** ½ Out of 5
Tagline- One Small Step for Man. One Giant Leap of Terror!
Release Date- February 25th, 1997
Running Time- 95-Minutes
Screenplay- Dennis Pratt
Director- Brian Trenchard-Smith
Starring- Warwick Davis, Brent Jasmer, Jessica Collins, Miguel A. Nunez Jr.
As I’ve mentioned in past reviews for the Leprechaun series I’m not the biggest fan. I can tolerate them and even have some fun, but they’re films I’ll revisit after a few years have passed. However I have to say that I really enjoyed Leprechaun 3 as its a fun B-movie romp and based off my general opinion of the franchise, which I find tolerable even I was surprised by how much I liked the 3rd film. By most fans of the series the 3rd is considered the best and by many Leprechaun 4: In Space the worst, which is a bit ironic since both films were directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith (though I guess now most would cite Leprechaun: Origins as the worst). Leprechaun 4 is a major step backwards after the surprisingly solid 3rd film, but I don’t think it’s as awful as most seem to. It’s difficult for me to hate a film that never takes itself seriously as this film isn’t meant to be high quality, but regardless this installment just isn’t as fun as it wants to be and unlike the 3rd film the campy aspect of the film just feels a bit forced. I wonder what the fascination horror franchise have with outer space as Hellraiser did that than there was the Friday the 13th franchise with Jason X and there were rumors of one of the Halloween films doing something with outer space, but I’m not sure how serious that was and here with the 4th Leprechaun film it’s set in outer space.
A group of marines battle the evil Leprechaun (Davis) in outer space.
The screenplay by Dennis Pratt never takes itself serious and he delivers an intentional campy script and while it does have some funny bits it just wasn’t working for the most part. Characters are a bit bland, but also fun to some degree. As I mentioned its hard to hate a film that doesn’t take itself seriously and I can say the same about the script. It was a nice idea in terms of taking the Leprechaun series in a new direction, but outside of a few funny moments it just again wasn’t working.
Director Brian Trenchard-Smith delivers a silly and campy film, but at times it felt a little forced and what a difference between this and the 3rd film. Once again Smith establishes a light tone from the start of the film, but it just never works as well as the previous part. The pace of the film moves quick enough, but its just never as fun as it was meant to be, which can make the film quite dull in spots. The production values are also a little on the cheap side and perhaps the idea was too big for what the budget allowed, which isn’t the fault of Brian Trenchard-Smith. I’ve seen a number of Smith’s films and he’s a seasoned pro, but with Leprechaun 4 all that made the 3rd film and some of his other films such as Night of the Demons 2 so much fun is lost here despite his best intentions. This was quite a departure from the 3rd film and while I’m not sure I’d rate this the worst of the original series, but it is among the bottom.
Warwick Davis is again a blast to watch and he really showcases his talents as he makes a bit more out of the material given and his John Wayne impersonation was quite funny, but there’s only so much he can do to salvage this. The cast has some notable faces such as Miguel A. Nunez Jr best known to horror fans from Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning and Return of the Living Dead. Debbie Dunning also co-stars and she’s best known for appearing on the sitcom Home Improvement.
Overall Leprechaun 4: In Space was quite subpar and its just never as fun as it was intended. Most of the reviews are quite harsh and it isn’t difficult to see why, but this was never meant to be high quality cinema, but while I don’t think it’s quite as bad as its reputation, but with that said its not very good either and at 95-minutes its a bit too long. Leprechaun 4 does have its moments, but not enough to make much out of this one.