STARRING: Richard Hatch, Kay Lenz, John Saxon, Peter O'Farrell, Ray Charleson, Kenneth Hendel, Philip Van der Byl

1983, 138 Minutes, Directed by:
Terry Marcel

Description: 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 Sci-Fi Channel.

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 others.

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 though?



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