Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Star Knight (1986)

Every so often I stumble upon a film that causes me to wonder how in the world have I never heard of this before? This is one of those genre-mixing (genre-blending? genre mashing?) type deals. On the surface, we got a medieval tale about some knights, wizards, princesses, and shit. On top of that, we got an alien and a spaceship too. The description sorta made me think of that film from the 80s, Krull. An alien invades a kingdom, abducts a princess and it's up to her knight in shining armor to rescue her. Unfortunately, the invading alien in this picture is nothing like "the beast", more like David Bowie in a space suit. No glave, no cyclops, no sense of adventure, etc.

So, I'll just end the review right here by telling you not to watch, this is a piece of shit, there's minimal action, poor effects, it's tedious, etc.

Still here?

Ok, carrying on. Star Knight is set in some kingdom during some time (presumably medieval) in some galaxy (presumably the milky way) on some planet (presumably earth). We've got a knight-like character played by Harvey Keitel. He's a knight. I think the kingdom has one other knight, the green knight, who waits on the other side of some bridge challenging all those that dare cross to a duel. There's also a magician played by Klaus Kinski, a king, a clergyman, and a princess. Also, an alien is worked into this mix somehow.

The best scene in the picture is the first scene, or maybe it was the second scene. Who can remember this shit? Anyway, it involves a shepherd and his herd of sheep. Or, maybe it was lambs. Anyway, one of his lambs climbed a small hill and is standing on the edge of a rock face. The shepherd commands the sheep to jump which would mean certain death for the sheep...or lamb. The lamb jumps and is suddenly whooshed up into the air by some sorta unseen force. I had to wonder to myself if it was an alien perhaps. Maybe an alien collecting animals for his space-ark...or for experimenting on or something?

I mentioned Harvey Keitel was in this I think. You know, the Keitel that was in Mean Streets and also Bad Lieutenant. Well, he plays a knight who would like nothing more than to wed the princess and gain her father's favor while also acquiring a nice piece of ass in the process. The princess wants nothing to do with him. He's weird, goofy, and incompetent. If this is the best prospect the kingdom has to offer than she lives in a pretty shitty kingdom. One day she rides out to the countryside so she can go swim naked in a lake and possibly be abducted by some creepy emo alien. All this shit happens but here's the kicker. She falls in love with him apparently, even though it never talks and can't even kiss her since he has to wear a space suit at all times or he'll die I guess.

Keitel, the king, and the clergyman won't stand for this kind of shit. They find the lair of the "dragon" (how they refer to the spaceship) which is a lake. Keitel and his men paddle out to it and the ship takes off with Keitel shouting things at it like "now you've made me mad you demon dragon" or whatever. I'll be honest with you here for a moment. This is not a good picture. It's actually pretty terrible. Since it's a spanish production with an international cast (Keitel is american and Kinski is german) we got to deal with some dubbing and, let me tell you, this is the worst dubbing I have ever seen. At least they kept Keitel's real voice. The words spoken never even come close to matching up with the vocal movements. It's completely distracting to the point that I just gave up and tried to enjoy this as a comedy which I guess is how it was intended to be watched.

Too bad it's a pretty bad to mediocre comedy. The green knight on the bridge was clearly intended as an homage to Monty Python. He challenges all who pass to a duel but for various reasons never actually gets to fight one. At one point, an entire army passes while he is taking a piss behind some bushes. Keitel seems to be in on the joke. At least I hope he was. It's hard to judge his performance, with the dubbing being as awful as it is, but he manages to throw in some scenery chewing here and there. Like when the princess and her alien boyfriend jump off a tower while he is giving chase and he grabs her dress as she jumps and rips off part of it. Later, he shows the king and tells him "look what she threw to me as she fell....clearly it's a sign of her betrothal to me" or something like that, not an exact quote.

What I don't get here is what's the big deal with this princess anyway? She's not that good looking to be honest. I mean, maybe in a plague ridden city she might be considered a keeper and she's got that whole royalty thing going for her but she's not that nice. She's kind of a c-word. Near the end, Keitel rides out to the spaceship to challenge the alien (his name is IX) to a duel. The alien resists. He's a lover not a xenomorph. The princess basically calls him a coward and leaves. Then Keitel swings his mace at the spaceship and the thing flies off. He did it, he defeated the dragon.

I almost forgot about Kinski being in this thing. Kinski was in Aguirre and Fitzcaraldo. A couple of legitimately great movies. In Star Knight he gets to play a wizard. He forms some sort of bond with the spaceman even though they have minimal scenes together. I guess they're both sorta outsiders. Both are looked down upon by the clergy. Both sorta mystical, probably considered pawns of the devil. Kinski doesn't really shine in this part except for the scene where his face is illuminated by the spaceship lights.

The special effects aren't too bad, I mean they're not good or anything, but I expected worse. The DVD looked like it was transferred directly from a shitty VHS tape. The picture was dark. I don't know, I had hopes for this one. I expected some kind of forgotten gem or something. Maybe a Krull rip-off with exploitative elements. This one is kinda tame. Light on the violence and the nudity. The production values weren't too bad though. I actually bought into some of the costumes and shit and that was a real castle they filmed in. I only wish the alien had more balls and the princess more tits. If you're looking for a good genre mashing picture involving space aliens and historical people may I suggest Outlander? That one was pretty good.


Static_OmegaFPL said...

First, I'd like to say I love that you are as amused by these off kilter, psuedo direct to video flicks from the 80's as I am (The Eliminators, Time Guardian, Star Knight, etc)

Second, as an admirer of your site and reviewing style I was wondering how I could get in touch with you (other than this way) about the possibility of reviewing my first feature film "Psychotropica."

I think it would be up your alley and I'd love to be able to send you a copy. If you read this and are possibly interested in reviewing my film I have set follow up comments to go to my email box.

Hope to hear from you and keep up the great work!

brian said...

Hey, send me an email to I'd definitely be interested.