Fugitive Alien (1986)

Fugitive Alien

Directed by Minoru Kanaya

Written by Keiichit Abe

Tagline: "Marauding Wolf Raiders in Space Chase to the Death!"

Run Time: 102 min


“Captain…I think this is one mission where you’re not going to need whisky for excitement!”
– Tammy

After my previous experience with a Sandy Frank production, namely "Time of the Apes", you would think that I would keep quite a distance from any of his other works. Unfortunately, running a bad-movie web site requires making sacrifices, so here I am, ready to take a long, deep look into this insane movie…maybe too deep of a look for my own good.

As with Time of the Apes, Sandy Frank purchased a series of TV shows that were running on Japanese television in the 80’s. Safely in his possession, Sandy took the undoubtably massive amount of material and, er, edited them into one film. The result is of course a confusing jumble of a story: a story probably already pretty incoherent in its pre-Sandy Frank form, now rendered into a bizarre tale of wig-wearing Star Wolves, a drunken space ship pilot named Captain Joe and his first mate Rocky, and a bunch of people named Ken. (The ‘Fugitive Alien’ sage is actually comprised of 2 films: this one and the next film called, imaginatively enough, "Star Force: Fugitive Alien 2"…can’t wait to review that one…)

Love them, hate them, or loath them, I will say one thing: you’ll never forget the Fugitive Alien films.

Ken Ken (Tatsuya Azuma)

A Valna Raider with the heart of gold. He can’t bring himself to kill a young child and ends up accidentally killing a fellow Raider. Unjustly labeled as a traitor, Ken flees to the stars.

Joe Captain Joe (Jo Shishido)

The alcoholic captain of the space ship Backus-3. Man, where did they get this guy?

Rocky Rocky (Choei Takahashi)

"The best space pilot in the business!", according to Captain Joe. What business he is referring to is never explained.

Tammy Tammy (Miyuki Tanigawa)

The Mandatory Female Crew Member. Yes, she does develop a crush on Ken. Surprise.

Halkun Lord Halkun

The mysterious, wig-less leader of the Valna Raiders.

Rita Rita

Sister of murdered-Ken, and ex-lover of good-Ken. Burdened with the sacred Valna duty to avenge her brother Ken’s death by killing Ken, Rita searches the stars, finds Ken on a distant planet, saves his life after he is buried in a landslide, and then gets hit by a tree branch and dies.

The film opens with a shot of a model space ship floating around in outer space. The space ship itself has that odd Japanese movie quality of paradoxically looking intricate and cheap at the same time. As the ship flies over a blue-screen shot of a planet, the title card pops up, proudly proclaiming the title of the film which is to torture the viewer for the next 100+ minutes.

Fugitive AlienAs the credits continue, swarms of Valna Raiders (who also refer to themselves as ‘Star Wolves’ to confuse things) move in attack formation towards the unsuspecting planet Earth. All hell breaks loose as the attack commences in a barrage of choppy footage. With a storm of breaking glass (Hey! I remember that very same ‘breaking windows’ shot from Time of the Apes! Cheap bastards!), cheap, cheap blue-screen shots of space ships flying over downtown Tokyo, a gaggle of wig-wearing Star Wolves shooting at everything that moves, the Star Raiders continue their ruthless attack. (I wonder why an alien race would name themselves after a terrestrial animal, namely the Earth ‘wolf’. Wouldn’t they name themselves after an animal on Valnastar?)

Whoa, whoa, whoa…what the hell?! Man, these Star Wolf ships look a hell of a lot like the X-Wing fighters from Star Wars. I’m not talking "sort of" looks like, I’m talking lawsuit looks like! My God!

Fugitive AlienWhile the Wolf Raider Leader, Lord Halkun, sits and watches from his command ship, helmet and wig suspended beside him, the order to attack is given, which seems odd since about 400 gazillion people have already been shot.

Once again, let me state that Star Wolves wear wigs in their helmets. I’ll never know why.

Things explode. People are zapped. Windows break.

Suddenly Ken, a Raider with a good heart, spots a little boy running out from behind some crates. Seeing that it’s just a kid, Ken lowers his weapon, but Ken’s cold-blooded partner, also named Ken (!!) reminds him, "Ken, little kids with guns grow up to be big enemies. You better kill him while he’s still young!"

Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I heard somebody say that!

Ken takes aim and is about to pull the trigger when suddenly the young boy’s mother runs out from the shadows shouting for the boy: "Ken! Ken!"

