Director – John Weidner, Screenplay – Robert Moreland, Producer – Talaat Captan, Photography – Garett Griffin, Music – Randy Miller, Special Effects Supervisor – Ronald Schmidt, Digital Effects – David Wainstain, Makeup Effects – J.M. Logan, Production Design – Narbeh Nazarian. Production Company – Green Communications/Republic Pictures/Light Year Productions
Billy Wirth (Sergeant Zack Delano), Edward Albert (Captain Gray), Cady Huffman (Dar Mullins), John Pyper-Ferguson (Colonel Fraser), Michael Bailey Smith (Gunther), Meg Foster (Commodore Lasser), James Shigeta (Ambassador Misashi Nakamura), Bill Brochtrup (Hacker), Sherman Augustus (Rudy), Blake Boyd (Tex), Ed Spila (Hot Rod), Kevin Page (Lucky), John Mansfield (Vice Minister John Adams), Vernon L. Grote (Captain Duke Culpepper)
The United Planets battleship Missouri under the command of Captain Gray is dispatched to rescue a vice minister who is being held hostage by the pirate Colonel Fraser and his mercenaries. In the midst of this, The Missouri is ordered to pull out and a negotiation is instead conducted by Ambassador Nakamura. However, this goes wrong and ends with Fraser blowing the vice minister up and capturing Nakamura. Captured alongside Nakamura, Marine Zack Delano attempts to make an escape and shoot his way out of Fraser’s base. Meanwhile, aboard The Missouri, Gray, tired of official bungling, decides to mount his own rescue mission.
Space Marines is a cheaply made B movie. The weapons, the clothing and the locations of the future all look contemporary (the film was shot in Texas). That said, there are some decent miniature and motion control effects for the film’s low budget. Most importantly, the film is played with a complete conviction in itself by all involved such that it actually transcends many of the limitations imposed by its budget. The story is decent and well constructed dramatically. John Weidner directs the low-budget action competently and gives proceedings a passably hard edge, which adds to the conviction no end. The performances are all credible. Edward Albert, usually a bland performer, is good as the tough but fair captain, while John Pyper-Ferguson, decked out as a spacegoing Cyrano de Bergerac, lets loose with grand flowery affectation as Fraser. In all, it is certainly a much better variation on the Grunts in Space theme that was conducted in Wing Commander (1999), although still not the equal of the great tv series Space: Above and Beyond (1995-6).