The lady from Ace of Base is out for justice!
As a moviegoing society, we should not have to stand for films that send a super-powered alien being to Earth to complete a mission. Simply put, any movie that starts off on some futuristic planet and ends up traipsing around the seedy parts of LA is ripping us off. And there are tons of them – Dollman, Abraxas, Beastmaster 2, and, of course, Galaxis, starring a pre-Flavor Flav Brigitte Nielsen and a post-Night Court Richard Moll. If you’re busy and want to read other things, I can sum up the movie in three words (“Abraxas with cleavage”), but if you’re curious how many cliches and plot thefts can be fit into a single sci-fi movie, read on.
We start in space, where a group of sketchy looking people wearing a sort of Robocop-meets-peasant wardrobe evacuate amidst a pretty one-sided space battle – and their side isn’t the one that’s winning. The planet’s leader, Lord Tarken, stands defiantly in a bunker while his staff tells him that their strategy of folding like fresh laundry isn’t working. One advisor (played by Sam “Spider-Man” Raimi) suggests a new strategy: give up and hand over the magical crystal that’s the foundation of their destitute and easily-beaten society, but Tarken refuses. Instead, they’ll wait for the evil Kyla (Richard Moll with a beard and alleged hair) to kill them and take the crystal.
Kyla living his best bellowing-for-no-reason life.
I’d just like to reiterate that the villain’s name is Kyla. It’s a perfectly fine name for a human person, but it’s what comes before “R&B Princess,” not “Evil Planet-Conquering Maniac.” My copy of Beyond Jennifer and Jason suggests about 340 names more sinister than Kyla. Gladys, for example. “We will not hand the magic crystal over to Gladys!” Or Duane: “Hurry, into the escape pod, Duane is coming!” This is all academic, of course, but for you youngsters out there, choose your supervillain’s name more wisely than the makers of this film.
After some shenanigans involving a shape-shifting six year old cyborg, Kyla infiltrates the bunker, kills the appeasing Sam Raimi and stabs Tarken in the heart with his retractable claws (they’re sort of like the claws Vega has in Street Fighter.) He takes the crystal and says â€œAt lastâ€ and starts howling like a bad hair metal singer. The super-powered Ladera (Brigitte Nielsen) runs into the bunker just as Kyla teleports away with the crystal. Tarken, who is apparently Ladera’s brother, says there’s a second crystal hidden on Earth, and that if she finds it the twelve survivors of the attack could not die as quickly. He also tells Ladera she’s in charge, though of course there’s nothing left to be in charge of thanks to his boobery. Frankly, any planet that can’t fend off Richard Moll should be conquered.
And who, you ask, has the second crystal? A scruffy idiot named Jed, who’s out drinking at a two-bit sleazy dive with his friend Manny. He sums up his problems in the following way, said with no sarcasm: â€œSome people are looking for something I’ve got. If they find it, I’m dead. No biggie!â€ Manny agrees to hide the crystal and leaves to await his imminent murder, while Jed is distracted by a belching prostitute â€“ yes, that’s really what happened – some thugs can tie him up and attach a bomb to him. This scheme comes to us from Victor, a rotund scuzz with a bad Danny Devito impression and whose sleaziness only underscores how bad his Danny Devito impression is. It seems Victor fronted Jed the money to go on the expedition where he found the crystal, and has decided to blow Jed up and take the crystal. Just as Jed is about to blow (!), Ladera shows up â€“ she sensed the crystal’s presence and teleported to Earth, but had to hit an ATM before going to the bar. She punches thugs out, the bar blows up, whatever.
We only have one faction left to introduce, and that would be Detectives Carter and Kelly, one of whom is played by the woman in Tron and both of whom are incredibly irritating. They know the explosion is a Victor job because Victor is a gangster and therefore responsible for all crime. They also find Jed’s wallet, which is full of Peruvian money, so they make dumb drug jokes.
Yes, they went for the donut joke.
From here on out, Galaxis consists of each of these character groups â€“ Jed and Ledora, Kyla, the cops and Victor’s goons â€“ chasing each other around LA trying to get hold of the crystal. It’s a sci-fi version of Kill The Guy With The Ball, mixed with one of those movies where hippies get mixed up in a jewel heist. There is no point in giving a play by play for this section (about 80% of the movie) so instead I’ll highlight a few notable scenes:
1) Kyla catches up to Ladera and Jed in a dark alley. They battle and Kyle shoots Ladera, who falls into an unconscious heap. The police show up and Kyla roasts them all. Then he leaves? No, he shape shifts into Ladera and HITS ON JED MY GOD THIS IS SO GROSS GETTING HIT ON BY RICHARD MOLL. Now he’s choking Jed out Vader-style with the Force until the real Ladera stabs him to death. Except for one thing: â€œMortal wounds alone cannot destroy him.â€ If so, they’re not really mortal wounds then, eh?
Kyla finds Jed’s lack of acting skill – er, faith – disturbing.
2) The cops sit in a car eating donuts. Yes, they went there. No, it was not funny in the least. No, Jeff Bridges does not yell â€œGreetings programs!â€ and kiss Detective Kelly. Later, the chief of police berates Kelly, saying Jed and Ladera are facing a set of charges â€œlonger than Prince Charles’s cellular phone bill.â€ (?)
3) At one point Kyla tangles with Victor’s thugs (who an angry Victor refers to as â€œshit brainless morons.â€ Kyla zaps one of them, who, in keeping with the laws of physics, turns into a very cartoonish skeleton.
The end comes after a very complicated battle in yet another abandoned factory. Jed is taken hostage by Victor, while Kyla throws Ladera over a railing and takes the second crystal, saying he â€œfeels the timeline opening.â€ Now earlier in the film we were told that Kyla would become the invincible ruler of all space and time when he got both crystals, but Ladera defeats him with essentially a Stooge-poke (ok, she zapped him in the eyes and made him explode). She picks up the crystal and ok, everything’s fine. And she gives him the crystal? â€œYou are now the Keeper,â€ she explains. â€œYour name will be legendary in our time.â€ Great, there’s an advanced space race out there and they worship a guy named JED. She goes to kiss him, only she dematerializes into the timestream before the sickening public display of affection can begin.
With realistic special effects!
You may have noticed something odd in this recap: there is no Galaxis in Galaxis. No one is named Galaxis, no planet is named Galaxis, no one even says the word Galaxis. They could have named it â€œZucchini: The Movieâ€ because that would have been just as relevant to the plot as Galaxis. This is just one of about 5792 things that make little sense in this film, but even so, there’s something about Galaxis that I found entertaining â€“ perhaps the fact that I live in a world where someone would think to make such a thing. Mildly recommended.