Forgotten Film Synopses Requests: the Last Starfighter


Hello and Konbanwa peeps, and sit back to enjoy another request edition of FFS!!!

Tonight's piece was requested by fuzzywuzzy666, and since it's been awhile seeing the movie, I told him I'd get right on it. Fuzz, this very LONG one's for you : )

    Sep 02, 2011 02:32 pm
    Can you do a movie called The Last Starfighter, i grow up loving this movie ! kinda like a star
    fox meets starswars movie, lol

    YOUR AWESOME !!!! :)

Very obviously trying to pick up on the intergalactic good vs. evil premise from recent Star Wars films, The Last Starfighter gave younger kids the opportunity to bask in the excitement of aliens, space fights, black leather-clad evil villains, and simple inter-species politics, the same as their elder siblings and folks were doing.


With a plot line just sophisticated enough, along with effects, soundtrack, and acting backed by three major film studios, The Last Starfighter is at the head of its class regarding well-made Sci-fi films geared toward the family/children category.

The only downside is, albeit a complex and scary ride for the under 10 crowd, this film loses its luster with age, both in regards to the times, and the audience viewing it.

Still, it's another one many of us remember from childhood, and as a Sci-fi and MAJOR video game nut, yes, I'm one of those peeps that secretly wish something like this could happen in real life. For now, however, I'm only too happy to feature this request in this edition of FFS. On with the show!

Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) lives in a shoddy trailer park with his Mom and little brother Louis, along with a hodgepodge collection of neighbors (although it seems in 1984 trailer peeps were only poor and not white trash or ex-cons).

He spends his days doing odd jobs for tenants around the park, hangin' with his neighbor girlfriend Maggie (Catherine Mary Stewart), and most often, playing video games at the Rental Office's arcade station outside.

Lately, his favorite is a new addition labeled, "Starfighter". Having been hunted down by Louis because his mother needs him to fix someone's cable, we get to see a bit of the game.


It seems there's a good reason for Alex's constant venturing into his own world. With all his responsibilities around the park, he finds himself staying behind while Maggie and their rich friends head off to Silver Lake.

He checks the mail for letters from promising schools and other institutions, but it seems no one sees Alex going much further than the trailer park and his droll life. Unfortunate, seeing as how Alex is a true visionary, with an imagination beyond almost all others.

He finishes his work around the park and once again, goes back to "Starfighter", where eventually he's joined by an awesome elderly neighbor and Maggie, both noticing he's approaching 1,000,000 in his record. Otis calls down everyone in the park to watch this awesome high score rise and Alex defeat the Ko-Dan Armada.

                                      Sniff... I remember when video games affected peeps like this...

But alas, eventually it's back to the reality of the world and Alex's humdrum life. His mother brings home a letter that night, about his loan request for a great college, which was denied. Going outside to be alone with his thoughts, the "Starfighter" game starts spazzing out. Perhaps Alex broke it?

But no sooner does it altogether stop than a strange vehicle pulls up, with an old man asking who it was that broke the record.


He introduces himself as Centauri (Robert Preston), and starts speaking of himself in the 3rd person. He claims he created "Starfighter", and has seen many individuals try to play, but none so dazzling as Alex. He offers a proposition, and upon Alex's agreement to hear it out, takes off with him into the night, leaving his "assistant", "Beta", behind.

Traveling at over 300 mph, they take off right into outer space!

Passing up planets and stars, Alex notices Centauri removing his face onto a cloth. When he gets his attention, it becomes clear that the old man himself is not of his Earth.


They pass into what seems an entirely new sector of the galaxy, filled with new planets and spacial anomalies. Eventually, they approach a meteor-side space station of sorts, where they dock.

As he's given a new uniform and two-way translator, Centauri explains that the station is Rilos, a Rilan-based center. As Alex wanders through the strategic systems and hangar areas, he finds Gunstars, the same ships as from the game. Before he can ask anything, he's taken to a briefing, with many other humanoid aliens in the same uniform he was given.

After stepping on one especially angry alien's tentacle, he's told by someone of another species that the first is from a race very aggressive and ready to fight, which is why they're recruited for the Star League's war. Alex finishes his sentence, stating he's there to defend against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada - having already gotten that from the game.

One of the Rilan leaders of the Star League explains that the Frontier is a barrier of energy which has protected the peaceful star systems containing their species' planets for a very long time. Great dangers lie outside, which are currently trying to force their way in. Alex appears to be one of a multitude of individuals chosen for their "gift" and now is expected to aid in the war between the unified Star League of planets and Xur's Ko-Dans.


