The Last Starfighter
Gary Adelson, Edward O. Denault for Lorimar/Universal
directed by Nick Castle
starring Lance Guest, Dan O'Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart, Barbara Bosson, Norman Snow, Robert Preston, Chris Hebert, Kay E. Kuter, Dan Mason, John O'Leary, George McDaniel, Charlene Nelson, John Maio, Robert Starr, Al Berry, Scott Dunlop, Vernon Washington, Peter Nelson, Peggy Pope, Meg Wyllie, Ellen Blake, Britt Leach, Bunny Summers, Owen Bush, Marc Alaimo, Cameron Dye, Geoffrey Blake, Kimberly Ross, Wil Wheaton, Bob Kenaston, Ed Berke
written by Jonathan R. Betuel, music by Craig Safan, production design by Ron Cobb, special effects supervisor: Kevin Pike, special makeup effects by Lance Anderson, digital effects by Digital Productions
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There's really little to tell about young Alex (Lance Guest), he's a
good-natured nobody who lives in a trailer park and who can't go to the
college he wants to, which kind of smashes his dreams about a better
future. The most special things about him are probably his beautiful
girlfriend Maggie (Catherine Mary Stewart) ... and that he's the champ at
an arcade game called Starfighter, a world record holder actually.
Thing is, Starfighter is not a regular video game but a rectuitment
tool put there by Centauri (Robert Preston) who uses it to find the best
gunmen of the universe to join the ranks of the Starfighters, an
intergalactic group to defend out galaxy against the forces of evil Lord
Xur (Norman Snow). Now Alex of course has no intentions to fight a war
that isn't even his, a war he's more than likely to die in, so after his
briefing at Starfighter headquarters, he requests Centauri to fly him back
Back on earth, a clone has meanwhile taken Alex's place, and
even though the clone is well-meaning, he messes things up royally. Of
course there is some confusion when the real Alex returns ... and then
both are shot at by an intergalactic bounty hunter sent by Lord Xur, who
has learned about Alex's qualities and wants him out of the way. Now on
the run from the bounty hunter, Alex decides to join the Starfighters
after all, leaving his clone on earth as a decoy - but back at the
Starfighter basis, he finds it mostly destroyed, and all other
Starfighters killed, so to defend the galaxy, there's only himself and
alien pilot Grig (Dan O'Herlihy) left. But almost unexpectedly they make a
very good team, and soon enough bring the fight to Lord Xur - but that
said, they're just one ship against an armada ...
Starfighter is not exactly a great film and certainly no classic in
the traditional sense of the word - but it's a prime piece of nostalgia as
it seems to embody everything that made a 1980s movie, from teen comedy
elements worthy a John Hughes to a loving lack of understanding for
videogames, to a few too many Star
Wars references to not be called a rip-off, to computer
effects that just fail to fully convince (even if they look very advanced
for the time), all rolled in a zero-to-hero story so popular back when.
And all of this is basically what makes this movie, it might not be
"good" from an objective point of view, but all the elements
thrown together just give one a warm and fuzzy feeling all the same -
especially to those who grew up in the 1980s.