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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

Leprechaun 4: In Space

1996 | United States | 95 min | More...
A still from Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996)
D+: 2 stars (out of 5)
on Sat Jan 27, 2024

In the 21st century, a group of mercenary space marines working for an eccentric scientist hunt the leprechaun who’s seeking to marry an alien princess.

While I appreciate the franchise’s allergy to continuity, this fourth entry feels like a trailer-length premise stretched to 95 minutes: “What if we spliced the leprechaun into a basic cable sci-fi movie?”

That said, I don’t think it’s that clever. The convoluted plot hints at a preexisting script punched-up to include the titular leprechaun. Despite wearing his trademark green suit and buckle hat, no one recognizes him as a leprechaun. Instead, he’s referred to as “alien”, “beast”, or “monster”.

And that proves the film’s undoing. The third film landed on a winning formula: someone steals a piece of the leprechaun’s treasure to gain wishes, which the leprechaun twists in horrible ways as he attempts to reclaim his gold.

In this entry, the leprechaun’s nature proves tangential to the plot. He’s a generic monster. Warwick Davis tries to energize the one-dimensional role, but too many of his scenes see him either stalking other cast members or verbalizing exposition-heavy motivation.

During the few scenes written for him, he shines. A laugh-out-loud satirization of Alien’s chest-buster sequence proves the highlight, with Davis emerging like a kidney-stone while a bugle call blares on the soundtrack. Another memorable sequence involves him offing a character by pancaking their face. But these scenes prove few and far between.

Instead, the film proffers scene after scene of characters rushing from one place to another. Some judicious editing could have saved some budget which could have gone toward the optical effects.

While the practical effects entertain, the optical effects, even for 1996, look amateurish. Consider the third act sequence where the leprechaun grows to giant size. As a throwback to the giant-creature sci-fi movies of the 1950s, I like the idea, but the effects here pale next to those forty-year-old films. The giant crabs in Roger Corman’s Attack of the Crab Monsters look cheesy. This looks cheap.

Still, if you’ve made it this far into the franchise, Leprechaun 4 won’t prove a total wash. When the film works, like the aforementioned death scenes, it shines. As does Guy Siner’s all-in mad scientist performance which veers between Dr. Strangelove and Sergeant Schultz.

And I didn’t even mention the scene where the marine captain dresses in drag, lip syncs to music coming from nowhere, then produces a pair of nunchucks to attack his own troops.

Oh, Leprechaun, I can’t stay mad at you.

Viewing History

    Watched on
    Sat Jan 27, 2024 via Blu-ray (Leprechaun: The Complete Movie Collection, Lionsgate Films, 2014)