It appears the other aliens are already abreast of the situation, and who knows how long their species have known each other, or why humanity is left out of the fold. But then again, who knows how many other species exist within the Frontier, still too undeveloped or unready to learn this...

Sure enough, as he tries to take off, Alex bumps into Grig (Dan O'Herlihy), a slimy, reptilian alien assigned as his Gunstar Navigator. He goes right to Centauri, reprimanding him for recruiting someone of a planet not yet affiliated with the Star League. Earth was not to be approached for first contact for a long while, yet Centauri tells him Alex's people and all of Earth is just as unsafe as any other Frontier world.

Besides, he apparently had some kind of bet going with another alien over it, seeing as how he loves to count his gems. Too bad - his kind would be right at home on Earth, in Vegas.

Suddenly, a breeze goes through Rilos, and the hologram of Xur himself (Norman Snow) appears above the crowd. From the looks of him, he's just a member of a familiar species that has broken off to do his own thing outside the Frontier, but that sure as hell doesn't make him nice.

He argues with his father, who happens to be the leader that gave the speech. It seems he had a cult that teamed up with the Ko-Dans, determined to control the "weak" planets of species not fit to be equals to themselves.

When the father calls him a child, Xur puts an image of the Rilans' master spy on the screen, where he's killed by a beam that melts his face. Xur warns that once the green moon is eclipsed, the Ko-Dans will attack, and disappears.


Needless to say, Alex decides not to stick around. As Centauri takes him home, bitching the whole way, we see Xur receive his new scepter from a subordinate, his Ko-Dan Commander appearing a bit annoyed with him.

They need to follow his orders though, as Xur gets indignant when the Commander tells a gunner to fire at the Frontier barrier. Since it was the Ko-Dan Emperor that put him in charge of the Armada, they're stuck putting up with his shit - like when Xur interrupts battle actions to complain about who should say "fire".

They launch meteor guns right at the Rilan base, and with the help of a back-stabbing Officer, the entire station is destroyed. But guess who the Ko-Dan Commander reports has escaped?


Alex is dropped off by Centauri, who gives him a communicator in case he changes his mind. Maggie slaps him, stating he said something to her he didn't... and goes home to find a double of him in his bed.


It's "Beta", or the beta unit left behind to double as Alex for while he was away. Somehow its job was to acquire DNA and shape itself into the likeness of the one he was assigned. He argues with Alex about all the personality mistakes he's been making, and claims he can't take his place in the war, since betas aren't allowed to do such things. The double thing confuses the shit out of Louis, and Alex leaves to call Centauri to take the bot away.

However, a pissed alien appears then, who had disguised himself as a human to get into the trailer park. Sent by Xur, he attacks Alex, then the beta, with a laser weapon and some ability to leap on top of buildings.

But Centauri appears just in time, probably eager for Alex to change his mind anyway. He draws his own laser gun and rips the fucker's arm off, killing it.

He explains the creature is a Xandozan, and they're used as interstellar hit men. Xur sent it out to assassinate Alex, seeing as how he's the last starfighter. If he doesn't return with him to fight in the war, then soon the park will receive more Xandozans looking for him.


But the critter isn't dead yet, and shoots Centauri. Now determined to put an end to everything, Alex bids the beta good-bye and heads back to Rilos, where both see the damage for the first time, and their little space car goes haywire after Centauri passes out at the wheel.

Alex is met by Grig, who assures the old man (alien) that he has a fortune for him in jewels and gold. So when Centauri finally dies, at least he went happy...

And now Alex is left with the knowledge that if he chooses not to remain as the Star League's last hope, everyone he'd ever known could end up just like the sweet old dude.


Back at home, Beta awakes to find his hearing is off. Moths outside the window have actually woken him up. Sitting at the desk, he unscrews his head in order to tinker around inside, much to Louis's horror.

But Beta just shrugs it off, telling Louis he's having a bad dream, before noticing a ship is touching down out in the distance. Another Xandozan most likely - shit.


In the meantime, at Rilos, Grig takes Alex to their specialized prototype Gunstar. It's a modified unit with tweaked weapons and better shields. Blasting off into space, Grig explains all the other starfighters are dead, and he's more than happy to go up against the entire Ko-Dan Armada.

Target practice starts out a little awkward, but true to his talent, Alex ends up performing just as well as from behind the crappy little arcade box at home.


In pure Star Wars rip-off fashion, the plan is to head to the Frontier barrier, where the Armada will breach, and cut off all communications by destroying a special turret, or message center, thereby keeping the squadrons from attacking as one. From there Alex can start blowing up disoriented enemy fighters, finally concentrating on the major ships.