Wow! That’s Ken’s name too! Well, you know what I mean.

The scene fades into a blue-fuzzy light for some reason, and Ken, Star Wolf Ken that is, watches as Boy Ken runs to his mother in slow motion. Good Ken can’t bring himself to shoot, so Bad Ken aims at Boy Ken and is just about to pull the trigger when Good Ken grabs Bad Ken and accidentally kills him with his laser rifle.

Confused? Good. Welcome to a Sandy Frank production.

Fugitive AlienAnyway, some of the other Star Wolves witness the accident but assume that Ken killed Ken when Ken was going to kill Ken. "Traitor!", the Star Wolves open fire on Ken (not the dead Ken, nor the Boy Ken, but Good Ken). Ken dodges to and fro and is eventually shot in the leg. Falling to the ground, Ken has no choice but to kill a couple more Raiders moving in to kill him.

Holding what looks like a riding crop, The Leader scowls and says, "You have betrayed us…You will never set eyes on Valnastar again!" Gee, what a bummer.

Ken painfully scrambles through a star port and hobbles inside a space ship that Just-Happens-To-Be-Standing-There-With-Its-Door-Open. Well, Ken grabs the controls and launches the ship but a group of Star Wolves fly after him in hot pursuit. (Using some delightfully awful special effects I might add.)

Somehow Ken evades his pursuers but his ship is damaged (indicated by a toy-ship spurting flames out of its rear end, so to speak.) Ken struggles to gain control of the crippled craft but, for some reason, loses consciousness. His regains consciousness upon hearing a beeping sound from one of the ship’s radar do-hickeys, a sound which compels Ken to note, "that’s an alien sound!" (How a radar ping can sound "alien" is beyond me. Then again, I’m no Star Wolf.)

Seeing as his ship is disabled and the other Star Wolves are in hot pursuit, Ken makes one last attempt to save his skin by "bailing out" of the crippled fighter and trying to float over to the alien craft that was picked up on the radar screen. (I’m also not sure that "bailing out" is the correct term for abandoning a ship floating in outer space, but there you have it.)

Fugitive AlienKen puts on a space suit, sets a self-destruct device on the ship, and "bails out" into space. (You know, space is pretty big, in fact I’ve heard it’s really, really, really big…so the chances of "bailing out" of one ship and being picked up are probably pretty low. And yes, I know about Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent begin kicked out of the Vogon ship and being picked up by Zaphod Beeblebrox…but that’s a horse of a different feather.)

Anyway, Ken’s fighter explodes and the resulting concussion is felt on the other ship, the Backus-3 ("The Earth’s oldest spaceship"). The ship’s captain, Joe, and his first mate Rocky (!), jump to battle stations while Obligatory-Female-Crewmember Tammy makes worried noises. (C’mon…Joe, Rocky, and Tammy? That’s the only American names they could think of?)

Fugitive AlienJoe orders Rocky to engage the "radiation deflectors" and they manage to steer the Backus-3 safely through the debris from the explosion. Suddenly Tammy spots a floating figure and the ship is halted. Most of the crew wants to just leave him floating in space, but Tammy insists, and Joe agrees. ("He’s not even wearing a space suit!", says Rocky, which rather contradicts the scenes showing Ken floating in a space suit.) One of the crew members floats out and brings Ken back into the Backus-3.

When Ken awakens he peers suspiciously at the curious crew. Wary of a trap, Ken lays still and doesn’t say a word when questioned about his identity and how he survived in outer space without a suit. (Valna Raiders are supposedly much stronger than humans, especially on their home planet of Valnastar. And once again, why do they keep mentioning that Ken didn’t have a suit on? Then what the hell is that he’s wearing?) Suddenly an alert comes over the radio that the Valna Raiders have attacked Earth (Well, duh! What was that? Like 2 hours ago?). Realizing that his true identity has been given away, Ken jumps up from the cot and throws a few karate chops in the general direction of the crew. Joe, being the captain, manages to knock him to the ground with a few blows to the stomach.

"You better tell us the truth, fella!", shouts Captain Joe. Ken, always quick on his feet, says, "I was an astronomer…doing scientific research!" (An astronomer? Is that the best you could come up with?) The questioning continues but suddenly a crew member shouts, "UFO’s are on the view screen!" Joe sends Rocky and the others to investigate while he gives Ken a warning to stay put "unless of course you feel like leaving this ship and floating in space!"

