Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996)
LEPRECHAUN 4: IN SPACE
WRITER: Dennis Pratt
DIRECTOR: Brian Trenchard-Smith
STARRING: Warwick Davis as The Leprechaun
Brent Jasmer as Books
Jessica Collins as Tina
Tim Colceri as Metal Head
Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. as Sticks
Debbe Dunning as Delores
Gary Grossman as Harold
Rebekah Carlton as Princess Zarina
Rick Peters as Mooch
Geoff Meed as Kowalski
Michael Cannizzo as Danny
Ladd York as Lucky
Guy Siner as Dr. Mittenhand
QUICK CUT: The Leprechaun is back! AND THIS TIME HE'S IN SPACE. Oh, and also, there's a mad scientist being turned into a spider.
Tina - A scientist that gets packed along with the space marines with the mission brief to collect alien samples for study. A bit forced, but I guess collecting body parts once the marines are done spacesploding things, is an idea. She really doesn't have much of a personality beyond smart scientist, but she's got a plucky can-do attitude, at least.
Books - The forced love interest for Tina. He wants nothing to do with her at first, so you KNOW there's a kiss coming in their future. As a nice change of pace, he really has no character trait amongst the space marines beyond 'love interest'.
Hooker/Metal Head - The head space marine, and he is very much in the R. Lee Ermey school of soldiers. He yells, he's loud, he's foul mouthed, but his gruffness hides a secret softer side underneath the metal plate in his skull.
Harold - A toadying scientist underling that is more sychophantic than anyone I've seen in awhile. He'll say anything the boss wants him to hear.
Dr. Mittenhand - Speaking of the boss, then there's this guy. Mittenhand is the lead scientist about the spaceship everyone's traveling upon, and he's a bit of a recluse. He hides out in his lab, running experiments, and lets Harold handle any visitors, save for the occasional interaction via a monitor screen. He's about as loud as Hooker, and he is cunning and conniving, always looking for a deal, and a way to help himself.
Princess Zarina - The Leprechaun's love interest, a space princess from, where was it? Dominia? Eh, it doesn't matter, does it? Kinda amoral, willing to go along with the Leprechaun's plans to kill her father so she can be queen, and rich.
The Leprechaun - And here we go again. This is probably the least recognisable version of the Leprechaun. He has none of his defining traits, and is as separated from the common Leprechaun mythos as one can get. And that is saying something, since continuity is a word these movies have only vaguely heard of. He's got weird telekinetic powers. He doesn't really do magic. He doesn't really care about his gold...this is a pale green attempt at Leprechaunning.
THE GUTS: Just when I thought it was safe to go back to reviewing movies, just after I have such a good February, March comes in like a Leprechaun, which must mean it is time to do the final three movies in the Leprechaun series. Oh yes, it's Leprechaun Month 2: Back 2 Tha' Reviews. ...That'll make sense in a few weeks, trust me.
The fourth installment in the series has our little antagonist going into space. Why? We don't know. They don't tell us. Ever. He's just...in space. Because of reasons. I mean, it's the fourth movie. You go into space. That's just the way things are done, right?
But how bad can things be? We're gonna get some cool scifi settings, action, adventure, and terror...I mean, Alien was a scifi horror flick, and that was awesome, so how bad can this be, right? Oh Phoenix, this is not going to come anywhere near Alien.
Sweet Corman, this movie does not even mess around with some sort of justification or explanation, it just literally rockets into space like this is normal everyday stuff. There is no sequence of "How do we GET the guy into space?!" nope, we just start right off with the spacecraft zooming along doing its thing. Are we in the future? Is this another space faring culture similar to humans? No one knows!
And the set design here is borderline painful. If you've seen classic Doctor Who, you know *exactly* the kind of sets we're dealing with here. The caves look precisely that terrible.
We start out by meeting some space marines and their personality quirks, and I can't remember a single one of them, because really, they're all gonna die pretty quickly. We've all seen these scenes done a million times before, and many of them better than this one.
