|MST3K: Fugitive Alien (1991)|
|Starring:||Joel Hodgson, J. Elvis Weinstein, and Kevin Murphy|
|The Plot: In the not-too-distant future, Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgeson) is abducted by his boss at Gizmonic institute and shot into outer space. His boss, Dr. Forrester, then sends Joel the very worst movies that he can find in order to document his reactions. Joel, who has built two robot friends named Crow and Tom Servo, does his best to improve this bad situation by having a good time and riffing on the movies with his robot pals. In this episode, Dr. Forrester forces Joel to watch yet another Japanese television program that has been edited for American audiences. Fugitive Alien tells the story of Ken, a “Starwolf” from the planet Valnastar. Apparently being a Starwolf revolves around warfare, and when Ken refuses to kill an innocent child he is shot off into outer space. While floating in space, Ken is picked up by the starship Bacchus 3 which originates from Earth. The crew don’t know what to make of Ken at first, but throughout their journeys in space they will have to learn to trust this alien.|
Indeed, this is not the most fun episode of MST3K that audiences are going to find. The jokes are there, but some of these riffs seemed to have lost their sting. The episode seems to wander at times, similar to the plot of the movie, and nothing seems terribly consistent during this episode. Yet, this is still MST3K, so even when things are “off” they are still fairly decent. The original television series featured the famous Japanese actor Jo Shishido, and as one might expect, there are a few continually referenced jokes made about his puffy cheeks. I commend the gents for not going overboard, as his cheeks are fairly obvious targets, but to be honest I fully expected them to make it a bigger running meme throughout the show than it was. Talk about your characters who are rife for riffing! Easy or not, when you see Jo Shishido, you have to make a few Chipmunk jokes! Although it isn’t consistent or dense, the riffing is still fairly solid. Most of the problems come from the less-than-clear plot and how completely uninvolved it is. Believe it or not, the best episodes of MST3K usually feature movies that are at least interesting. Manos, Mitchell, Prince of Space, and Future War are all terrible movies, but they aren’t so bad that you can’t watch them without the MST3K crew. You can watch any of those movies and laugh at them on their own merit. You can follow the stories, you can keep track of the characters, and everything remains crystal clear. Sure, there’s a story to Fugitive Alien, but it meanders around so much that you can be forgiven if you completely forget what it is.