Moon Zero Two (1969)

Article 3015 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-9-2009
Posting Date: 11-15-2009
Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Featuring James Olson, Catherine Schell, Warren Mitchell
Country: UK

A spaceship pilot is hired to help crash an asteroid made of sapphire into the far side of the moon. However, he finds himself embroiled in a plot that involves the murder of a moon miner and the theft of his claim, as it is the location where the asteroid is expected to land.

Much of the advertising for this movie put it forward as a science fiction western, and I can see how something like that could work; if you consider the old west and outer space as new frontiers, you can see the connection. However, the “western” elements of this science fiction movie seem either ill-advised (six-guns on the moon?), silly (“Moon Fargo”) or inconsequential (dressing up the local bar like a saloon and having the dancers wear cowboy hats); about the only strong western element is that the storyline involves miners and claim-jumping. The style doesn’t have any particularly western feel to it, and the music seems more James-Bondish than westernish. Even the opening animation (which leads you to believe the movie is going to be a comedy) has no particular western feel to it, and the cold-war theme of the animation has no reflection in the movie itself. Granted, I’m not surprised the movie fails to feel in any way like a western – I’ve never got the sense that the British were particularly adept at handling that mostly American form.

Ignoring all the western foofaraw for the moment, I do think the movie has a decent plot, and there are some fun moments here. Nevertheless, the movie falls flat; the pace is often turgid, and James Olson, though not a bad actor, lacks the charisma to make his character appealing. As a result, the movie never really takes off. This one can be chalked up as one of Hammer’s failed experiments.

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