The only notable thing about the group is the hard-ass space leader of the space marines, who has a metal space plate in his space skull. It's visually catching, but the cheap clay around the seams is laughable at best.
Anyways, their space mission is to search and destroy on a space moon for someone who's been disrupting space things, and yeah, that's our Leprechaun. Why is he in space? WHO KNOWS.
Before the space shooting can begin, the space marines get saddled with a space doctor who is there to collect space samples of anything they find. Sergeant Not!Lee Tergesen is not happy about this, and as silly as this all is, I do rather love how space pissed he gets.
After Hooker checks with Dr. Mittenhand to confirm that his team does have to babysit the space doc...wait. Mitten...hand...? Yeah, I'm just gonna leave that one alone.
But once that's out of the way, we all journey down to a space rock and meet a space princess tied up in space manacles, when Luke O'Skywalker finally enters the movie. Wearing a tux no less.
So, the Leprechaun tells Zarina that she is to be his space wife, which will one day lead to her being a space queen, making him a space king. A proposition which she finds laughable, at best. Careful, lady, someday he's gonna be a space king and try and hook up with Clara Oswald.
The uh, the Leprechaun's goal here is to become a space king, and earn some space respect. But um...gold? What about the gold? What about the entire thing that makes him a Leprechaun, and not just some generic space villain? Are we divorcing ourselves from continuity that far? I'd even settle for space gold.
Spacely McSprocket finally wins over the space princess, kinda, by promising her riches beyond her wildest imaginings. To prove his point, he...conjures up jewels. And gold. So he...he's going to *give away* his gold. I guess we ARE leaving continuity back on Earth.
And let me get this straight; we've got the space marines, landing on a space rock, to find space creatures and rescue the space princess, and the Leprechaun is just there negotiating with her. Why? JUST CAUSE I guess!
While the space negotiations are going on, the space marines are lurking through the caves of Androzani, and eventually find a cache of gold and jewels of their own to take. Which at least gets the George O'Lucas's attention.
A firefight breaks out, and someone tosses a space grenade, right as the space princess walks in, which the space Leprechaun valiantly throws himself atop of to save her. And that's how he became Captain Space America.
The Leprechaun is blown to Lucky Charms, and Zarina is injured and knocked out. The space marines collect the space gold, and one of them takes a space piss on the remains of the Leprechaun. Oh, that should come back to bite him in the ass.
So the space marines take their space samples and their space princess to be examined by their space scientist aboard their space spaceship, and everything seems to be going well! They also show off a space shrink ray they use to have more space for cargo, and yes, this will be important later.
The space marines relax in their spaceship's space bar, and two of them duck out to have more space sex...and why is the *female* space marine the only one whose space tanktop is satin? Spacedamnit...
Of course, things get cut short when the guy starts having issues in his trousers, and yes. This is the same one that whizzed on the wee dude. I guess biting him in the ASS was the wrong area.
As you can probably guess, the Leprechaun rises from the pissed on ashes by crawling out of the guy's crotch. So...that happened. On the one hand, it's a steaming pile of WTF?! but on the other hand, is weirdly reminiscent of when the gold materialised in the guy's stomach from Leprechaun 3.
While James McKirk chases the girl around, Dr. Reeves chats with Books who was assigned to protect her. And this exchange happens.
"So, you're a doctor?" "A biologist. A doctor of biology."
Actual. Freakin'. Dialogue. I know the guy's a space marine, but was that clarification REALLY necessary?
Meanwhile, the skeevy lab tech Harold is fondling and kissing the unconscious space princess, Zarina, and I am pretty sure that is the very definition of medical malpractice. All while Dr. Mittenhand's robo space screen wheels in to check things out.
Waaait a second. Princess Zarina. Princess...Tsarina. Her name is literally Princess Princess. Spacedamnit again.
Oh, and as a bit of a plot point, the space princess's space hand, that got blown off in the space explosion grew back thanks to her space DNA, and Mittens is very intersted in the medical applications here.
The female space marine finally screams her way back into the rest of the movie, and they track Spock McVulcan to a place on the ship where they need to get suited up in protective gear.
