PRISONERS OF THE
STARRING: Richard Hatch, Kay Lenz,
John Saxon, Peter O'Farrell, Ray Charleson, Kenneth Hendel, Philip Van der Byl
1983, 138 Minutes, Directed by:
A scientist has developed a matter transmitter that he is about to
demonstrate for two people when an earthquake hits, disrupting the test and
plunging the trio into a parallel universe. The trio must adjust to the strange
new world where medieval weaponry is mixed with modern technology, all the while
trying to find a way to travel back home. The scientist becomes separated from
the young couple and they attempt to find him, all the while a warlord is trying
to stop them so that he can take the young woman for his own.
I know one shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but South
African-born actor Bill Flynn — who died of a heart
attack in July of 2007, bless his soul — has never
appeared in a worth-while movie throughout his entire career.
Prisoners of the Lost Universe is alas no exception.
It isn’t Flynn’s fault though. He only has one line of
dialogue before his character is killed off. The rest of us in the audience
aren’t that lucky though and has to schlep it through this horrendously bad,
dull early 1980’s fantasy “adventure” film starring Richard Hatch, Apollo in the
original Battlestar Galactica TV series.
Prisoners of the Lost Universe is the sort of project
that kills careers so it should come as no surprise that Hatch’s next somewhere
near decent role was only decades later in the new 2003
Battlestar Galactica remake for the
Filmed in apartheid-era South Africa, Prisoners of the Lost
Universe was no doubt shot on a budget cheap enough to make your average
1960’s Star Trek TV episode look like an epic in
comparison as one critic pointed out. South African viewers will recognize local
actors such as Danie Voges, Ron Smerczak and Philip Van der Byl starring
alongside “international” (read American) actors such as John Saxon, the villain
in Battle Beyond the Stars amongst
They’ll also no doubt be playing the “spot the location” game
— anything to pass the time during this long-winded
movie. Sharp-eyed viewers might also spot Peter O'Farrell who briefly appeared
as a reporter for the Daily Prophet in Harry Potter and the Chamber of
Secrets. O'Farrell plays Malachi, the sort of annoying character one wishes
would simply drop dead and die without saying another line of inane dialogue.
Note: Prisoners of the Universe was released
theatrically internationally, but debuted on cable in the United States.
Incidentally Richard Hatch had the flu through part of the dubbing and thus his
character's voice can be heard to fluctuate. What’s the other actors’ excuse