Note: The screenplay was by legendary comic creator Bill Finger, the man most responsible for making Batman awesome.
The movie opens with the men at the United Nations Space Command discovering that an asteroid is on a direct collision course with Earth, and that there is only ten hours to destroy it before it obliterates our tiny blue planet. General Thompson (Bud Widom) knows that there is only one man qualified to lead this mission, and being Bruce Willis was only thirteen years old at the time that man is Commander Jack Rankin (Robert Horton). There is one slight problem and that is that Rankin had resigned from Space Command and so can’t be ordered to go, he has to volunteer. An added wrinkle to the mission is that with such a tight timeframe there is a good chance that after planting the explosives on the asteroid that the astronauts won’t be able to make it far enough away to escape the blast zone.
“You had me at suicide mission.”Complicating things further is the fact that the mission will be outfitted and launched from space station Gamma 3 which just so happens to be commanded by Vince Elliot (Richard Jaeckel), a man who was once best friends with Rankin but now they are bitter enemies. We never get any details as to what exactly happened to cause these men to have such a falling out but a mission that Elliot led, which resulted in several deaths because Elliot tried to save one man and ending up losing ten, is one big reason but the other would be that Elliot is currently engaged to Rankin’s ex-girlfriend Lisa Benson (Luciana Paluzzi), and who is now a doctor on Gamma 3. So we have an asteroid headed for Earth as well as a tense love triangle aboard a space station, that’s a lot dramatic tension for a science fiction movie and we haven’t even got to the monsters yet.
“I get the girl, you can have the asteroid.”Tension mounts right off that bat as Rankin pulls rank *snicker* as he is in charge of the mission and will be calling all the shots, and he spends most of the movie shoving that fact in Elliot’s face. In turn Elliot is a complete baby about it and is more worried about Rankin stealing his girl back than any stupid asteroid threat. This is the key problem with this movie, neither of these guys is particularly likable; Rankin is a pompous windbag with a face like a slab of beef and Elliot is a whiney git who screws up and costs more lives just so he’ll have a reason to give the ole “noble sacrifice” at the end. Regardless of their antagonism towards each other Rankin allows Elliot on the mission to blow up the asteroid, and everything goes relatively smoothly, no deep core oil drillers required, but there is some pesky green slime that lies around in pulsating puddles that seems drawn to our astronaut’s moon golf carts and drains them of power.
I’m betting Triple A isn’t going to answer this call.Being time is of the essence Rankin abandons the equipment and races back to the rocket ship on foot, only to be shortly greeted by Dr. Hans Halvorsen (Ted Gunther) who excitedly shows off his container of green slime. Rankin tells him to, “Get rid of it” despite Halvorsen claiming that, “This is a major discovery!” and so our esteemed commander grabs the specimen container out of Halvorsen’s hands and smashes on the ground. What a dick. In many science fiction movies scientists are portrayed as “head in the clouds” morons who endanger everyone around them with the lofty ideals, but in this instance there is no reason not to bring back the first example of extra-terrestrial life ever found. The sample is safely contained in a glass specimen container and it’s only when Rankin smashes the jar that a bit of the slime lands on one of the suits of a fellow astronaut. So despite this script seeming to insist that Elliot and Halvorsen are responsible for multiple deaths it’s really all falls at the feet of Rankin because it’s his being an asshole that leads to the contaminate being brought back to the space station in the first place.
“I’m citing you all for gross negligence. Now where’s that hot fiancé of yours?When they get back to Gamma 3 Rankin orders that all equipment be run through the decontamination procedure three times despite Elliot grousing that his men don’t have time to run such unnecessary number of decontaminations. Once again it seems like Elliot’s bitching and complaining is the cause of the Green Slime monster outbreak, but later we find out that the slime grows when exposed to energy and that the decontamination process actually accelerated their growth. Elliot’s not wanting to follow Rankin’s excessive orders was actually a good thing, but that still won’t spare him his “noble” death.
“I regret nothing!”Once the alien contamination begins to grow it starts knocking off Gamma 3 station personal one by one with nasty electrical chargers from its waving tentacles. Rankin, Elliot and Lisa run from one monster fried employee to another without a clue as to what’s going on, that is until they come face to cyclopean eyed face with the growing horror that plagues their station. Halvorsen, being the scientist, wants to capture the thing alive, and Elliot and his men do try to capture it using gas guns and rope nets. Unsurprisingly this results in several men being killed and or hospitalized. Later when they try to lure the growing horde of creatures away from the inhabited portions of the station Halverson gets caught behind a closing bulkhead door because he was stupid enough to run back to get his notes. Typical movie scientist action. Rankin and Elliot see on a monitor poor Halverson screaming and flailing against the creatures, Elliot wants to open the bulkhead door and attempt a rescue, but Rankin is against the idea. This leads to the following exchange:
Rankin: “You’ll risk the whole station!”
Elliot: “That’s a risk we are going to have to take.”
Rankin: “Not as long as I’m in command.”
Elliot ignores the order and strides over to the bulkhead door.
Rankin: “Get away from that panel!” He aims a laser rifle at him and states, “That’s an order Vince.”
Elliot: “It’s your move commander.”
I’m assuming we are supposed to side with Rankin here because Elliot is willing to risk the lives of everyone on board the station for the sake of one man, clearly a call back to the incident alluded to earlier, but I’m on Elliot’s side because starring down a laser rifle in such a cool badass fashion is too damn cool, also Rankin is a dick. And poor Rankin doesn’t even get a chance to shoot off his popgun because Lisa runs in the way and opens the panel herself. Dames, they’re always ruining a man’s fun.