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Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar (2022) Review

A low-budget space opera featuring Michael Paré, that’s not much of a surprise. The surprise is that Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar isn’t from The Asylum. Although the opening scenes had me wondering if it might have been better off if it was.

After a voiceover telling us that souls can be extracted from the dead and placed into cyborg bodies, we go to what looks like some kind of mining facility where some idiot in a vaguely Egyptian-looking outfit is feeding people to a giant lizard in what looks like a lake of molten gold. Next on the creature’s menu is Kip Corman (Michael Paré, End of Loyalty, The Wild Man: Skunk Ape) who trades insults with the idiot before being snatched from the jaws of the creature by a spacecraft piloted by his daughter Taylor (Sarah French, The Special, Rootwood) and getting revenge with a burst of bottom of the barrel CGI.

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Not being the sharpest tool in the shed, Kip has no sooner reached a trading outpost than he and Taylor have to make a fast getaway because he’s stolen a valuable relic from the outpost’s owner. Broke and with their ship about to fall apart, they decide to do a random jump and have “a good old-fashioned adventure”.

It’s pretty obvious that director Garo Setian (Automation, The Drifter) and co-writer Joe Knetter (Nutcracker Massacre, Terror Overload) want to emulate the light-hearted space adventures that popped up in the wake of Star Wars. Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar’s obviously a microbudget take on Jabba the Hutt and Han Solo and there’s a space station named after Stella Star, Caroline Munro’s space pirate in Starcrash.

It’s on that station that the Daddy/Daughter duo meet Jackie (Anahit Setian, The Summer of Massacre, Go for Broke 2) whose on the run from a group of psychos led by Dykstra (Olivier Gruner, Nemesis, Velocity Trap). And remember that woman Kip ripped off at the start of the film? She’s sent her son Ezekiel (Hunter Setian) and some goons to bring him back.

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Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar is a very uneven film. The plot provides plenty of opportunity for action, and the casting of 90s DTV martial arts star Gruner suggests there would be a lot more brawling than we actually get. The inevitable fight between him and Paré isn’t horribly choreographed, but it is about thirty years past its expiration date. The best fight scene is probably a totally meaningless one where the bad guys beat down some random aliens.

Speaking of aliens, there are a surprising number of giant creatures roaming around the planets of Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar though most of them are just briefly glimpsed. The best are the ones on a red-tinted planet that seems to have been inspired by the 60s cult film Angry Red Planet, though the cave creature that lives near the wreck of the Deepstar isn’t bad as such things go.

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The spaceship effects are a very mixed bag, ranging from a surprisingly good asteroid chase to the horrible opening shots and a poorly done crash landing. The spaceship interiors however look like they were borrowed from a Mark Polonia film. For a low-budget film with as many effects as this has, however, it comes off OK overall.

While it never manages to reach the level of films like Battle Beyond the Stars or match the visual lunacy of Message from Space, I have to admit Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar is much more entertaining than its opening minutes had me expecting. And you can use the film’s slower stretches to watch for appearances by familiar faces like Sadie Katz (Hacksaw, Mayday) and Jed Rowen (The Electric Man, Ouija Mummy).

Uncork’d Entertainment will release Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar in theatres on April 21st. It comes to Digital and VOD Platforms on May 2nd. And if you’re not quite ready to return to Earth, FilmTagger can find some similar titles for you to watch,

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