MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 XIV
Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
Joe Don Baker
What's it about
Stuck in space, Mike Nelson and his companion robots Tom Servo and Crow, must endure bad movies at the hand of an evil space doer. In this collection, the boys watch Mad Monster, Manhunt in Space, Soultaker, and Final Justice in all their gloried dreadfulness.
Is it good movie?
The last time I actually plopped down and viewed an entire episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 must have been more than a decade ago. Actually, it was more considering the showís been off the air for a decade. And while that makes me sound a little old, it also reminds me that Seinfeld has been out of production for roughly the same period. Ten years already!? Jesus. But I digress. I always dug Mystery Science Theater 3000. Itís a goofy, extremely cheap show that delivers with consistency. And damn if it doesnít add something special to really crappy movies.
The trio of Mike, Tom, and Crow create the proper environment that movies like these warrant. If youíre going to watch crap, you better make fun of the stuff. Personally, the in-between elements where the gang matches wits with their captors could have been done away with. Outside the cheap theater, the jokes miss more than they work, but I guess thatís the point. I understand the show has zero budget, but it invokes that cable access vibe that makes one just shutter. Now that I think of it, where is the avenue for bad movies on cable? With Mystery Science Theater 3000 gone, and Joe Bob Briggsí show long since buried, we need another host for late night cable. I wonder if Gilbert Gottfried wants to revive USAís Up All Night?
Again, I digress. Mystery Science Theater 3000 XIV is another grand collection with Joe Estevez in Soultaker and Jon Don Baker in Final Justice as the highlights. The latter in particular perhaps is one the best episodes. The filmís purely idiotic: a Texas sheriff (dressed as a 19th century cowboy) must escort an Italian gangster to Sicily to stand trial only to let the gangster get loose in Palermo, leaving Baker to unleash Texas-style justice on the mob. The boys have a distinct hatred for Mr. Baker. As one of the more meaty actors out there, a moment doesnít pass where they insert food, gas, or sweat references. Itís quite brutal. But damn funny.
Soultaker is the second best out of the four. While Mad Monster and Manhunt in Space have their moments as pure garbage movies, they just donít rise to the level of stupid that the lesser Estevez brings. Soultaker is the type of movie cable should still run starting at midnight. Seriously, every single aspect of the film sucks Ė from the acting, to the effects, to story, to peopleís haircuts. The badness, the sheer awful nature of the beast, creates the perfect folly for Mike and the gang. Their seemingly love for Mr. Estevez is in direct contrast to Mr. Baker, which really doesnít seem fair, but then again, Estevez has a likeable quality about him. He appears to take his roles so seriously. As if the role is his Apocalypse Now. Unfortunately, I donít think Mr. Coppola was sitting in the directorís chair for this one.
Video / Audio
Video: 4:3 Presentation looks nice and grainy, just what a crappy movie needs.
Audio: Presented with the power of 2.0. Face it; you only need to hear the boys rip the movies apart.
A Brand-New Interview with Joe Estevez: Five minute interview with Mr. Estevez as he relays his experiences shooting Soultaker. Itís a little scary how much he loved the movie as he speaks so glowingly about such crap.
A Brand-New Interview with Greydon Clark: Four minute clip with the writer/director of Final Justice. A pretty basic interview about the movie, but itís entertaining to hear his response the Mysteryís riff on the film.
Mike, Tom, and Crow on ESPN Classicís Cheap Seats without Ron Parker: Three minute clip for the boys sitting in the audience as the Sklar brothers do their thing. Very average. I would have rather seen interviews with the cast to get their take on the films.
Another great collection from a show that probably should have never left the airwaves. Seriously, how much could this thing cost to produce?