Back on the bridge, data spews out across a data screen. Hilariously, if you pause the movie at this point, the "data" on the screen is an order form for a metal products company in Salt Lake City, Utah. (!!!) I’m still laughing my ass off whenever I think about that! Man! I love this movie!

Fugitive Alien

The readout on one of Backus-3’s data screens…

Fugitive AlienShots of Captain Joe checking with the crew are interspersed with shots of an oscilloscope. because you know… it looks "spacey". Unfortunately for Captain Joe and the others, the UFO’s are actually a huge fleet of Wolf Raider fighter ships. Even worse, Backus-3 is spotted and they have no chance to outrun the fighters. Ken however has made his way to the bridge and promptly punches Rocky in the noggin. Rocky falls to the floor as Ken jumps into the vacant pilot’s seat and puts the ship into full acceleration.

The incredible velocity is displayed on the "Space Speed" (!!) dial for our convenience.

The Wolf Raiders are taken by surprise by this maneuver. (What? They weren’t expecting somebody to actually accelerate and try to get away?) In a last ditch effort to elude their pursuers, Ken plunges the Backus-3 into an asteroid field. A couple of Star Wolves follow but promptly strike an asteroid and blow up. (Hey…wasn’t there a scene in a Star Wars movie where a ship hides in an asteroid field…oh never mind.)

Safely on the other side of the asteroid field, Ken smiles and is promptly knocked out by Joe who says, "That’s for knocking out one of my officers!" Somehow the ship makes its way back to Earth and lands…somewhere. Inside the, *ahem*, space port, which looks very similar to a modern day airport terminal, Joe and the others make their way towards some hitherto undisclosed destination. Suddenly a voice is heard over the loudspeaker ordering all commanding officers to go to "Space Command Headquarters" for a debriefing. (Um…ok.) Joe sprints off to attend the meeting leaving Ken, bound and unconscious on a stretcher (!?) under the guard of Tammy and the others.

Finally in Space Command Headquarters, Joe tries to contact "Spaceport 6" but when he punches a few keys on a keyboard, a map appears with a big red dot over the spaceport. Joe looks concerned. I have no idea what’s going on here.

At the local hospital, a doctor is sewing up Ken’s wounds while Rocky warns the hospital staff to keep Ken under "heavy guard." The doctor nods and says, "Thanks for the warning," as Rocky and Tammy turn and leave.

Gee…I wonder if Ken is going to escape from the hospital.

OK, back outside the hospital, maybe it’s a different hospital, Captain Joe drives up and screeches to halt in a bright red Jeep Cherokee (!). He jumps out and runs through the hospital making his way to the morgue. Inside the morgue, Joe finds the bodies of his wife and daughter laying under some sheets. (You would think that not just anybody could run into a morgue and start poking around the bodies, but obviously things are different in the future. The Space Future!)

OK, gee wiz, cut back to Ken who has just knocked out a doctor, climbed up some sort of ventilation shaft and escapes from the hospital. (I never saw that coming!) As we watch Ken running through fields and quarries (i.e., two very cheap places to film), a narration starts up explaining what is happening in case anybody fell asleep:

"Ken is safe…for the moment. Where could he go? What could he do? An outcast on his own planet. A fugitive alien on Earth. [Hey! He said the title!] He’d have to make a fresh start somewhere. But where? And how could he get there?"

Ken makes his way through the quarry, er, wastelands, and winds up outside a water treatment plant, sorry, I mean "space port". His plans: Get back to the Backus-3 and beat feet. As expected, Ken manages to sneak his way past the space port’s intricate security system, namely, 1 guard.

Inside Backus-3, Captain Joe is smoking a cigarette and chilling, but quickly pulls his pistol upon sighting Ken. Being a Star Wolf, er, Valna Raider, er, Wolf Raider, whatever, Ken manages to knock the pistol from Joe’s hand and snatch it up from the floor. Oh! How fickle fate can be, eh Joe?

Alas, Captain Joe is nobody’s fool. Unfortunately for Ken, Captain Joe pulls the old "It’s No Use Pointing An Unloaded Gun At Somebody" ruse and, <sigh>, Ken momentarily looks away to check the gun, allowing Joe to knock the gun away once again. (Boy! The script writers deserve a huge bonus check for this stuff! Man! This is craftsmanship!)

