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Overall Rating

Awesome: 21.82%
Worth A Look70.91%
Average: 5.45%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 1.82%

4 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Last Starfighter, The
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by the Grinch

"The best of the 'Star Wars Ripoff' genre"
4 stars

"Greetings, Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada."

Ok, get this. All those video games you've been playing? All those games of Quake, Half-Life, Riven that the kids all play? They're actually the ASVAB for alien armies!

Or such is the clever premise of 'The Last Starfighter', which, along with 'Flight of the Navigator' was one of the last truly visionary sci-fi films intended for family audiences in the 80's.

Of course, today, the mafia would be recruiting through Grand Theft Auto type videogames "Listen youz! First you whack deez people...then run dis prostitution ring, see? Then embezzle millions from your shareholders and put in in offshore accounts!" Oh sorry, I was thinking of CEO: The Homegame with that last line...

LS has many similarities to Star Wars - whiny rural boy who seeks adventure, finds it, wusses out, but is then forced to accept fate- but anyone who's read Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces" knows that Star Wars itself is largely "borrowed".

Remember when the characters in fantasy movies were people you could actually relate to? Alex Rogan is one such character. By day, he works in his mother's trailer park, daydreaming of one day escaping the drollness of living in Smalltown, USA. Not to be confused with Smallville, where the residents are fortunate enough to have Clark Kent showing off his superpowers. At night, Alex finds solace in his all-american girlfriend ( played by Catherine Stewart, an 80's veteran of scifi/fantasy movies), and in his amazing skills on the hit arcade game 'Starfighter'. In the warm glow of 'Starfighter', Alex soon tops every record for the game as the pitiful residents of the Starlight Trailer park look on with yokelized amazement....which along with 50 cents, will get him a cup of coffee, or so he believes....until a stranger named "Centauri" in Delorean-esque car (not Doc or Marty Mcfly, mind you) rolls into town, and offers Alex the chance of a use his Starfighter skills to save the Star League Republic from the renegade Xur and
his scaly allies, the Ko-Dan.

While Alex is away, Centauri leaves a Beta, a robotic clone of Alex, on earth so nobody notices his absence. The Beta provides some of the funnier moments, as his social skills are entirely lacking. Beta is the C3-P0 in this film, the Shakespearean gatekeeper keeping things from getting too morose. And how cool would it be to have a robotic clone? You could send him to work in your place, or to the DMV to wait in line. And you'd never have to sit through another CHICK-FLICK again! "Yeah baby, I'd love to go see 'A Walk to Remember!". The Beta sits through the latest Nora Ephron movie, while later you get the mad booty! Sound good?

'The Last Starfighter' has the distinction of being one of the last films to star Robert Preston, a legendary American actor who brought charisma and humanity to multiple roles...his portrayal of Centauri is top could see this guy selling you snake-oil and making you love him the whole time. Starfighter also has the distinction of being the first film with computer-generated effects, provided by the behemoth Cray super-computers of yesteryear...see, the Cray was once good for something other than art deco furniture! While the graphics are a bit Playstation-ish, they're sparsely and effectively used so that you still feel immersed in the world the filmmakers have created. Can't say the same thing about modern fare like The Hulk, can you?

The DVD has alot of fun extras on it, as well as a good commentary track with John Carpenter's buddy Nick Castle and brilliant conceptual artist Ron Cobb. Worth owning or at least renting.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 12/30/03 20:20:26
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User Comments

9/20/12 Mike Miller rewatched this awhile back fun flick from the 80s 4 stars
12/10/10 PookyP A blast from my youth. almost Shakespeare. seen it 20 times 5 stars
12/11/09 joe it was an overall good movie. it was kinda too star tek like but generally good 3 stars
8/27/09 Laurey Martin A little goofy, but I really liked this movie. I even bought it for my kids. 4 stars
5/17/09 Anthony One of the best films of the 80's. I must have seen it 20 times. 5 stars
8/18/08 George Barksdale I have seen this movie 4 or 5 times, loved it 5 stars
8/06/08 L. Slusarczyk A movie thats fun to watch even if you dont want to admit it! 5 stars
8/06/08 E K Zimmerman An all time favorite that will likely be ruined by a remake. 4 stars
12/21/06 ramachandran this movie proves that the 80's was already very high tech, extremely inspiring movie. 5 stars
7/29/06 David Cohen An okay film 3 stars
9/04/05 Quigley what crap! what star wars plaigarism! what a stupid film! OK, i'm done. 1 stars
8/12/05 ES Loved this as a kid, aged now but you can't beat the scene with the death blossum 4 stars
8/10/04 kyotomatt I have loved this movie as a kid, teen, and adult. 5 stars
5/20/04 Don D One of the best. A good fun, feel good movie. 5 stars
7/04/03 snowconehead This happened to me in real life, seriously. 5 stars
5/24/03 y2mckay Fun Popcorn drive-in Sci-Fi made great by Preston and O'herlihy 4 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Good, imaginative fun. Appealing performances by all. 4 stars
10/12/02 Jaime Vasquez simple, efectiva..en fin buena para soņar si tienes 10 aņos y para recordar si tienes 30 4 stars
10/12/02 Erik Rosenbladt Awesome special effects for its day, still compelling today. 5 stars
9/21/02 Martin McFly This is one of my all time favorite 80s movies. Very much worth the DVD price. 5 stars
8/18/02 Matt Cherry I really like the acting. For the most part it comes across as real and unforced. 5 stars
8/10/02 Destruction Worker Yessiree, LS has got it all. Talking lizard-men and 8-year-olds addicted to pornography. 4 stars
6/30/02 honky harry set your cheese guns to stun 5 stars
6/29/02 Jim Robert Preston's swishy alien steals the movie 4 stars
6/26/02 Charles Tatum Fun, entertaining, and completely harmless 4 stars
4/03/02 Butterbean A goofy, cheesy coattail rider of Star Wars, but it's fun to watch 4 stars
2/23/02 Mark Lloyd Campy, but fun 4 stars
12/07/01 ZandoZan The Last Starfighter is... 4 stars
6/19/01 Dave good music score 4 stars
11/25/00 Jason Great Special Effects 4 stars
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  02-Jul-1984 (PG)



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