Books and another soldier, Mooch, go in while Dr. Reeves supervises. The Leprechaun shows up and slashes open Mooch's suit so he can be quickly devoured by flesh eating space bacteria.
The Leprechaun demands they gives him back the space princess, and he'll spare their space lives. But...but gold? What about gold? That's what usually makes him threaten lives. Gold? Leprechauns?
Poor Mooch gets melted down to nothing but a space skeleton in a spacesuit that keeps asking who turned out the lights, while the team heads to see Dr. Mittenhand and discuss those terms. Hooker seems keen to do so, since he's already lost a bunch of men, but Mittens wants his science space experiment.
The space marines would still rather give up the girl, and they're outta there when their space contracts are up at space midnight. And finally, after a lot of yelling, Mittens comes out of his lab and reveals why he's stuck to a screen so far.
And that would be because he's ripping off Davros from Doctor Who...er, I mean, ripping off Captain Pike from Trek...er, shit! Let me try that again. Mittenhand is barely even a torso, riding around in a space wheelchair, with only his head and right arm left intact.
I rather like that it's our space heroes that are actually advocating turning over Zarina, with no one dissenting, and it's the bad evil obsessed scientist that wants to keep her. They have perfectly valid reasons that makes those choices make sense, but it's so often the other way around, isn't it?
Hooker and Mittens renegotiate the contract, and while that SOUNDS boring, both of the actors are so hilariously over the top, and shout damned near every line, it's almost worth the entire rest of the movie to see this scene.
So, the space marines are back on the space case, and go looking for Bones McMcCoy in the engine room, where he's still babbling about being king and having power and wealth. GOLD. What about the gold!
Meanwhile, the space nerds tinker around with Zarina's space blood...which just so happens to be blue. GET IT? From just a few cells, they regrow Mitten's finger, and he declares his brilliance. Yes, he is brilliant for putting blood on a slide.
The gang stumbles around the space engine room, and eventually Books runs into a little 50 Shades of Green when Christian O'Grey magically makes some handcuffs appear and attach the space soldier to some handy space pipes.
Books and Tina escape, but the Leprechaun has plenty of other toys to play with and soon finds another two soldiers to torment.
One of those space marines happens to be named Danny. In a movie with an Irish folk legend. You can guess where this goes, and it's not long before we hear Warwick Davis singing Danny Boy. I'm surprised it took them 'til #4 to do this.
Danny Boy tries to negotiate with the little green guy, but just ends up getting crushed under a giant metal space box. I guess he shoulda yelled more like Sarge. That helped his negotiations.
We take a break from the action to check in on Mittens and Harold draining Zarina of her space blood, with more hammy space acting from the doctor. All he wants is to use the DNA to fix his body and be beautiful. In any other movie, he'd get his wish by becoming the princess because of HER blood, but we won't be that space lucky... Spacedamnit a third time.
Back with the space marines, Delores gets separated from the group thanks to the Leprechaun, and because we can't have him deal with more than one space target at a time.
She at least shoots him up into tiny space bits again, although the last time that didn't take, did it? Still, points for trying, and cool watching the Leprechaun explode bit by bit.
Unsurprisingly, he grows right back, and at least this time he didn't grow out of anyone's trouser shillelagh. But he grabs the stunned Delores and tosses her out of the way.
The team finds Dolores' space corpse, and her final words are, "Kill him." Oh, thanks, we thought we'd just find him and ask him over for space tea after that last hour of terrorising. But somehow this prompts Tina to pick up a gun for vengeance after an entire movie of saying she dislikes guns.
Boy, if only these two women had been given a single scene together to establish any sort of friendship or rapport to cause that change in behaviour!
Over in Mad Labs, Mittens is still playing with the space princess's miracle DNA, when the Leprechaun wanders by. He uses the form of a naked Dr. Reeves to get space pervert Harold to open the door for him, and all the guy gets is a kick to the space groin.
Mittens sees the Leprechaun for the first time, and starts laughing hysterically at his pathetic stature. Now, Mittens, don't taunt the demon, it's just tacky.