After a good chewing out, Ken admits that, yes, he is a Valna Raider, "No use trying to hide it", he adds. Ken retells the whole Couldn’t-Shoot-The-Little-Boy-So-Shot-Ken-Instead-But-By-Accident story. Captain Joe still isn’t convinced that Ken is anything more than a cold-blooded Star Wolf. In fact, he found a bit of a Star Wolf uniform next to his dead wife’s body. Oh! The pathos! Anyway, to make a boring story short, Captain Joe takes Ken aboard as one of the crew, but doesn’t inform Rocky and the others of Ken’s true identity…

Fugitive AlienBack on Valnastar, the Wolf Raider ships return home. Lord Halkun (in white face paint, as usual) vows to "punish Ken mercilessly" for betraying the Wolf Raiders. We are then treated to some more Star Wars rip off scenes of space ships returning from battle and so on. Whoa! Cut to show a hot babe (with a long, blond wig) stalking through the Wolf Raider fortress…Who is she? What is she doing there? A female Wolf Raider? Only time will tell…

OK, her name is Rita (Huh? Rita!?), and as luck would have it, it was her brother Ken that Ken killed while trying not to kill Ken. (You know what I mean.) Lord Halkun informs her of the bad news concerning her brother’s death. "How sad it is to put your trust in a traitor", Lord Halkun adds after telling Rita the news. Oh yeah, Ken then "escaped into the unknown [?] in a stolen spaceship." (I’m not sure where Halkun gets his facts from, but let’s just get this over with…)

According to "an old Valna law" (You know…the old Valna laws…), Rita is now charged with killing Ken since she’s Ken’s next of kin. (Ha ha! Couldn’t resist.) Well, there you have it. Rita is not to return to Valnastar without Ken’s head. (Sheesh! Lighten up, Halkun!)

Fugitive AlienWe next see Rita trudging across a vast desert (In tight fitting short-shorts, I must add). Why couldn’t Lord Halkun give her a lift? Maybe another "old Valna law". As she begins to hallucinate, Ken appears before her wearing a shit-eating grin. Ken’s image explodes (?), and Rita calls out for him with tears in her eyes. (I think Sandy Frank must have edited some material out at this point. I’ll just go with the flow.)

Meanwhile, in a movie a million miles away, Captain Joe, donning a white baseball cap appropriately emblazoned with golden letters spelling "Joe", is talking to…somebody. Mr. No Name explains that it’s up to Joe to defend the people of Kararu from the Wolf Raiders and some other mortal enemy (as of yet unnamed).

Whoa! OK, now we are in space and the Backus-3 is under heavy attack by a swarm of Wolf Raider attack craft. No. Wait. Captain Joe was just having a flashback to an earlier encounter. We are in fact back in Mr. No Name’s office. With a few seconds consideration, Joe accepts the mission to save the Kararians from the Wolf Raiders.

Fine. Great. Cut to see Ken (dressed in a blue leisure suit!) training on some ‘obstacles’ which looks a bit like a miniature golf course. After jumping a knee-high barbwire fence, Ken collapses on the ground and stares into the sky. Ken’s thoughts drift into the past, in fact, we fade to see Ken frolicking with Rita on some distant planet. (Man, ok. What the hell? Did I miss something here?)

Fugitive AlienIn another typical Sandy Frank production moment, Tammy pops out from behind some sort of a grain silo and runs over to Ken. "What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?", she asks. "Shut up!" replies Ken, then after a second or two he adds, "Sorry."

Nope. I got nooooooo idea what’s going on here.

"You know Ken, I’m beginning to think that you’re not an Earthling!", says Tammy.

Yeah, and I’m beginning to think that this film is not all one episode either.

Anyhoo…back at Space Port Control, Captain Joe briefs his crew on their new mission: They are to aid Kararu against the Wolf Raider / Taholy alliance. (Don’t ask…I think that bit was edited out of this film too.)

Tammy wryly remarks, "Captain…I think this is one mission where you’re not going to need whisky for excitement!" (Har dee har)

Although the crew is a bit nonplussed when they discover Ken is coming along, Captain Joe pulls rank and they agree to accept Ken as part of the crew.

OK, let’s see here. Ken and the others are subjected to a barrage of medical exams, well, we see them laying on some sort of X-ray machine, so I guess that’s close enough. Back at the space port, Captain Joe problem shows the new Backus-3, saying, "I’ve had her rebuilt from stem to stern to withstand the extreme velocities out there…" (I didn’t know spaceships had ‘stems’, but anyway…) Captain Joe further explains how the new "power packs" will be able to take them "to speeds….uhhh…mach five point six and over…" (I don’t think people measured speed in outer space in terms of "mach", but maybe he’s referring to "Space Speed" machs.)

