It is 2012 and civilization has collapsed. A combination of plague, famine, pollution and war has reduced humanity to small enclaves. One enclave in New York called the Barony is ruled by the Baron. The Baron manages to recruit a new champion in Carson. The Barony has successful farming thanks to a genius who has developed seeds resistant to disease. Yet the Barony is slowly dying and the Baron has plans for Carson to take his granddaughter who is pregnant out of the city to a safe island off the coast of North Carolina. An attack by a vicious warlord named Carrot forces the Baron’s plan to be moved up. So now Carson with the seeds to guarantee the future must guide a pregnant woman about to give birth through the subway tunnels. Hot on his heels is Carrot and his murderous gang.
This is a novelization of the Yul Brynner movie. I first saw this movie as a kid late at Saturday night. It was a creepy movie that did a good job of depicting a bleak and hopeless future. The book was a good adaptation to the movie. It really excelled in the fight scenes which were a bit flat in the movie. The writer and director of the movie Robert Clause is known for mostly kung-fu movies most notably Enter the Dragon. Now Yul Brynner looked real badass shirtless but lets face it, her was no Bruce Lee. One difference from the movie is at the end Carson and Melinda meet up with a group of friendly survivors recruiting for a new commune in New Jersey. This must have been in the original screenplay and dropped. It was a good idea to drop this. It felt contrived and awkward. Better to have the two continue on to the island as the movie did.
Here is the trailer for the movie.
Los Angeles in the near future. An alien ship crashes in the Mojave desert. On it are 200,000 alien slaves now marooned on Earth. Eventually they are released into society. Now known as Newcomers they are assigned new names and most settle in L.A. Detective Matt Sykes is on routine patrol with his partner Tuggs when a Newcomer robbery of a local mini mart results in the death of his partner. Wanting to get revenge he partners with a new Newcomer detective George Francisco. He needs the Newcomer’s help in tracking down the killer. The two eventually stumble on a plot by a successful Newcomer businessman to introduce a new alien drug to the Newcomer populace. A drug that could threaten the existence of the Newcomers on Earth.
The eighties were the height of the buddy cop movies. There were all sorts of combinations at the time. There were dead cops, Soviet cops, Japanese cops, vampire cops, kid cops and dog cops. It was only a matter of time they had to have an alien cop. The movie Alien Nation had a simple premise. A group of aliens had become the newest additions to American society. Like many they moved into society and had various levels of success. I found the idea interesting enough to get the novelization of the movie. For the most part it was a standard cop buddy movie. Yet it would take Kenneth Johnson and his TV series to flesh out the mythology of the Newcomers. Alan Dean Foster the go to guy to novelize movies from the seventies to nineties did his usual excellent job. You get a good story with fleshed out characters. It also follows the movie pretty good. An enjoyable book.
The year is 1987 and NASA launches its last deep space probe. Ranger 3 and Captain William “Buck” Rogers encounters a meteor storm and it freezes Buck in suspended animation as his ship goes into an orbit around the solar system. An orbit that will take five hundred years to return to Earth. In five hundred years he is found by the Draconians an intergalactic empire. They are on a peace mission to Earth but in reality plan to conquer the planet. Killer Kane and Princess Ardala decide to use Buck to find a way through the Earth’s defenses.
So Captain Rogers returns to Earth and finds it has been devastated in a nuclear holocaust back in the twentieth century. They think he is a spy for the space raiders and banish him along with two droids who backed him into Anarchia. The nuclear ruins of Chicago that are overrun by mutants. Luckily the Earth directorate figures out a use for him and rescues him. Thus Buck manages to infiltrate the Draconian ship and single handedly destroy their ship and expose the invasion plan.
This is the adaptation of the Buck Rogers pilot for the TV series. It was from a screenplay by Glen Larson and Leslie Stevens. Fresh off of Battlestar Galactica Larson recycled the effects and some props for this classic series. He also released the pilot as a theatrical movie to generate interest. This series has been described as a disco series in space. A bit harsh but probably accurate. It was a cheezy but fun series that was basically a James Bond in space. Buck Rogers would single handedly save the day against overwhelming odds. This with his wise cracking droid Twiky and Colonel Wilma Deering in a sexy skintight spandex uniform.
So the book is written by Richard A. Lupoff under the pen name Steele. It is a competent adaptation. Not much new. We get a little glimpse into the launch of Buck’s ship in 1987. Apparently gas was $4 a gallon so the apocalypse was not to far away. The Anarchia scene has them banishing Buck where in the movie he went out on his own initiative to find out what happened to his family. This was probably the original screenplay and you can see where some stuff that didn’t work out was dropped in the final product. An enjoyable little bit of nostalgia.
A Cuban refugee boat is stopped by a US Coast Guard ship. The crew immediately fires on the passengers killing them all and taking a large quantity of drugs. Thus begins the plans of Rostov the KGB’s notorious operative. Soon the money from the drugs is used to buy a vast quantity of weapons. Weapons that will arm an invading army of terrorists. The goal is to cause terror and bring down the government.
But there is one man that can stop Rostov’s plan. Matt Hunter is a retired agent. He once captured and humiliated Rostov in a mission in Africa. Rostov has a paranoid fear of Hunter and tries to kill him in his small shack out in the Florida Everglades. He only manages to destroy his home and kill his friend. Now Hunter wages a one man war to stop Rostov’s invading terrorists before they manage to bring down American society.
Now I don’t usually get movie adaptations. But the plot to this sounded interesting and it was written by the same man that wrote The Warlord Series. God how I miss Cannon Films. This is probably one of my favorite Chuck Norris movies. It has his most funniest line ever, “I’m going to hit you with so many lefts you’ll be beggin’ for a right.” Interesting the author didn’t include that in the novelization. Still he gave the story’s characters much greater depth than the movies was able to. Even minor characters have a backstory for them. A very competent adaptation.
So I did plan to read this book because it had a loosely Christmas theme. It takes place before Christmas and there is a big scene of the terrorists attacking shoppers at a Christmas mall. Now thirty years ago this was just goofy over the top fun. Given current events this is a very real threat. The writers than must have been way ahead of their times. These kind of attacks have been shown to paralyze society and will probably occur more in the future. Sadly the future is not looking all that positive right now.
The movie is getting released on Blu-ray next year so if you want a funned cheezy action movie I would recommend this movie.