 guys listening and cheering (likely because they couldn't afford any more extras than that for the scene.)
- The ship has thousands of people on it. There are only about 200 or so enforcers, yet they are able to nearly take over the ship. This might make sense if they were the only ones with guns, but most of the good guys have them as well. As such, you'd think it would be a Curbstomp Battle in the good guys' favor.
- At the beginning it's said the Southern Sun was sent to find a new planet due to Earth being overpopulated. Except there are only a few thousand people on the ship, and presumably billions on Earth, which makes it akin to sending the inhabitants of a small town to another planet to deal with overpopulation.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Reb Brown's trademark shrill shriek, which is probably supposed to sound cool.
- Screaming Warrior: What Ryder is supposed to be.
- Screw the War, We're Partying: After Commander Jansen fires Kalgan for sabotage and mutiny, and announces Ryder's promotion into his position, Ryder's friends celebrate with a party. Apparently arresting Kalgan and his 200 armed conspirators is not a priority. Later after defeating the Space Pirates, we immediately cut to a Stock Footage repeat of the previous partying scene.
- Sexy Discretion Shot: After the final make-out session, the camera cuts to a shot of the whatever's engines flaring as it boosts upwards across the screen.
- The Sociopath: Elijah Kalgan, who starts a mutiny and kills anybody in his way so he can stop living on a spaceship. This is solidified by the fact that he wants to sell any survivors who aren't part of his conspiracy into slavery.
- Schizo Tech: A rather unusual and unintentional example: in the uncut version, we see shots of the bridge (which is all Battlestar Galactica (1978) footage), which, needless to say, is a lot higher budget and looks far cooler than the place in the actual movie where the leaders hang out (which just looks like some office rooms with some computers set up, indeed, one probably wouldn't even know it was meant to be in spaceship without the movie telling the viewer outright,) and makes one wonder why they never go on the bridge themselves, and why it's so much more advanced looking if it's part of the same ship.
- Shaped Like Itself: Ryder mentions an "auxiliary backup system."
- Slasher Smile: For no readily apparent reason, Lea sports one of these while accidentally firing on Ryder's Enforcer kart... thus making her shooting at Ryder not appear accidental at all.
- Space Clothes: An unfortunate double standard seems to be set here. Men usually wear semi-futuristic jumpsuits, which are white and silver for good guys and brown and black for the villainous mooks (except for MacPhearson). Women often wear Space Leotards, though a few of them do get jumpsuits too (see Stripperiffic, below). Commander Jansen wears a silvery Space Muumuu, and Lobster Boy wears what looks like red martial arts pads with no shirt underneath.
- Space Pirates: Mostly just an excuse to use the Cylon footage. Originally presented as a major threat, but the Southern Sun destroys the entire fleet with a single volley. Since they're mentioned to control a large section of territory including at least one inhabited planet, it isn't entirely clear why they're considered just pirates.
- Space "X":
- The title, naturally.
- Kalgan says, "You let that space bitch slip through our fingers!"
- The pirates call upon the Southern Sun to surrender or be blown into "astro-dust".
- Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot: The opening total shot of the heroes' spaceship.
- Standard Female Grab Area: Lea's capture was as simple as a mook grabbing her by the upper arm when she raised her arm to defend herself.
- Stealth Parody: Again, taking Cisse Cameron's word for it, this film was still perhaps too good at emulating the films it was trying to spoof.
- Most female crewmembers besides Lt. Lemont all dress like American Gladiators.
- Lobster Boy (Kalgan's bodyguard/chief henchman) wears pants and red martial arts pads, but no shirt.
- Stock Footage: All the space footage was taken from Battlestar Galactica's stock footage. At least they flipped the footage of the ship.
- Stock Sound Effect: The movie used the same "red alert," sound effect used in Star Trek.
- Strapped to an Operating Table / Depraved Dentist: Kalgan's interrogation of Lea, which involves a laser used to burn out her teeth. The laser sounds exactly like a dentist's drill, and is said to work "not unlike ancient dental equipment. Not that you'd know anything about that," for anyone too dense to figure out what the scene is going for.
- Surrounded by IdiotsKalgan: ARRGGHHH I am surrounded by incompetence! (Milking the Giant Cow) I am undermined by my own disciples!
- Telepathy: Used by the Bellerians.
- Teleporters and Transporters: This is how Ryder "ejects" from his crashing ship. It's also how they enable Reb Brown to leave a "ship" that's stock footage from Battlestar Galactica.
- This Is a Drill: Yet it's supposed to be a laser, despite the loud drill sounds.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Kalgan delivers this trope-filled line:Kalgan: Take that, you space bitch!
- Token Good Teammate: The mortician (or whatever he is, the guy in charge of the "Deep Freeze") is apparently affiliated with the Enforcers (as he wears the same uniform), but doesn't seem to be evil at all, as he's immediately friendly and helpful, and fills Ryder and Lea in on Kalgan's Evil Plan.
- Too Dumb to Live:
"This is mutiny! This is treason! Which I warn you I must report!"
- Engineer Parsons. At first the faction of mutinous engineers led by MacPhearson aren't actually that bothered by Parsons' refusal to join in the mutiny... until he says these words which, unsurprisingly, proved to be his last:
- Also the engineers that MacPhearson kills in the big fight near the film's climax. Their response to a man shooting wildly in their direction is apparently to ignore him and hope he'll go away.
- For that matter, MacPhearson himself. At that point the only people who know he's working with Kalgan are Ryder and Lea. Others officers run right past him, clearly unaware that he's a traitor. So, for no obvious reason (other than For the Evulz, presumably) he starts killing unarmed engineers who would pose absolutely no threat to the other mutineers. As the kicker, the time he wastes doing this allows Ryder to catch up with him and roast him alive.
- Lea makes a wall-banger of a decision to go nip out from the bridge, after she and Ryder have discussed the fact that the mutiny is ongoing. This allows Lea to grab the Distress Ball and be held hostage for...about 10 minutes.
- Kalgan gives the commander 12 hours to surrender the bridge, or his daughter will be Thrown Out the Airlock. You'd think 12 minutes would be more appropriate — how long does it take to surrender? Of course this just gives our hero plenty of time to carry out a rescue.
- Unexplained Recovery:
- As noted above, Lemont is killed in one scene and then appears on the bridge in the very next scene totally unharmed (though she has no more lines in the movie, so it was probably bad editing).
- Engineer Parsons' actor plays a background extra in the party scene after Ryder's promotion, giving the impression that Parsons somehow walked off getting a walking stick driven through his heart.
- Used Future: "Great! Back to the rusting septic system of this futuristic spaceship!"
- Villain Has a Point: The ship really had diverted from their goal of making a colony, and really were futzing around in space doing literally nothing. Selling the ship and crew to pirates was going a bit far, though.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: While many of the secondary characters are South African actors apparently speaking with their native accents, Billy Second (Lt. Lemont) seems to drift between South African, General American, and Received Pronunciation between lines in the same scene. Meanwhile John Phillip Law (Elijah Kagan) seems to be trying and failing to sound South African to blend in.
- Wizards from Outer Space: For the most part the movie is firmly in the realm of science fiction, with little to no fantastical elements. The sole exception is the Bellerians who are stated to be practitioners of magic. In practice, this means dancing half-naked around a plasma ball and having no effect on the plot.
- Younger Than They Look: Lea, who looks much older than the actress playing her through a combination of bad makeup and poofy '80s hair.
- Zeerust: The future looks a lot like The '80s. Having keyboards bolted to the wall is supposed to look high-tech. According to Reb Brown, much of the movie was filmed in a decommissioned asbestos factory which decidedly does not look futuristic.