"You find me laughable??" Dude, have you SEEN your last three movies? Let alone THIS one? It's a wonder Mittens can get a word out around the laughs.
Mittens sees Harold stumbling back to his feet, and with a space knife, so stalls for time by trying to negotiate with the Leprechaun. This movie has WAY too much thrilling negotiating action. But anyways, if these two were given enough time together, I shudder to think what Mittens and Ben McKenobi could come up with.
Harold stabs the Leprechaun, but it does little good. So the little guy uses his telekinetic powers to fling a pan at Harold's head and flattens it in true slapstick fashion.
...Wait, telekinetic powers? Where the frell did THOSE come from?!
For his treachery, Mittens needs to be punished, and after waking up his space princess with a space kiss, the Leprechaun gets to space work on a space potion with the space DNA and space spiders and space scorpions.
The space marines show up just as Mittens is injected with a space needle, and begins to transform during the middle of the shootout.
Oh, and in all of that, Tina gets chemicals spilled on her clothes, necessitating tearing up her top. Gee. I wonder breasts...er, why.
They follow the escaping couple, and the Leprechaun makes space explosives appear all over the sarge to use as a space hostage.
Before leaving, the space princess shows off her space boobs and gives dire proclamations, with no real explanation, until Reeves explains that to see the breasts of a Dominian royal, it's a death sentence. Well. That is...randomly boobs...er, convenient.
Despite having an explosive hostage, the last few survivors follow the Leprechaun and friends, and eventually find the now-transformed sarge, wearing a dress, hair, and bad makeup.
This...is probably offensive on some level. If for no other reason than it being an assault on my eyeballs.
Zarina offhandedly mentions the gold, and over an hour into this thing, Greedy McLuck remembers that's actually a thing, and rushes off to get it back.
The sarge gets punched in the face, and starts bouncing between his usual shouty, military, vulgar personality, and a weepy woman, while kicking people's asses.
Meanwhile, Mittens is waking up, and having discovering he can walk again, which with his silly German accent sounded like "I can fuck!" and that confused me for a second...
As Reeves beats up the Sarge, Mittens leaves a log of his condition, saying he's pulled a Dr. Smith and is now all about ssssspiiiiders, and that he's starting to feel his mind slipping away. And when he's not doing his Dr. Smith impersonation, he's doing his Dr. Lazarus impersonation and trying to crawl through corridors and kill people.
The Leprechaun pauses on his quest for gold to set the ship to self-destruct, Mittenspider is losing it, and they finally take out the sarge by electrcuting him. This is a very, very strange movie.
Mittenspider freaks out over the impending loss of his ship and his life's work, and tries to stop the space countdown. Just one problem; all his new spidery brain cares about is flies, and he's forgotten what the space password is.
The Leprechaun stops off to leave a forcefield on the lone shuttlecraft, making sure no one can escape without him, and continues searching for his gold. And really, it's more lip service to the gold than anything else, it's ultimately pointless to anything he does.
With a lot of running through corridors in true Doctor Who style, our heroes split up, to find the Leprechaun and go to Mittens' lab to try and stop the countdown, and the Leprechaun finally finds his gold. Which has been shrunken down to pebbles, but he has it.
The guy in Mittens' lab ends up getting tied up, but still manages to get most of the way to shutting down the space explosion, except he needs that space password.
People keep shooting at each other in the cargo bay, and eventually the Leprechaun gets shot with the embiggening ray, making him grow to gigantic proportions. Even larger than a normal space human, even!
Reeves heads to the lab to deal with space passwords, while Books plays hide and seek with Hank O'Pym. It's fun with forced perspective and shrunken props, everyone!
In the air shafts, Tina runs into Mittenspider and because she hasn't received enough indignity yet, he tears off her space pants. Sigh.
But despite being reduced to a tank top and her underwear, she still makes it to the lab, even if all she finds there is a giant manspider that's hungry.
Fortunately, there's some handily convenient liquid nitrogen that they use to stop the spider cold long enough for him to be shot and shattered. And get in a few references to "The Fly" because why not?
