Back in the 1970s, in the wake of Star Wars came a horde of cheaper, grittier outer space adventures from the low-budget likes of Roger Corman (Battle Beyond The Stars) or the BBC (Blake's 7). What they didn't have in perfect opticals or marketing savvy they tried to make up for with wise-ass attitude and the occasional loopy stroke of integrity. With the re-release starting the whole cycle again, Stuart Gordon - of Re-Animator fame - has done an acceptable job of retooling the Star Wars knock-off for the 90s, spinning out an old, old story with a fair amount of wit.
Johnny Canyon (Hopper) is a feisty independent space trucker, adopting all the attitudes and tastes of the Kris Kristofferson character from Convoy but carrying them to the outer planets and back as he hauls a freightload of square pigs for corporate creep George Wendt. When Wendt gets sucked arse-first out of a window on the space station, Canyon - along with sidekick Mike (Dorff) and waitress Cindy (Mazar), who fancies Mike but has agreed to marry Johnny - has to take a top secret, illegal load to Earth. Of course, the crew get jumped by space pirates, led by mutilated Macanudo (Charles Dance), and the cargo turns out not to be sex toys after all but an invasion force of genetically engineered killing machines.
Though this is at best a shaky production, it benefits from some excellent (if repetitive) special effects - the darkly twinkling pirate ship emerging from a shower of black meteors is a stunner - and a cast who beef up the sometimes weak material with their own characters. There isn't quite enough plot to carry it through the 78 minute B-movie barrier into featured attraction status, but Space Truckers has enough of a sense of genre history to cast Shane Rimmer, the voice of John Tracy, as the big villain, and gets mileage out of the Marvel Comics-style outer space truck stop.