Prince of Space (Yusei Oji)
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It’s just an ordinary day on Earth. Wally the shoeshine boy has joined his two adopted children, Mickey and Kimmy, for dinner at their friend Johnny’s house. As Wally stays at the table to chat with the grown-ups, the children go watch TV. But their favorite TV show is interrupted by a message from outer space. A man with a maniacal laugh (also wearing a silly costume with a beak-like nose), identifying himself as the Phantom of Krankor, announces that he’s on his way to Earth—and he’ll make his demands known once he arrives.

It doesn’t take long for the people of Earth to figure out what the Phantom wants. Professor Macken has just discovered a new rocket fuel—one that’s clearly more advanced than anything the Phantom might have. It’s clear that the Phantom wants Earth’s rocket fuel. And there’s no telling what he’ll do to get it.

The next evening, the Phantom lands on Earth, and he and his henchmen begin terrorizing the planet and destroying people with their death ray. But then another ship, carrying the invincible Prince of Space, lands. The Prince (wearing a mask to hide that he’s actually Wally the shoeshine boy) isn’t harmed by the Phantom’s weapons, and he chases the invader away. But it’s clear to the people of Earth and the Phantom alike that this battle isn’t over yet. And if it means that the Phantom has to kidnap Earth’s greatest scientists and bring them back to his rocky, barren planet in order to get Earth to surrender, so be it….

If you’re a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, you’ve probably already seen parts of this Japanese sci-fi movie (which, incidentally, was originally two separate movies). It’s one of those movies that’s so bad that it’s actually really fun to watch—as long as you don’t try to take it seriously. In terms of all those things that the Academy takes into consideration, this movie is absolutely horrible—but that’s what makes it so entertaining. The English dubbing makes the entire Japanese cast sound like the Cleaver family. The costumes are so bad, they’re embarrassing. The fight scenes don’t look anything like those cool fight scenes in The Matrix. And the effects look like they were done in a 12-year-old’s bedroom.

And that, my friends, is what makes this movie fun. Actually, if it weren’t for the ridiculous costumes and cheesy lines, Prince of Space would be rather dull. But, fortunately, if you get bored, there’s always something to laugh at.

Recently released as a DVD double feature (complete with a campy drive-in movie theme) with another Japanese sci-fi flick, Invasion of the Neptune Men, Prince of Space is best enjoyed with a large group of friends…and a few drinks. Pick up a copy and pop it in the DVD player whenever you need a good laugh.

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