Can you even imagine a title like that on a movie turned out by the slick, suave, modern Hollywood? I mean for God's sake just look at it. How gauche! Even Michael Bay would cringe at the very idea.
Get a load of this premise: three completely helpless bimbos in shiny space-lingerie are stranded on a desert planet after their ship explodes, and immediately fall captive to the horrible evil population of mindless drones and their horrible evil overlord. Naturally, it falls to some unshaven square-jawed clod to ride in, blow everything up, and save the day with his erstwhile sidekick and an underage girl.
Where's the nuance? I do declare, I may get a case of the vapors.
As seen above, there is HAIR! OF! THE! FUTURE!, the likes of which haven't been seen by your author since his unfortunate exposure to Battlefield Earth. There are deformed midgets, who may or may not be radioactive. There are explosions. There are Road Warrior-inspired cars, trains, motorcycles, and snowplows(!). There are Amazons and dragons and blobby pasty human grub s. Michael Ironside rocks the Nosferatu facepaint and six-foot-long robotic claw arms, hamming it up on a crane hoist.
How's all this come together? I already told you in the second paragraph. That's not the 100-word pitch, that's the freaking screenplay. This movie has all the depth and complexity of the grounds-laden rime of sludge steeping in the office carafe at 5:30pm.
I think I like it not so much for what it is, but for what it isn't. It's refreshing, in a way. Peter Strauss is not some conflicted, brooding bad boy with a troubled past, he's just this average guy. Ernie Hudson's character isn't a "magic negro" full of obscure wisdom or a "token negro" with streetwise moves and cunning, he's just a companion. Molly Ringwald isn't La Femme Nikita the wily innocent-faced assassin or Short Round the wisecracking plot device, she's just a dingy sorta scruffy kid. Ironside isn't out to destroy all mankind and rule the universe with an iron claw, he's satisfied with his one little planet, some half-naked slavegirls, and dumping the occasional hapless slacker in his Running Man industrial death maze.
I can't really say whether the movie was intended to be taken seriously. The title suggests self-parody, but the film isn't overtly played for laughs. The effects are 80s cheesy, but some of the makeup - particularly the blobby human grubworms - is unexpectedly effective, in that sense of "whoa, that's not CGI, that's a dude in a slimy rubber fat suit. And he is really emoting!"
Yeah, it's trash cinema. Mike and the robots would tear it to shreds. That doesn't mean it can't be a good time. Guilty pleasure? Perhaps. Not guilt on par with listening to ABBA, but maybe somewhere between a Broadway production of "Cats" and certain tangentially related works in the Paul Schrader oeuvre.