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Film / Space Truckers

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Space Truckers is a 1996 film by Stuart Gorton starring Dennis Hopper, Stephen Dorff, Debi Mazar and Charles Dance.

It is also a sci-fi comedy involving Square Pigs, Truckers IN SPACE!, Killer Robot Cyborgs, and a Corrupt Corporate Executive upgrading to President Evil.

Not to be confused with Space Cowboys.


Tropes:

  • Catch and Return: One of the Killer Robots catches a grenade thrown at it, then starts spinning wildly and tosses the grenade right back. Partly justified, since it's a machine.
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  • Classically Trained Extra: Charles Dance sacrificed his dignity to play a cyborg space pirate with a chainsaw-like motorised penis (complete with rip cord).
  • Cyborg: The Jacker captain is more machine than man, and claims to have rebuilt himself and replaced every organ with machinery. The bits that remain resemble Charles Dance.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: With a very dark twist: The attack on the base with the Big Bad and Mad Scientist in it at the start was just a demonstration of the Cyborg's combat power. But it wasn't a simulation. They really did let the Cyborg slaughter dozens of their own Mooks, in highly gruesome ways, as part of the test.
  • Diner Brawl: Takes place in the greasy spoon below.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Mr Zesty, a black market trader, dresses in loose fitting robes, wears lipstick, and big hoop earrings. Several viewers have mistaken him for an old lady.
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  • Foreshadowing: Keller stops his goon from firing a gun inside Canyon's rig because they'd all get sucked into space. When later a fight breaks out in the Diner, the same guy pulls out a gun again and guess what happens.
  • Greasy Spoon: That floats in space with a spinning donut shape to keep gravity going, a la 2001 (along with the white colour scheme). Keeping with the trend of mixing truckers and trucker culture with sci-fi.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The first Killer Robot that activates in the Jacker ship frags the captain, and three other pirates in the hold. The captain is the only one to survive this blast, though he's missing his bottom half. It helps he was mostly machine to begin with.
  • Handy Remote Control: This turns off the killer robots. But only once they've finished assembling themselves.
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  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Newly appointed President Scrags could have gotten away with everything scott-free, if he hadn't tried to blow up the heroes with, well, see the entry for Karmic Jackpot.
  • Karmic Jackpot?: The Big Bad gives the heroes a Briefcase Full of Money and the paperwork for a new rig (on the launch pad and ready to go). Of course, this is the same guy who turned the creations of the Mad Scientist against him, so the audience knows something is up. The heroes fight about keeping really dirty money for a job they didn't actually do...
    John Canyon: You two don't get it do you? If you don't take this money and shut up about what happened, they're gonna come after you and you'll disappear! Now, you got to take it!
    Mike Pucci: We "got" to take the money. We "got" to take this, and become company butt boys for the rest of our lives.
    John Canyon: I want to make sure that you understand the facts.
    Mike Pucci: You're gonna take it, John? Are you going to take it?
    John Canyon: No! But I don't want you to end up like me!
    Mike Pucci: God forbid. (throws case out window)
    Scrags: (presses button to detonate case just as case hits limo)
    Briefcase: BOOM
    Heroes: (look out window)
    Mike Pucci: Somebody fragged Scrags.
    John Canyon: You know, I think it was us!
  • Killer Robot: The "cyborgs" with Energy Weapons for heads, Blades Below The Shoulder (in sword, claw, and scissor configurations), and Abnormal Limb Rotation Range allowing them to rotate their neck and compress into a disturbing travel form.
  • Made of Iron: Nabel manages to be the only person to survive a direct upclose attack by a cyborg, and while fatally wounded in a later second attack, still lived long enough to tell John about them.
  • Mad Scientist: Nabel
  • Mecha-Mooks: Scrags has Nabel build him an army of Killer Robots as a backup plan, in case his negotiations to buy out the Earth government break down. According to Nabel, the robots are activated in waves: 1, 2, 4, 8... Considering what even one of those things can do, it's pretty clear that an army of these things is unstoppable.
  • Mega-Corp: Scrags has enough money and influence to buy out the entire Earth government.
  • Mega-Maw Maneuver: The pirate spaceship has a giant maw that swallows smaller ships.
  • Mohs Scale of Sci-Fi Hardness: surprisingly hard. No artificial gravity except for magnetic boots and rotating space stations; space suits are in common use; there is no Faster-Than-Light Travel at all (the entire movie takes place within Earth's solar system); and even in the late 22nd century, spacecraft are still launched into space using booster rockets. Everyone freaks out when someone pulls a gun inside a pressurized space vehicle; on the other hand, what Hollywood Science there is is mostly played for laughs and one-off gags.
  • One Last Smoke:
    Nabel: Light me
  • One-Man Army: In the opening, a single cyborg in successive order takes down an armoured vehicle, an outpost, a gunship and at such rapid rate that the scientists believe it merely to be communication problems only for it to stand outside the room and massacre it's way through a heavily-armed security force without so much being slowed.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: The Big Bad ends up buying out the Earth government and privatizing it with him as the new President of Earth.
  • Space Pirate: The protagonists go "off-road" in order to avoid being stopped by the authorities, but end up getting captured by a giant pirate ship which literally swallows them. These pirates were complete with cybernetic false limbs and a skull-and-crossbones flag.
  • Space Trucker: Since it's the damn title, you can sure bet that it's invoking this trope.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Cindy's mother turns out to look Cindy's age because she spent the last few decades as a Human Popsicle due to being terminally ill. Cindy's main goal in the movie is to make enough money to cure her mother. John is instantly smitten with her and forgets all about Cindy (who's fallen for Mike anyway).
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Keller in the Space Diner. At first it seems like his butt plugged up the hole in comedic fashion (He's played by George Wendt after all) but then he folds in half.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Nabel. He tells Scrags how the cyborg who just murdered hundreds of employees is only loyal to Scrags who plans to use and a whole army of them to invade Earth, and doesn't expect to be made deniable. Subverted in that Nabel survived the cyborg's attack, using cybernetics to heal himself and becomes a pirate.
  • Used Future: very much so.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    Scrags: If I could, I'd promote you on the spot. But I'm afraid all this has to be deniable. Which means you have to be deniable.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Mike roasts several robots at once, while John lures them to the outside of the ship.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: The Mad Scientist that created the killer robots was betrayed by turning his creations against him. Fortunately he was able to rebuild himself, turning into a grotesque mish-mash of man and machine, later taking up a new life as a pirate.

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