Later, Ken is pondering the strange twist of fate that is about to take him into battle against his own people. Walking alone in some sort of rail yard, Ken suddenly hears an engine roaring behind him and runs for his life from on oncoming fork lift. Unfortunately, Ken manages to trap himself in a convenient blind alley. However, being a Wolf Raider endowed with super-human strength, Ken manages to push the fork lift back. As the giant machine rolls backwards, Ken sees a figure running off into the darkness. A quick chase, a giant Wolf Raider jump into the air, and Ken captures his assailant: <Gasp!> It’s Rocky!

Fugitive AlienRocky now knows the truth: Ken is a Wolf Raider. However, Rocky believes Ken was planted into the crew to sabotage their mission. (Planted by who? They found him floating unconscious in space. Also, nobody knew about this mission until well after Ken was picked up.) A fistfight ensues, but is quickly broken up by Captain Joe who just happened to be walking around in that exact same area of the gigantic space port in the middle of the night.

Joe, covering up for Ken, tries to calm Rocky’s suspicious by saying,

"I know Ken’s a lot stronger than we are. There’s a reasonable scientific explanation for that. Ken’s spent a lot of time in another constellation. That increases strength."

Well. I see. OK, Joe.

After Rocky stomps away in a huff, Joe points his finger at Ken and snarls, "I expect total obedience from you! The only way you’ll continue to live is if I shut up!" (Well, shut up then!) Ohhh…the plot thickens. I think.

Cut to see the Backus-3 preparing for take off. Cut to Valnastar to see Rita talking briefly to Lord Halkun about things we already saw. Cut to Joe visiting his wife’s grave, which must have happened before the ship took off from the spaceport, but is still being shown afterwards. Ahhh…we love you Sandy Frank!

Fugitive AlienOh wait. Never mind. They haven’t taken off yet. They are having a toast to the success of the mission, somewhere, all dressed in their orange ‘space suits’. Are you following all this?

Much to Rocky’s pleasure, Captain Joe names him as pilot. "Let’s go for it then!", shouts Rocky with glee.

As Backus-3 lifts off (again), we see a dial indicating "Cabin Presser" [sic!]. (I guess a spell check wasn’t part of the Backus-3 upgrade.) The effects of acceleration are realized by blowing a high-powered air hose into the actor’s faces. Not an altogether convincing effect, to be honest.

Fugitive AlienAfter landing on planet…well…not sure because they haven’t said. I assume it’s Kararu. Yeah, well just go along with that. Anyway, upon landing, Backus-3 is surrounded by a bunch of soldiers wearing what looks like, I swear, watermelons on their heads. The lead watermelon soldier orders Captain Joe and one other officer (Joe picks Rocky) to come along with them in order to set in motion "delicate negotiations." (Once again, I suspect some material was cut at this point…) Despite being ordered to stay in the ship, Ken sneaks off as soon as Joe and the watermelon guys are out of sight.

OK, Ken runs out across the barren alien landscape shouting "Yippee! Yahoo! Woweee!!!". No, I’m not making this up. I have no idea what’s happening here.

Fugitive AlienAnyway, Joe and Rocky are finally introduced to Ujendo (?), Lord of Kararu. (See! I told you it was Kararu that they landed on!) Ujendo is dressed up in a purple robe, and what looks like half of a disco ball on his head ringed with silver bars of soap. The outfit is completed by golden chains hanging from the rim of his hat accentuateing the gaudy baubles on his fingers. (This guys rules a planet?)

This meeting gives a nice opportunity to hear some back fill. For what it’s worth, Kararu is under attack by the planet Sesar because the Sesarians what the Kararuians "natural resources". (Don’t we all!) Blah blah blah. Captain Joe has been hired to help the Kararuians fight the Wolf Raiders. (Didn’t we already know this from before?) To make things worse, Ujendo suspects that the Sesarians have obtained a super weapon that "could destroy our planet, or possibly our whole constellation." (Entire constellation? A collection of stars light-years apart? That’s one hell of a weapon!)

