Star Kid

* *

Star Kid is a low budget children's sci-fi superhero action film, and it's not nearly as bad as that sounds.

Spencer Griffith (Joseph Mazzello) is your typical wimpish seventh grader: picked upon his mean older sister (Ashlee Levich) and schoolyard bully Turbo (Joey Simmrin), and without the guts to speak with the girl who has captured his heart (Lauren Eckstrom).

His life is changed when he discovers a spaceship which has landed in the local auto dump. It's passenger: a robotic armored suit (the Cyborsuit, aka Cy) (voiced by Arthur Burghardt, and moved about by Alex Daniels). It was launched into space by the friendly and resourceful Trelkans to avoid its capture by the evil Brood Warriors. Soon, Spencer climbs inside and becomes a superhero!

At first, he uses the suit to wreak revenge upon those who tormented him when he was a weakling (particularly Turbo, the bully). However, soon a Brood Warrior comes to Earth to claim the cyborsuit, and Spencer must battle him to save his life and all mankind.

Mazzello is appealling as the title character, but most of his work is simply reaction shots and voice-overs once he's inside the suit.

Star Kid is a mixed bag of design ideas. On the plus side, the Brood Warrior has an interesting little habit of pulling off various symbiotic parts of itself to use as tools or weapons. Also, there's a lot of background information going on whenever we're treated to a view through the Cyborsuit's display. The clever little subroutines are similar to a junior version of the Terminator's POV.

However, there are many flaws to Star Kid's designs as well. The Trelkans, with their small stature and big (acne-ridden?) heads, don't make for very inspiring good guys. And the Cyborsuit seems to be a bit too human-ish (how would the big-headed Trelkans ever fit inside???)

One of the things which works against the movie is its cheapness. For example, the metallic cyborsuit looks positively rubbery. And the Brood Warrior looks your generic Power Rangers foe. It's hard to believe that any kid who has been exposed to modern movie-making magic will be awed by the FX here.

Still for that kid who can suspend enough disbelief, the film does have its charms. Adults might be more concerned about the sheer amount of household damage Spencer does in his Cyborsuit and in battle. Strangely, the adults in the film seem to be stunned, but laugh off what seems to amount to damage in the tens of thousands of dollars...

And considering that this movie could have been as bad as a random Power Ranger clone, it doesn't actually turn out that bad.

[PG] (Trimark)


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