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  Leprechaun 4 In Space Little Big Man
Year: 1996
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Stars: Warwick Davis, Brent Jasmer, Jessica Collins, Guy Siner, Gary Grossman, Rebecca Carlton, Tim Colceri, Miguel A. Núñez Jr, Debbe Dunning, Mike Cannizzo, Rick Peters, Geoff Meed, Ladd York, James Quinn
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: These space marines have a new mission where they have to hunt down a dangerous criminal on the planet he is believed to be hiding in between his attacks on the authorities. As they prepare, their Sergeant Metal Head (Tim Colceri), so called because of his metal head, enters the barracks of their spacecraft and starts ordering them about, then a new face appears. She is Tina (Jessica Collins), a doctor called in to help with the laboratory onboard, but she wishes to be part of the landing party as well, unaware of quite the arduous task they have ahead to get the criminal under control. That is because he is the Leprechaun (Warwick Davis), a small being with magic powers and a lust for gold...

Not every long running horror franchise villain gets to go to space: Michael Myers never made it, Freddy Krueger seems like he should have but didn't, though Jason Vorhees didn't seem like he should have but did. With the Leprechaun character, one which tended towards an "anything goes" affair when it came to concocting the plots, he settled in quite nicely to this straight to video business which more or less remade Alien with the titular beast replaced by the representative of the evil Irish faerie folk, or at least he was evil in this series' incarnation. He remained mischievous as ever, concocting various methods of bumping off his victims relying on how many quips he could make in the process.

Only this time around screenwriter Dennis Pratt evidently couldn't be bothered with one thing: the rhyming. Without that, the Leprechaun was more like a pint-sized Freddy than ever, though curiously the plot of the fourth Alien entry Alien Resurrection was actually very close to the storyline here, making some ponder whether Joss Whedon had caught this before penning his script. That said, it was infamously rewritten so if you ever wanted to see what an Alien effort looked like if prolific B-movie director Brian Trenchard-Smith had been at the helm then check out that third sequel. According to him, his endeavours here predicted the attempts to make consciously so-bad-it's-good horror movies that spread like a rash over the twenty-first century.

Certainly that campy humour was present as it seemed only Davis was in on the joke (note the lightsaber gag), with everyone else in the cast playing it straight; well, almost all, as Miguel A. Núñez Jr appeared as the token black person and injected a few nods to humour (and didn't meet the fate characters of his race tended to in shockers like this, though it's a close run thing), and Guy Siner was a ranting mad scientist who was part his comic incarnation from 'Allo 'Allo and quite a lot of Davros, creator of the Daleks from Doctor Who which he had acted alongside in legendarily grim story Genesis of the Daleks: Siner exhibiting some range there, not to mention the part when he gets transmogriphied into a large (and hungry) scorpion-spider hybrid to amp up the peril.

For all that, the movie belonged once again to Warwick Davis, the best reason to stick with the series. He was clearly having a ball as the wisecracking bad guy, exploding not once, not twice but thrice and each time managing to stick around afterwards, plus the late on sequence where he grew to huge size, becoming a giant dwarf in silliness that really deserved a movie of its own to work out its various consequences. But for all Davis's valiant tries at keeping this sprightly, the fact remained an awful lot of it was simply following the taller cast skulking around space corridor sets brandishing large guns, which began to pall after half an hour and never really recovered. The other leading lady other than Collins (who manages to get her trousers ripped orf for the finale) was Rebecca Carlton, playing the Princess the Leprechaun wishes to marry for her fortune. She was amusing as well, coasting through such scenes as her gratuitous topless shot and offering a nice sidekick to the baddie, but as with too much of this, the daftness was redundant. Music by Dennis Michael Tenney.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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