According to RottenTomatoes.com and Ain’t It Cool News, as confirmed by original scoremaster Craig Safan, everyone’s favorite ’80s fighter, the Gunstar is getting a sequel. According to Safan, a script has been written, storyboarded and is awaiting a final greenlight. IMDB projects a release sometime later this year, likely winter as I’ve not seen any promotional materials for it.
For those who aren’t familiar with the original, “The Last Starfighter” stars Lance Guest as Alex Rogen, your average-at-the-time teenage kid wishing he could be anywhere but the trailer park in which he lives with his mom and little brother Louis. He also gets the occasional visit from his girlfriend Maggie, played by Catherine Mary Stewart. Enter Robert Preston as Centuari, who, through an arcade game, recruits Alex to help defend the planet Rylos from Xur and the Ko-dan armada. After the standard will he/won’t he mental fight, he teams up with Grig, played by Dan O’Herlihy, to take it to the bad guys and save the day.
Yeah, it reeks of ’80s cult gold, which is why I’m excited that it’s getting a follow-up, perhaps kickstarted by the release of “Tron: Legacy.” Unfortunately, there’s a lot of hurdles to overcome for “Starfighter” to not just be more of the same reheated garbage that this past decade has served us. The first is finding a smooth-talking hustler like Robert Preston, the original Harold Hill from “The Music Man.” If you can lock down Centauri, the rest of the cast will fall into place, the caveat being NOT casting Shia Leboeuf as Alex, or Whatshername (yes, I refer to Megan Fox in that manner) as Maggie. Do that, and you’re doomed to fail. Look what happened to “Transformers” (quality-wise).
The second hurdle will be the graphics themselves. Back in the ’80s, “Tron” and “The Last Starfighter” were famous for their heavy use of CGI, something that we now take for granted. If “Tron: Legacy” can pull it off, “Starfighter” should be able to take the lead from there and match up well with its originator. The Gunstar will need to look hard and get a massive upgrade, the fight sequences are going to have to be longer and more massive without becoming Michael Bay presents “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” That said, it’s obvious the fabled weapons system Death Blossom will make a return, and if they mess that up, you can write off the rest of the film, it is the ONLY thing diehard fans, CGI and action junkies and those who just want to see what TVTropes.org calls “More Dakka” care about.
The last major hurdle will be the script itself. According to Safan, the man who wrote the score for the original “Starfighter,” it’s already done, but he didn’t say who wrote it. It seems evident they will pick up from where the last movie left off (I won’t say how it ends because you really should see it yourself), but it’s going to be dicey. A lot of time has passed, they will need to retell the story of the last movie very quickly so that the new one can stand on its own.
Now if all these things can be overcome, then this movie will be a sight to see, especially since Safan is returning to score “Starfighter,” which had phenomenal music and sound effects. If not, it’ll be the gruesome death of yet another great cult classic that didn’t deserve to die in this fashion.
. . .
Follow Chris Hyatt on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hyattch.