CONTAINS SPOILERS AND BANGS HEAD ON THE DESK UNTIL THE PAIN GOES AWAY
And so we reach the point where they're not even trying. They've given up. They're not even pretending any more; they just don't give a toss. In fairness, why should they, given that this is a franchise that started badly and went speedily downhill from there? If we're prepared to spend money on these things, they're not going to bother wasting time and money and hiring the top people to craft a film of any quality: the audience have already demonstrated they will shell out for any old crap. It's money in the bank. Some might find such naked contempt for the paying punter almost admirable in its sheer cheek, but they probably haven't sat through a movie that is tangibly idiotic and proud of it. And yet, and yet....this may well be the dumbest, stupidest, most brazenly imbecilic film ever made, pitched at a level that would leave a horse feeling insulted, but for some ungodly reason it's not quite impossible to detest. Thanks to Gabe Bartalos' gloopy prosthetics and one outrageously hammy performance, it's got a few (though not enough) diversions to cover up the preposterous plot, acting and dialogue.
When franchises run out of steam, they go into space. Friday The 13th did it in Jason X, Hellraiser did it with Hellraiser 4: Bloodline, Critters did it with Critters 4. Hell, James Bond did it in Moonraker and that was over thirty years ago (though in fairness that isn't the worst of the Bond films by any stretch). Let's be clear: Leprechaun 4: In Space (again directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, who should frankly know better) is absolute drivel. The Leprechaun (Warwick Davis again) is now in space for no adequately explored reason, merrily accumulating gold and treasure from across the galaxy, but he's run to ground on a remote planet (a studio cave about as convincing as any William Shatner wandered through) and ultimately defeated by a rubbish troop of space marines. But you don't get rid of a Leprechaun that easily, and he's resurrected (in someone's trousers - again, don't ask) on an orbiting research ship. All he wants is his gold and his hostage, a dimwitted princess, but the resident mad scientist Dr Mittenhand wants the princess' DNA to rebuild his shattered body....
Much of the second half of the movie is taken up with sub-Aliens clanking around in metal corridors as the Marines hunt the Lep (who no longer speaks in rhyming couplets or Oirishisms, because they're just too difficult to write) and get unspectacularly taken out one by one. None of that's half as interesting as the mad scientist stuff, because he's played by Guy Siner who appears to still be channelling Lt Gruber, his hilarious gay Nazi character from 'Allo 'Allo back in the 1980s, and he plays it so over the top it makes Brian Blessed sound like a BBC announcer reading the shipping forecast on a cloudless summer day. Even the maddest of sitcoms aren't usually performed that broadly. Mittenhand is eventually revealed as a wheeled cyborg in the Davros mould, which is either a clever injoke or a whopping coincidence, as Siner also appeared in Genesis Of The Daleks, the Doctor Who story which first featured Davros.
Towards the end, though, Mittenhand gets turned into a giant spider monster (once more for reasons too stupid to explain) and that's when Gabe Bartalos' FX get insufficiently showcased: from the brief glimpses we get it looks pretty damn good. Fortunately they've done with prosthetics and animatronics and rubber, rather than cheap CGI randomly pasted in from Microsoft Paintbox, and they're much more fun. On a technical level, it's roughly on a par with the last two mediocre instalments (sequels to a film more notable for an early appearance by Jennifer Aniston than for being halfway decent in its own right); but it's still terrible. And as a result, hopes for Leprechaun 5: Leprechaun In Da Hood are so thunderously lowered that I may well not bother with it.
Rated 15 for idiocy: