Prince of Space (YUSEI OJI )
Reviewed by Mike Brannon
Rating: 9 Beans
ystery Science Theatre 3000 is a mixed blessing. True, it has some of the funniest stuff and jokes on television, but you also have to watch a really, really bad movie.
Such is the case with Yusei Oji, better known as "Prince of Space." This movie is bad. No, it's not bad, it's abysmal. Sub-abysmal. The basement of sub-absymal.
The movie involves a japanese professor named Makken who accomplishes a breakthrough in rocket fuel. Unfortunately, his reknown goes further than Earth... a race of Alien beings from the planet Krankor see this fuel as the key to conquering the galaxy.
The Krankor Force first invades Earth and calls for unconditional surrender. However, a mysterious superhero (who calls himself "Prince of Space")appears and thwarts their invasion singlehandedly. We follow the events over the next few days with Makken's son (whose voice is dubbed over with a Brooklyn accent[!!]) and his friends, who work with a shoeshine boy named Wally (who looks a lot like the Prince of Space... hmmm... think REAL HARD, folks). Wow, Wally can fight off an extraterrestrial army and create a spaceship but he's still shining shoes in his late 20s....
The leader of the Krankor aliens, called Phantom of Krankor (and proof why japanese men should NOT have moustaches and goatees), returns to Earth and, despite several thwartings by the Prince, manages to steal the fuel formula, kidnap Dr. Makken and several other scientists, and sabotage a civilian spacecraft.
The Prince follows the Phantom's ship back to the planet, and after defeating a deformed giant (who wears long-handled underwear and a belt), he storms the stronghold, rescues the scientists, and blows up the Krankor base.
The story is, obviously, very convoluted. The camera work and editing is actually fairly decent, but what does this turkey in is the horrible, comical characters, the incredibly cheesy special effects, suffocatingly hilarous dialogue, and dozens of pointless story cul-de-sacs.
For characters, one cannot resist but single out the Krankor aliens first. They have outrageously big, hooked noses, wear eyeliner, wear the dumbest looking uniforms (think Mexican Professional Wreslers) and, worst of all, they wear spandex pants with.. er... nothing underneath. Yes, get the vomit bag handy during some of those march scenes.
The Phantom is the most ridiculous of all. Not only does he have a Snidely Whiplash goatee and moustache, he also has wire antennae stuck all around his head. Is this someone's idea of a menacing alien race?! The thing that makes you want to laugh until you cry is the Phantom of Krankor's cheesy laugh. "Heh, heh, heh, heeeeeeeeeeeeeehhh!!" (each "heh" slower than the last, and the last one dragged out). MST3K's Bridget Jones aptly described it like "a Buick motor not turning over."
Prince of Space's costume looks like a cheesy Batman ripoff costume on sale at Walgreens for $3.25. He has a piece of laminated cardboard over his face (I guess its a visor), and wears tap pants and a cape! Jeez. Liberace meets The Dark Knight. As his alter ego, Wally, he wears this stupid Gilligan-like sun bonnet, and so do the kids who bootblack with him. But the dumbest thing about Prince of Space is that NOTHING harms him. He has absolutely no weakness. Worse, he quotes no less than EIGHT TIMES (yes, I counted) "Your weapons are useless against me!") Its hard to make a superhero story enjoyable if the hero is absolutely invunerable to everything. (Strangely, there's a scene where they all shoot these harmless beams at him, and he is dodging and running. As Crow so incisively observed, "Your weapons are useless, but scare the crap out of me anyway!")
The special effects in this movie make Ed Wood's flying saucer hubcaps look like Industrial Light and Magic. The models are really cheesy and unbelievable, the ships's wires are clearly visable, and the Krankor sets look like they were assembled by a seventh grade drama class with a $20 budget.
Aside from the chicken-like men of Krankor, the funniest thing in this movie is the dialogue. When Phantom tells Makken to betray his planet, he says, "NO! I refuse CATEGORICALLY!!" WTF?!
Here's some other gems:
Makken's Strangely Brooklyn Son: "What's wrong with bootblacking? We like it VERY MUCH!"
Phantom: "Come out, Prince of Space, or we will kill some differen!!" (anyone, please email me if you know what the hell 'differen' is)
Krankor Spy 1: When will he stop walking?
Krankor Spy 2: When we stop following him.
Krankor Spy 1: Stop the clowning.
This movie is one of the funniest MST3Ks ever. Even after seeing it for the 6th time, I still crack up laughing a dozen times watching it. But in its unedited form, this movie is one of the stupidest, cheesiest and predictable sci-fi train wrecks going. It makes Toho's Godzilla movies look like special effects extravaganzas with intriguing plots.
In the words of Mr. Nelson...
"This movie made me want to renounce my Toyota."
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