Meanwhile Ken has made it into the city and has found himself a bar. (Space bar? And yes, this is a poor rip-off of the cantina scene in the original Star Wars. Have these guys no shame?!) A drunken guard attempts to get Ken to drink with him, then abruptly says that strangers aren’t welcome. (Talk about mixed signals.) Ken, being a Valna Raider, uses his super-strength to battle the 4 or 5 guards in a half-hearted melee. (Oddly accompanied by strange ‘comedy’ music…go figure.) More and more melon soldiers join the fray and Ken runs off into the streets.

Back in Udego’s palace, Captain Joe and Rocky are still waiting for…something. Suddenly a call comes through and one of the palace guards turns on a monitor. Doh! On the display, for everybody to see, is Ken, under arrest, captured in "a house of pleasure!" (Oh…the indignity!) Ujendo casts a suspicious glance at Joe and suggests that Ken was given orders to "steal the stones." (What stones he is talking about is anybody’s guess at this point. I don’t recall anybody mentioning stones up to this point. Maybe I dozed off.)

Joe denies that the had anything to do with Ken’s disobedience. "Then you don’t mind if I cut off his head?", asks Ujendo"Not at all," replies Captain Joe, "Suit yourself." (Sheesh! Thanks, boss!) Completing the business at hand, Ujendo gives Joe a down payment for his aid in fighting the Wolf Raiders: Three big, goofy pieces of crystal that are supposed to Really-Really-Valuable.

Ken, locked up in his cell awaiting execution, tries to escape by perching out of sight in one of the upper corners of the jail cell. A guard notes Ken is ‘missing’ and goes to open the cell door. However just before he actually opens the door the guard spots Ken’s boot and the plan is foiled.

And the point of that scene was…..?

Later, Rocky and Joe discuss Ken’s fate. Rocky wants to leave Ken to suffer has fate at the hands of the executioners. Tammy convinces him otherwise. A rescue operation is put into action: Rocky, Danny, and Crewman No Name run off to…do something, while Captain Joe makes contact with Ken via his "secret radio". (Oh brother…You see what kind of movies I have to watch to have a web site like this?…)

The plan is this: Ken will break out of the cell and rescue a Sesarian officer who Just Happens To Be imprisoned in the same facility as Ken. Why do they want a Sesarian officer? To act as "camouflage" when they "move in". Really. It’s OK if you can’t follow this. The point is that they have tried to bolt together so many TV episodes, with so many plot threads, that it the resulting story is a complete mess.

Fugitive AlienUsing amazing Split Screen technology, we can watch Captain Joe and Ken go over all the Super Secret Hidden Items stashed here and there in Ken’s suit. (Noting how tight fitting these suits are, I can’t see how Ken couldn’t have noticed items ‘stashed’ anywhere in those things.) These items include a "miniature nuclear device" (!) disguised as a button.

Ken’s mission? Break out of prison, rescue the Sesar officer, and return to Backus-3. No problem….for a Space Wolf!

Excitement ensues…sort of. Ken wonders around the cell blocks looking for the Sesar officer, kills a guard or two, you know the drill. Surprise! Ken finds the officer in the first cell he comes across. Pretty convenient, eh? Oh Gee. The Sesar officer knows the way out of the vast complex of cells. (He memorized "every corridor" while being led to the courtyard for his daily exercise. I guess that means the guards took the officer to the courtyard using a combination of every corridor in the entire complex. How nice of them.) Ken bends the cell bars apart, and the Sesar officer is safely sprung.

The way out of the prison is filled with guards who are, unsurprisingly, dispatched with no trouble. Unfortunately an alarm is raised. Ken and the Officer are next shown running for their lives across another quarry, I mean wasteland. (How they magically teleported from deep inside the prison to outside the prison is never explained.)

As you may expect, a gaggle of watermelon soldiers spots Ken and the Officer (Damn! Can’t they give the guy a name?!), and run after them after shouting the obligatory "There they are!", thus obligingly alerting Ken to their presence. (Instead of say, being quiet and just shooting them.) Ken realizing the desperate situation that he’s now in, tosses one of the, *ahem*, miniature nuclear devices towards the guards which explodes in a massive explosion. The guards are killed, but Ken and the Officer are buried in the resulting landslide. (Doh!)

As Ken lays injured in the rubble, a figure approaches from atop a hill. The haze clears, and Lo!, it’s Rita! Ken’s sister sent to execute Ken for killing Ken way back when. (Ha! I love this job!) Instead of avenging Ken’s death, Rita tenderly sees to Ken’s wounds. As Ken regains consciousness, he explains to Rita the truth behind her brother’s death. "I believe you", says Rita, "You can’t betray a country you never belonged to…"

What?!

