B-Movie Inspirations is a series of articles I write where I watch really bad movies and draw RPG inspiration from them.
Welcome once again to B-Movie Inspirations where I go over a very bad movie and pull interesting RPG ideas out of them This month we are looking at Star Quest 2 from 1996 ( also known as Starquest 2 or Mind Breakers), a movie I think was intended to be a sequel to Star Quest but I think its predecessor tried to distance itself by renaming itself Terminal Voyage. I was not entirely sure it was a sequel after reading the description but after watching the trailer, I could see a loose connection. It may have been an idea someone threw together and later thought they could attach to the “Star Quest” franchise even they it probably wasn’t meant to be a franchise.
Up front, this movie has a lot of sexual scenes and not meant for children. This was kind of strange because they first one had none. It was like watching a late-night Showtime movie, and really was unnecessary. But it was the 90s, so what do you expect?
This one opens with the story of Eagle, a routine shuttle mission to Mars in some near future setting. The mission loses contact with Earth and is lost. This was kind of mission laughable in many ways. Of course the shuttle in a dead project, but it was also never intended to go to Mars. It can’t without a landing strip. Anyway, 90s nostalgia aside, the connection to the overall plot is revealed later and can be loosely connected to the first movie. In fact, in the flash of scenes telling this tale are familiar shots in the same hallways in the first movie. You can even catch a glimpse of the original caste.
We then switch to a scene all too familiar – the same ship from the first movie in the same shot as it flies by. Roger Coreman or his SFX crew must of rented out certain scenes to other productions companies or something.
This ship, however, is an alien ship – Omega 4 – being used to transport captures human subjects. Early in the movie we got flashes of alien Gray-looking creatures hovering over a surgical table, and people getting abducted while the Earth calls apart in multiple war scenes. This implies an abduction subplot along with a post-apocalypses subplot.
In the beginning, it is not really clear who is Human and who is alien at first because the aliens apparently can take over human bodies. We are introduced to the human captives first, in couples, which implies they were intentionally coupled up.
Lee the soldier from Roswell Research Labs (Adam Baldwin best known from Firefly) and his wife Susan who is a scientist (Kate Rodger). These two both worked in Roswell Research Labs on hibernation experiments that later connect to the plot of this movie and loosely to the first. It is implied that perhaps the same experiments displayed in the first movie were motivated by more than just a plan to reach out to the stars. Also, Lee has more secrets that he is even telling his wife, including the truth behind the disappeared Mars mission.
What is Roswell Research Labs? Another Area 51, maybe? It was definitely not the same lab as the one at the end of the first movie which looked like either San Francisco or New York City.
The next couple are soldiers from some unknown conflict on Earth – Cpl. Charles Devon (Duane Davis) and Cpl. Kelly (Jolie Jackunas). Kelly doesn’t last long in the movie but I am curious what the thought process was behind the aliens allowing Devon to keep his weapon – a tactical shotgun. It really is the only way everyone is able to escape in the end.
The third couple are Trit (Jerry Trimble) the tough street fighter type with martial arts skills and Jenna (Jeannie Millar) the stripper and seductress. These two are pretty much wildcards and do not play well with others.
The alien crew of the ship is made up of 4 human-disguised aliens and one android that pilots the ship. The first human-disguised alien they encounter is one that is being killed by the Evil-HAL eye weapon. Every room is equipped with an evil eye thing that looks like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It not only is a camera that watches over all of them but also a weapon that electrocutes the victim to dust. The first we see of this is rather early when an alien crewmember is killed in front of them.
The remainder of the crew are as follows: Father O’Neill (played by the venerable Robert Englund, Freddy Krueger himself), Carrie (Gretchen Palmer), and some uncredited (at least that I can find) bald guy. Father O’Neill present himself as another abducted human and sort of a guide to the ship, implying he had been there longer then the rest. In reality, he is the ship’s leader and commander. His second is Carrie but in reality she is a member of a faction that wants to stop this project, as is the bald guy. More on that later.
All three present themselves as fellow humans at first. But in truth they are alien hybrids with their own agendas. The group is eventually shown a video presumably produced by the aliens to explain the captives situation. In order to save humanity from itself, these aliens altruistically abducted prime samples from all walks of life to save humanity. More clips of war-torn Earth are shown (probably action scenes from some movie that no one remembers) and interlaced with these scenes is the face of a Gray-like alien.
The plot kind of meanders after this around the conflict between the alien factions and the conflict between the humans. Baldie kills Kelly and this kicks off a who-done-it mystery. You learn that there are two types of aliens on board – for lack of better terms I will call them Loyalists and Rebels. The Loyalists – primarily Father O’Neill – wish not only save humanity but his own race in hopes they could cross breed into an alien-human hybrid that is stable and sustainable. The Rebels’ motivation are not entirely clear, but they are simply against the cross-breeding idea and the existence of this lab ship. Carrie and Baldie (as well as the other alien that was killed early on) are members of this Rebel faction that have secretly infiltrated the ship. Their plan is to covertly kill each human before the breeding experiments can happen.
Meanwhile, we meet the android that pilots the ship when the ship is attacked by lizard aliens in fighters (more scenes stolen from Battle Beyond the Stars.) Who are these aliens? Are they Rebels as well? Or are they an alien race that does not want this Gray-like alien to sustain it’s existence. Either way, there is a extended battle scene with the ship and several fighters that seems to go on a little too long. It did leave you wondering, however, who these fighters were and why did they want to destroy the ship.
This android also protects the bridge and prevents anyone from tampering with it. Not even the human-disguised aliens are allowed to change it’s course. Baldie is killed by the android when he recruits Trit to help him hijack the ship. Devon is killed after being seduced by Carrie and finding out she is an alien hybrid. This all spirals out of control when everyone starts shooting looking for a way off the ship. The Android is sucked out into space after a stray round shatters a porthole. Carrie kills Jenna in a very awkward seen. Trit is killed wrestling with Carrie, a shotgun volley killing them both. The Father is fatally shot and we are left with Lee and Susan alone on the ship. A final message from the aliens is played telling them they are being brought to alien world to begin the human race anew.
The movie overall is just not well put together, even though the story has potential. Between the cheap reused special effects and some of the silly sets, it was just not a good production. The characters are too busy having sex for me to really care about them – maybe less sex and a little more character building would help. When you place this movie together with the predecessor, it does however, create an interesting campaign idea.
This would probably work best in a sci-fi or near-future setting with alien conspiracies prevalent in the setting – a setting like Dark Conspiracy or Dark Matter. Aliens have contacted the governments of Earth to ask them to start prepping people for long hyper-sleep journey to another world the aliens wish the humans to populate. So humans are unwittingly abducted to be trained for this kind of thing – why abducted? I don’t know, because that is what aliens do? The first movie could happen in one scenario while the second movie can happen on board a ship in another situation. The aliens have ulterior motives, however, and there are some that don’t want it to happen. There are also other aliens that oppose the first and want all this to stop as well, even if it means destroying the planet. This opens a wide variety of aliens-among us scenarios that I think would be enjoyable.
As for a one-shot, this would be a simple alien abduction story with some hidden stories to discover behind the alien abductors, their allies and their enemies. Meanwhile, the humans can have their own conflicts, agendas, and secrets.