True Grit gets mugged by Mad Max 2 along an outer-space backstreet in this 3-D extravaganza for kids. Galactic adventurer Strauss matches the resoluteness of the late Duke Wayne with Mel Gibson's leather-glam, and teaming up with a teenage waif (Ringwald), boldly goes into the plague-infested technological wasteland of the Forbidden Zone. Their mission is to rescue three stranded Earth girls captured by the wonderfully villainous tyrant Overdog (Ironside), whose mechanical appendages make the dark side of The Force look positively pedestrian. Thankfully, Johnson uses the 3-D with restraint and doesn't bombard the audience with unnecessary projectiles, the copious action sequences being all the more effective as a result. The film suffers, however, from having to keep to a PG certificate: some fantastically eerie moments (brushes with barracuda women in the indoor swamp, and with humanoid blobs that appear out of nowhere) are not exploited to their full potential. What could have been a sci-fi horror classic is instead just a better-than-average children's adventure story.
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