STARRING: Gil Gerard, Pamela Hensley, Erin Gray, Tim O'Connor, Henry Silva, Joseph Wiseman, Felix Silla, voice of Mel Blanc

1979, 89 Minutes, Directed by: Daniel Haller

This feature-length pilot episode for the 1979-1981 TV series of the same name actually saw a commercial cinematic release both inside the States and internationally.

Quick to ride the sci-fi bandwagon after the mega bucks success of Star Wars, producers quickly rummaged through the old dust bins to see what they can re-cycle for modern audiences.

They came up with . . . Buck Rogers - a long-forgotten space opera character once popular in 1930s comic strips and serials. The producers stripped it of all recognizable facets of the original except for the original premise of an astronaut from the 20th century who accidentally gets frozen during a space flight and is only revived in the far-flung future, tried to make it as close to Star Wars as possible as far as gadgetry and space ships go, dressed unknown actors in Logan's Run zipper suits, and cast the somewhat dull unknown Gil Gerard as the lead.  Throw in a cute robot, some low-budget sets, an evil princess and voila: a piece of late-'Seventies kitsch fondly remembered by ageing Generation X'ers who saw it as young children. (It has however little on offer for less nostalgically inclined sci-fi buffs.)

While it features the delicious Erin Grey who no doubt featured in many a schoolboy's fantasy life (including the present author's), what it lacks as exploitation is a sheer sense of fun and mischief as is the case with movies like Battle Beyond the Stars . . .


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