Lethal Target (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

When I was in the convenience store industry we found a major difficulty in moving professional systems into Eastern Europe in the early 90's. We could not expect very high sales levels because there wasn't that much disposable income, and the product prices were generally lower than in the West. (Cigarettes were about a buck in Hungary, seven bucks in Norway!). Unfortunately we didn't have local suppliers for the shelving and walk-ins we needed, so we were using Swedes and Austrians who provided excellent craftsmanship, but cost us a fortune. This was especially difficult when installation was necessary, because a bunch of Swedes loose in Hungary aren't going to work for Hungarian wages.

We needed a solution, and we found it in Czechoslovakia. We found a manufacturing entrepreneur who was brilliant at cloning anything. He walked in the door, and said "I don't know jack about store shelving, but just show me the system you like, and I'll duplicate it and install it". And that he did. Took the Swedish system and made a perfect copy. Actually improved it, because he sharpened the tolerances a bit, so the shelves fit together better.

Why am I telling you this? Because this film producer did the same thing. He apparently thought to himself, "why do softcore sex films always stink? What if I remade a cool movie like Alien, and just added a bunch of sex scenes among the ship's crew, and had the baby alien, the one that emerges from the chest, planted there by sexual contact?" 

Not a bad idea, but movies like this can't afford the kinds of sets and miniatures that the studios use, nor can they afford to hire talent like Giger and Ridley Scott. So he went to Czechoslovakia, and asked them to do a clone, just like I did.


C.C. Costigan is the star, and had a fairly explicit sex scene, but her pubic area was only seen through a video monitor. In passing, C.C. was listed in the cast of Dish Dogs as one of Shannon's fellow strippers, but I couldn't see any sign of her there. Kim Dawson was naked from the side, but never showed her nipples or her creek. The Czech girls provided some extra topless action. (But not much dialogue, because the movie is in English)
Unfortunately , this stuff is much harder to clone than grocery shelves. The monster came out OK. After all, one basically eschews close-ups in favor of a tail slithering into a vent, so they could make it feel about the same. The couldn't duplicate Giger's unique biomechanicals, so they instead made the set in a spare Bauhaus design. Not as spectacular, and not original, but functional.

So far so good. Where they were really hurting was with the f/x and miniatures. Industrial Light and Magic has that stuff down to such a science that we take it for granted, but the miniatures in this movie look not many generations removed from Ed Wood's tin plates on a wire. In fact, I think you could see Mattel and Kenner written on the side of the spaceships. And the vistas on the first planet were obviously painted.

One more problem. Acting. As a general rule, soft core porn actors aren't really up there with Ian Holm and Sigourney Weaver and John Hurt. But this is balanced off because they work cheap and get naked.

Despite an abrupt ending, the movie is surprisingly watchable for a zero-budget Czech epic filmed in Prague with silly looking spaceships where someone actually says "resistance is futile" with a straight face.  

This is apparently a series of films based on a common premise, with a recurring character who frees imprisoned women and sends them on desperate missions. I've watched two other movies in this series (Last Stand, Fatal Conflict), and I feel this is by far the best, although that is not much of a recommendation

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Tuna's comments in yellow:

Lethal Target (1999) is one of the Lloyd A. Simandl Sci Fi soft-cores, and possibly one of the best. As you recall, they all start out with scantily clad women moving rocks in a prison mine, then one of the prisoners is summoned, and given a special dangerous assignment, for which she will win her freedom. The location then changes from the mines to a warehouse in Prague, which serves as any number of inner cities, spaceships, and whatever else they need. In this case, it is a spaceship, and C. C. Costigan is up against the alien from Alien, who has fallen on hard times and is now working in grade Z soft-cores. The ship was on a scientific exploration and research mission when the female captain, Kim Dawson, returned from a field trip infected with the alien, and spread it to the crew. Costigan must defeat the alien and save the world. This, of course, necessitates lots of sex and nudity.

The Critics Vote

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The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. Production values too cheap to be a good sci-fi. Not enough sex to be a good softcore. Just a barely watchable "B" movie. (Tuna says : C-. It has naked women in good light, some semblance of a plot, and mostly decent photography, so it nearly meets genre expectations.)

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