Books escapes the cargo bay with the princess, and has the bay opened to the vacuum of space, which sucks Scott McLang outside where he proves to be just as vulnerable to the laws of physics as anyone else in that regard.
There's still an exploding ship to deal with though, but they of course find the password, and Tina and Books start space making out. Despite being at odds through most of the movie. But y'know, opposites attract and all that.
And somehow, that's where the movie ends, which makes some level of sense, although it does leave the Princess's plotline up in the air, and really, it just leaves you with this weird taste in your mouth.
How was this a Leprechaun movie, exactly? He barely did anything magical, the gold was an afterthought, and what logical sense does it make to go into space with him?
What the heck was the space point??
AUTOPSY REPORT (Not performed by Harold)
Video: Okay, okay, the *video* looks decent enough, but the set design drags the quality down in spite of itself.
Audio: A solid mix, all things considered.
Sound Bite: "Nobody leaves this ship unless I so say! ... ... ...Say so." A pretty typical statement by Dr. Mittenhand.
Body Count: The movie is nicely loaded with bunches of space marines to space kill, and the Leprechaun movies have never been shy about the death toll.
1 - Our first space marine cannon fodder bites it 13 minutes in thanks to a lasersword. Oh, and his name was Lucky. Space irony!
2 - Space marine #2 bites it thanks to the worst case of a space STD ever.
3 - Space marine #3 gets gnawed on by space bacteria.
4 - Space Marine #4 is smooshed under a giant crate.
5 - Female Space Marine gets tossed over a railing to her doom.
6 - Harold's head gets flattened, and unless proven otherwise, he dead.
7 - Sergeant Hooker gets electrocuted.
8 - Dr. Mittenhandspiderperson explodes into tiny bits after being frozen.
9 - Technically, the Leprechaun gets exposed to the vacuum of space and explodes, but we'll see how that goes.
Best Corpse: Kowalski's death by the Leprechaun returning to the land of the living via the guy's pants is pretty hard to top. It's great payoff to an earlier moment, it actually makes a weird level of sense with what we've seen in other movies, and it's very WTF inducing.
Blood Type - C+: The blood itself is kinda lacking, but I really can't fault the movie for the makeup and effects. Props, yes, but not makeup. I mean, c'mon. Look at Mittenhand's torso. And Mittenspider.
Sex Appeal: Naked Tina by way of shapeshifting Leprechauns, and the death sentence sent down by Zarina.
Drink Up! Just...just drink.
Sights and Sounds: I was tempted to include as a video clip this time out some of the negotiations between Mittens and Sarge, but the Leprechaun's silly safety video makes the cut, thanks to being strange, showcasing his humour, and such.
Movie Review: Okay, I am going to set aside the rock bottom production values leading to cardboard wobbly sets, cheap props from the kitchen, and the fact this has nothing to *really* do with the Leprechaun movies, for a moment. This really could have been just any old scifi actiony silly movie from the 90s, but for some reason, the Leprechaun is there, and it's just so pointless. Make it some random alien with TK powers, and it's the same story, really. But all that aside...the plot itself, isn't terrible. I mean, sure. There's better plots. But it's got some energy to it, and some inventiveness, and there's an adventure story buried in there, somewhere. But man, it just feels so amateurish. And at the height of silly scifi movies, this is just a weird sidenote. Two out of five floating space fingers.
Entertainment Value: While this may be the single least Leprechaun movie out there in the original canon, it is easily the most strange and entertaining. What it lacks in plot, what it lacks in Leprechauniness, what it lacks in good writing and common sense, it makes up for all that by just making you go, "What?!" for a solid 80 minutes. The movie has strange characters in weird situations that diverge into odd places you don't see coming, while somehow still being predictable as all hell. Several of the actors aren't BAD, per se, but they chew up that cheap scenery like no tomorrow. Every single moment with Mittenhand is comedy gold, and Sarge isn't far behind. This movie may be a giant ball of WHY but is it ever entertaining. Four out of five space scorpions.