Just as he's about to voice more complaints, their Gunstar reaches the Frontier, and Grig hails a cargo ship that is actually a Xurian scout, which fires upon them.

Now being accosted by his first live target, Alex performs admirably, with their ship chasing the enemy through the caves of a massive nearby meteor, and destroying the thing with one series of shots.

But Alex is scared shitless of the whole experience, and Grig admits maybe they were wrong to believe he had the heart and spirit of a true warrior. Grig tells him he'd take him back to Earth, but without his help, it may only be a matter of time before the Ko-Dans reach their planet.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the beta unit goes along with Maggie and friends to Silver Lake, where his behavior is obviously not up to par in terms of human instincts and personality traits.

A police officer nearby is attacked by the second Xandozan, who's been spying on the trailer park all day. It takes the cop's identity, and shows up at the lake, where Maggie is once again perplexed by "Alex"'s weird behavior while making out.


He uses his exceptional hearing to listen in on what their friends are saying to each other across the way, and repeats it verbatim to Maggie - including the part about "other girls". Maggie slaps "Alex" again before the Xandozan shoots, and she has proof right in front of her as to why her boyfriend claimed he was a robot sent to take the real Alex's place.

Unfortunately, he spoke a little too loud, and the Xandozan heard everything before popping off the one shot and using the cop car to take off. Beta and Maggie both use their buddy's pickup to follow before the creature can report what he just saw.

But the Xandozan cop has time only to set up his alien version of a bomb and send a partial message back to Xur's Command Ship, before the beta unit has Maggie jump from the car and commits suicide in the pickup to fool the enemy.

Receiving a dead signal from Earth, Xur insists the last starfighter is dead, though the Ko-Dans are a bit reluctant to jump to sudden conclusions. But since it's Xur's show, again, they have no choice but to go ahead with their invasion of the Frontier.

Up in the Gunstar, Alex and Grig talk about their families, and suddenly an idea is hatched regarding hiding out in the meteor until the Armada passes them up, so they can take out the turret from the rear.

After being spotted by several more Xurian scouts, they kick ass, and Alex changes his mind about wanting to go home. They power down and lie in wait, until the Ko-Dan Armada shows up overhead, looking like a screen from Galaxian.

Checking his picture of Maggie one last time (while she's on Earth thinking of him at that very moment), they take off for the Armada.

The Ko-Dan Commander is uber-pissed when they capture the single Gunstar on their radar, with a kind of fear which makes you wonder why Star League even bothered with an all-out army. They order Xur escorted from the deck, but sudden explosions to their comm. turret give him the opportunity he needs to kill the guards detaining him, grab back his precious scepter, and head for an escape pod.

With the bulk of the Armada closing in on them, Grig suggests Alex deploys "Death Blossom", a crazy spin attack that shoots out a huge wave of weaponry at one time. Of course, it works, with none of the Armada fleet able to score one shot while Alex and Grig wait for them all to come within range before setting it off.


Now comes the big tamale, the Command Ship, where for some reason, maybe due to residuals from Death Blossom, their guidance systems are out, auxiliary steering is out, and diversion controls are useless due to the moon's gravity pull.

At least the one cool thing about this film is the way the Ko-Dan Commander simply looks at his Co-Commander, as this device like a DBZ scouter swings over his eye as he answers the question of what they should do:

                                                                                      "We die."

Yay! The Command Ship is destroyed, and all the creatures of the Star League have gathered in a massive victory to celebrate and commend Alex and Grig for their spectacular work. And someone else wishes to congratulate them...

It's Centauri! His body lay dormant while it repaired itself. And now, the Rilan leader wishes for Alex to remain with them to help rebuild the Star League Frontier and their own starfighter legion once more. But what will he do now?


Back on Earth, all the people of the trailer park are milling together as a great light shines down on them. It's the Gunstar, from which emerges Alex. In so many words, he explains the situation with the beta unit, and where he'd been the whole time.

Then Grig comes down, and Alex has to keep Granny from pulling a shotgun on him. Grig, of course, takes great offense to being called a "monster". What follows is the alien doing a meet and greet with all the trailer park hicks like he's some kind of celebrity they bumped into at a supermarket.


At the risk of having one of them run straight to the Enquirer, the two finish their little schtick with everyone and decide it's time to quit with the formalities and take off already. Alex tells them he's decided he belongs among the stars - and wants Maggie to come with him. At first she's understandably reluctant, but joins him anyway, promising to keep in touch until their next trip around. Aww.


film (c) 1984 Warner Bros. Pictures, Universal Pictures, Lorimar Film Ent.


Uploaded 09/03/2011
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