Thursday, September 12, 2013

Space Savers!

Planet Patrol  (Pulsepounders Home Video, 1999)

Directed by Russ Mazzolla

Produced by Charles Band and Kirk Edward Hansen

Written by Benjamin Carr

Some people express much disdain for movies that pad their running time with footage from other movies. Personally, I love movies like that – it’s cool to me to see how well the second movie’s filmmakers blend the older footage into their movie; and it’s interesting to me to see how the storyline affects the reused sequences.

Okay, that bit of exposition brings us to today’s movie – one of the entries in Charles Band’s brief 90’s foray into family films under the blanket Pulsepounders name. Planet Patrol is a slightly updated riff on the old 50’s TV shows like Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. The basic storyline finds the four members of the extremely youthful Planet Patrol battling Lord Doom and his minions across the far reaches of space.

Thank goodness spandex survives into the 23rd century!

Yes, it’s low budget and cheesy – but there’s also a certain amount of awareness of this. It’s also true that the acting ranges from okay to pretty bad – but again, that’s not unexpected in a movie like this – and dare I say, it’s not even unwelcome to some extent. In the end, this ended up being a fairly entertaining watch – for a few reasons. The movie is structured like it’s been cobbled together from three TV episodes – each runs 25 or so minutes and tells a complete mini-story of the Patrol besting Lord Doom’s latest evil plot – much like a half hour TV show minus commercials. I’m not sure if this was done to make it seem even more like those old 50’s shows – or if this really was originally meant to be a TV show and when the deal fell through Band and co. simply slapped the episodes into something resembling a feature film. It’s also cool to see a very young Alison Lohman among the cast – years before her more recent success in movies like Matchstick Men and Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell. Last but certainly not least – in fact, it’s the best reason of all – Planet Patrol is PACKED with footage from earlier Full Moon movies – I had a ball calling out the title of each flick this movie mined special effects from – the first “episode” uses shots of the Dave Allen stop motion animated minions from the Subspecies movies – as well as the actual Bloodstone prop – and the very cool dinosaur/skeleton battle from Dr. Mordrid. After that you get stuff in the other "episodes" from Kraa, Crash and Burn, and Robot Wars, at least, and possibly even more.

Now for a lengthy digression that may only be of interest to you (or indeed make sense to you) if you’re well versed in the production woes of some of the early Full Moon movies. If you don’t care about that read the next section with your eyes closed.

I actually found myself thinking it would have been cool if instead of the stop motion minions from Subspecies - they had used the original effects footage - which was scrapped from the vampire flick and replaced with the animated figures. The original footage featured Romanian acrobats in minion costumes on oversized sets. Apparently this didn't look good when they got all the footage back to California, because Charles Band ponied up more money to have those scenes reshot with stop motion animated critters - fewer of them of course than the acrobat version, which had a dozen or so guys jumping all over the shots.

Original acrobats in costumes up top.
Animated puppet below.

(The early trailers featured the original minions - so I did catch a couple of glimpses of them before they were excised from the movie.) So, this footage is laying on a shelf somewhere (I hope it is, anyway) and it would have been neat to use it in this movie - and it wouldn't have cost a penny more. Missed opportunity.

Wrapping this one up - if you enjoy goofy low budget movie thrills - there's enough on display in this movie (even though mostly from other movies) to warrant a look. If that's not your bag - this movie may not be either.

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At about 39:14, the bearded guy from the Kraa footage doesn't enjoy hanging around ladders to underground bases.

Eye Candy ?

The girls seem awfully young - so we will avoid the skeevy route and say no.

Buddha Man Sez:

"Planet Patrol comes from good stock....footage, that is!"

Thank you BM! Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. LOL That's great stuff. I'll have to look for this one with lowered expectations.

    1. I hope you find it, Maurice! Can we expect a post about it if you do?

  2. So nice to know that spandex will be around forever. ;-)

    1. Hey AA! Nice to see you! Yes, spandex is a wonderful thing - when it's encasing the right body...