Do you know how family videos are only funny to people in the family? That’s what Red Letter Media’s Space Cop is like. If you’re a fan of these guys you’ll probably enjoy their movie. Probably. When the promotional material suggests it would someday be a contender for RLM’s own Best of the Worst series, they weren’t kidding. It’s a bad movie, but that’s kind of their expertise, isn’t it? Expecting them to make anything other than a bad movie is like asking Mike Tyson to figure skate.
Whether or not the Blu-Ray is worth the twenty-five bucks is another story, but there’s a digital download which also provides the same special features (behind-the-scenes footage, commentary, and more than twenty minutes of outtakes) for $17. There’s also a movie-only download for $14. Although I’m hesitant to recommend the movie itself for $14, you might as well buy the special features if you’re paying for the movie anyway. The outtakes are often funny, but it feels like they included every single take in which the actors flubbed a line or broke character. Although I haven’t had the time to check out the commentary track yet, I’m eager to do so.
I’m no stranger to crowdfunded films so I knew what I was getting into… in other words, I wasn’t expecting much. Space Cop is A) better than I thought it would be and B) a lot more entertaining than the Angry Video Game Nerd movie, even if that one had a lot more production value. Space Cop starts off promising enough and feels like an authentic movie for the first few minutes despite the Spanish soap opera lighting. Then it quickly descends into the non sequitur jokes and politically incorrect humor which work roughly half the time.
As for the plot, a gung-ho policeman from the future is accidentally transported to 2007 after he chases aliens into some kind of time-space vortex thing. During a modern day shootout in a cryogenics lab, the future cop accidentally thaws a cop from the past. They’ll have to team up to save the world from a devious plot involving aliens and a brain in a jar.
The two main characters are only about as good as a memorable Saturday Night Live sketch, but they’re stretched to feature length. The actors’ decision to speak in “funny” voices from beginning to end is, at best, easy to look past, while at worst it’s frankly annoying. When Patton Oswalt makes a cameo early on, it’s pretty clear they were reluctant to trim their only star’s footage because it goes on and on. The length then becomes part of the joke, but not a very funny one. Also, I don’t get why the guys think the slow-running gag, as seen in the trailer, is funny. I don’t get it. I don’t think it’s a reference to anything, either.
Perhaps an inside joke?
My biggest issue with the movie is a complaint RLM have voiced themselves: the best bad movies are the ones that weren’t intentionally bad. Movies that set out to be bad just can’t capture the charm of good bad movies. Space Cop isn’t a good bad movie, but it’s a decent one, at least when the jokes hit their target.
If you’re on the fence about purchasing the film, don’t bother. But if you’re a veteran of bad movies, and you like RLM—like, really like them—then you probably want to support them anyway. Might as well get something to show for it while you’re at it.