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
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
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.
|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
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
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.
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