In the year 2980, death is not the end. Instead, a soul can be extracted into “essence,” a small blue liquid used to resurrect those who have passed on. However, finding the process of immortality through essence is only available to the ultra-rich. That is where Garo Setian’s Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar introduces its space-savvy hero, Kip (Michael Paré). He’s a starship captain hellbent on reviving his late wife. The thing standing in his way is the massive amount of credits. Together Kip and his daughter, Taylor (Sarah French), search the galaxy for the money to reunite their family and to have some “good old fashion adventures.”
The two find themselves against a host of villains early in their quest for credits. Pare gives his best Malcolm Reynolds meets caring father performance as the pair face down the dreaded space pirate Dykstra (Olivier Gruner). Sarah French, as Taylor, also offers slight nods to Firefly as she confronts alien monsters and her cryptic past. As a father-daughter team, the two fight for survival in the void of space before making an unexpected discovery in the form of the isolated scientist Jackie (Anahit Setian). In exchange for rescue from Dykstra, Jackie promises to help Kip and Taylor find the legendary starcruiser, the Deepstar. But the team soon realizes the search for the Deepstar will push them beyond any previous adventure.
“…the search for the Deepstar will push them beyond any previous adventure.”
With a name like Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar, you have to expect a certain degree of cheesiness. The performances, plot, and overall film are well within the expectations of cheesy, campy, 2000s Syfy originals that audiences should expect. That’s not a bad thing. Director/co-writer Setian and co-writer Joe Knetter are aware of the tropes, archetypes, and outrageous setpieces needed for a feature like this, and it delivers (most of the time.) Each character is looking for just one big score to change their life, which gives the flick even more of a fun pseudo-scoundrels-in-space vibe. When paired with the over-the-top fight scenes and massive CGI monsters, there are a few fun moments to be had.
The special effects and those CGI monsters range from surprisingly good to shockingly bad. The movie makes the most of its budget, but the plot sometimes noticeably feels more akin to the sci-fi film from season 6 of Community than those it’s trying to emulate. The story feels primed for an episode of Doctor Who but without the attention to character and stakes to push the audience into the adventure. The performers do precisely what they are tasked with, and the filmmaker has an acute awareness of sci-fi as a genre. However, it lacks the tension and character revelations to elevate many beyond their archetype.
Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar struggles at times. It has fun monster battles, and moments of jumping to hyperspace never get old. But, noticeable issues with characters and pacing diminish some of the bigger plot reveals and, most of all, the fun of a “good old fashion adventure.” However, there may be an audience out there, especially those with a huge soft spot for the SyFy channel films mentioned above. Taylor’s arc has a lot of promise. Her journey to revive her mother and the flashbacks leading to the climax seek to add layers to an exciting premise and entertaining Flash Gordon adventure. But it all feels too little, too late, resulting in a companion to Star Raiders: Adventures of Saber Raine rather than Star Trek.
"…makes the most of its budget..."