Fugitive AlienYes. Ken’s father was a missionary to Valnastar…a missionary from Earth. This gigantic plot twist is delivered via one line of dialog. Ken’s takes it all in stride. Let’s move this along. Rita draws her weapon, but just can’t pull the trigger…her love for Ken is too strong. Rita turns her back and explains, "I can’t kill the man I love!" The she turns in slow motion, tears streaming down her face. (Oh Bu-Ru-Ther!)

Ken and Rita embrace. Music swells. "What happens to us now?", Ken asks, "Are we both just fugitives in space?" As Ken and Rita discuss their next move (and by the way, where is that Officer? Did he just magically disappear from the script?), another group of guards Just So Happens To Show Up and Ken blows them away one by one. (It’s really amazing how boring a shoot-out can be in the hands of an inept director.)

During the shoot-out Rita is hit by a tree branch (!) and dies (!!). Her last words to Ken are that he is a traitor after all. (Huh? OK, whatever.) Ken takes a golden locket from Rita’s neck just as <Surprise!> the Sesar officer comes running out of nowhere shouting "I heard gun fire! Are you all right?" (Great screen writing.)

Looking one last time upon the body of his lover, Ken then glances at his watch and says, "Well…it’s getting late. We better get going." (Now that’s what I call a close relationship!) Ken and the Officer head off into the quarry, trying to find their way back to Backus-3.

Fugitive AlienAt the top of a tall hill Ken spots Backus-3 off in the distance. He tries to shout for help (which doesn’t seem so smart since they are in fact being pursued by hoards of soldiers). When shouting doesn’t work, he signals the ship by reflecting the sun onto the ship via his Super Shiny Space Suit Emblem. (Hey Ken, why don’t you just use the radio in your suit? Moron.) Luckily, Tammy Just Happened To Look Up and sees the flashing signals from Ken.

Literally five seconds later, Ken and the Officer board Backus-3 and are greeted by Captain Joe and the crew. (So if he was only a 5 second walk away, why the hell did he bother shouting and signaling the ship? Stupid, stupid movie.)

Finally the Sesar Officer introduces himself as Colonel Jarulen (I think that’s what he said. We’ll just call him Colonel.) Backus-3 lifts off, triumphant music sounds again. Back on the ship, Ken looks at the locket he took from Rita’s body, tears in his eyes, and then the most horrible words you could ever imagine appears on the screen:

"To be continued…"

Ayyeeeeeiiiii!!!!!!!!!

Dennis Grisbeck (August 2005)

Afterthoughts

Well, Sandy Frank does it again. A sub-par 1980’s Japanese TV series condensed into a feature length film. Good luck keeping up with all the plot twists and turns…most of the useful information has been cleverly edited out in order to maximize your confusion. Since there are two films in this series, Frank was obviously able to leave in a bit more material, as opposed to his other monstrously disjointed venture entitled Time of the Apes.

This movie was actually entertaining in an oddball sort of way. Why do Valna Raiders wear face paint and wigs? Why is everybody named Ken? Why do they attack Earth? Why do the Raiders refer to themselves by so many different names: Valna Raiders, Star Wolves, Star Raiders, Wolf Raiders, etc. These questions and more are never answered.

Enjoy!

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5 comments to Fugitive Alien (1986)

  • John Belleville

    The MST3K “Sandy Frank” song pretty much sums up the pain Mr. Frank inflicts on his audiences.

  • No kidding…my favorite line from one of the MST3K Sandy Frank songs was from “Time of the Apes”:

    Sandy Frank!
    Sandy Frank!
    Likes to throw crap with his hand!

    (And then Tom Servo says “I hope he doesn’t see this!”)

  • doug

    They tried to kill me with a forklift! Ole!

  • guts3d

    As expected, Ken manages to sneak his way past the space port’s intricate security system, namely, 1 guard…
    I laughed until I cried. I still chuckle everytime I think of this line. Great review!

  • Dancougar82

    Upon watching this movie parts of the plot started to become familiar, then when they mentioned ‘Star Wolves’, it hit me. This movie was based on the Star Wolf trilogy of books by Edmond Hamilton, but it appears that many liberties have been taken with the original story ( Including character names. ). I don’t know how the original ends, I haven’t finished reading them yet.
    –Dancougar82

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