It’s hard to imagine anyone’s list of great ’80s sci-fi movies, however long, including 1985’s Enemy Mine. It didn’t exactly enjoy auspicious beginnings. after terry Gilliam turned it down, it went into production at 20th Century Fox with richard Loncraine at the helm, was shut down a week into shooting because of creative differences, and then relaunched from scratch with Wolfgang Petersen directing. It ran massively overbudget, received shruggy reviews and died at the Us box office. It’s since enjoyed no cult resurgence, no second life in home entertainment. and yet, with this bare-bones Blu-ray debut (one extended scene, that’s yer lot), it is worth revisiting.
relocating the premise of John Boorman’s 1968 World War II yarn Hell In The Pacific to deep space, Enemy Mine co-stars a fresh-faced dennis Quaid and a prosthetics-swaddled Louis Gossett Jr. as human and alien foes. stranded on an inhospitable world, they are forced to work together to survive. Naturally, it turns out the reptilian, hermaphrodite drac has more to teach the aggressive, ignorant human than vice versa.
Quaid and Gossett transcend the fakey VFX and sets (more Battle
Beyond The Stars than Star Wars), their on-screen companionship taking an interesting turn when “Jerry” the drac reveals it’s pregnant and davidge the Earthling realises he’s going to become a ‘parent’. It gives the film an unexpected, almost-john hughes vibe for a while (It’s
Having A Lizard-baby?) in a much warmer, more sentimental movie than the set-up suggests — too warm, perhaps, for something released while the Cold War was still going strong. Maybe if it had been released a few years later, once Glasnost had really kicked in, it may have enjoyed the success it better deserved.
Top: Having started with politics, next they’d try religion. Above: The Nando’s was definitely round here according to Google Maps.