Mutant on the Bounty (1989)


USA. 1989.


Director – Robert Torrance, Screenplay – Martin Lopez, Story/Producers – Martin Lopez & Robert Torrance, Photography – Randolph Sellars, Music – Tim Torrance, Visual Effects – Stokes-Kohne Associates, Photographic Effects – Van Der Veer Photo Effects (Supervisor – Tom Anderson), Model Designer – Bryan Moore, Special Effects – Tassilo Baur, Mutant Design – Brian Penikas And Associates, Production Design – Clark Hunter. Production Company – Canyonfilmworks


Deborah Fenson (Justine Morrow), Kyle T. Heffner (Max Gordon), John Roarke (Carlson), John Furey (Dag Daghair), John Fleck (Lizardo), Victoria Catlin (Dr Babette), Scott Williamson (Rick O’Shea), John Durbin (Manny Herskowitz), Pepper Martin (Captain Lloydes)


The spaceship the USS Bounty detects an old transporter signal. However, there is a formatting problem in the signal and the arrivee, Max Gordon, a saxophonist on his way to a gig who has been caught in transit for 23 years, materialises badly mutated. The captain collapses with a heart attack. The company android Lizardo assumes command but short circuits after everyone disobeys its orders. It is repaired with microwave parts but these cause it to uncontrollably fluctuate between male and female personalities. Meanwhile, two intergalactic armed robbers beam on board and take the ship over to get back a ceramic dog that contains a deadly nerve toxin.

This entry in the deliberately bad sf film stakes begins (and unfortunately ends) with its title pun. Even that is fairly lame – the filmmakers have to name the ship The Bounty for the sole purpose of making the gag work. The rest of the film is feeble. It lacks a plot and wanders around without any sense of direction. It is not even sure if it wants to be funny or serious and sits in half-hearted confusion trying to decide. Quite some time is spent on the romance between the mutant and ship’s journalist Deborah Fenson, which is incredibly corny in the film’s half-comedic way. The latter half of the film is given over to the two intergalactic criminals and features some atrociously over-the-top acting from Scott Williamson. The funniest scenes in the film are the ones with android John Fleck flipping between an uptight bureaucrat personality and an attention-preening female – and these only verge badly on cheap gay humour. The sets and effects are all conducted with corner-cutting regard. One is not sure what a contemporary space shuttle (piloted by the two intergalactic criminals) is meant to be doing in deep space.

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