Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media

Revenge of the Stolen Stars (1985)
Review by Dan Taylor

To enjoy – or simply tolerate – Uli Lommel's REVENGE OF THE STOLEN STARS requires a couple things.

One, you have to check out the back story on the production from Barry Hickey, the flick's "star." After failing to secure the talents of Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine, director/writer Lommel forked over a handsome sum for our boy Klaus Kinski to handle the role of Duncan McBride, Hickey's on-screen uncle.

Two, grab yourself something to do during the film's many long, dull, stupid stretches. A magazine. A video game. A laptop with internet access.

Third, crack open your favorite adult beverage. For me, any 80s Klaus flick goes better with a little Vitamin Y. (Read that Yuengling Lager for you non-Pennsylvania residents.)

You are now ready to enjoy, appreciate, or tolerate REVENGE OF THE STOLEN STARS.

Right off the bat, one has to ask the question: Could Klaus look any LESS like a guy named Duncan McBride? But that question goes flying out of your head when you realize that K2 is the only person within a hundred miles of this thing doing anything that resembles "acting."

Oh sure, there are some performances that rival some of the regional dinner theatre I've seen through the years. And the villainous couple chasing our hero and heroine (Lommell's semi-cute-but-not-quite-hot wife Suzanna Love) would've been right at home during the heyday of the old Carol Burnett show. But the overall acting in this makes ISLAND CLAWS look like THE PIANIST.

After a run-in with what he believes to be a traitorous worker, Klaus ends up on the short end of a knife. But, like old adage goes, never bring a knife to a gun fight and Klaus takes his opponent with him. Cue establishing shot of San Francisco where Klaus's nephew Gene (Hickey) gets a telegram that he's inherited his uncle's estate in the country of Sindanao.

Hickey has the bland good looks of a reality show contestant. Not really handsome but with the wide-eyed innocence you need in a flick where every other character is wearing a fedora, pith helmet or dinner tux and monocle!

As the ghost of Uncle Duncan (whom Gene calls "Donald" numerous times), Kinski is in full 80s overdrive. He's a powder blue t-shirt wearing, linen suit sleeve rolling, whispering, drinking ghost with the most. Talent that is.

Kinski and Hickey engage in a wacky sequence with Kinski appearing and disappearing around the room, delivering his lines in a stage whisper that's barely audible one moment, indecipherable the next.

In the interview I did with Hickey, he explained that Klaus thought: "No, no, no, he's a ghost... he doesn't yell anymore. He's a dead man and he's living with the dead. And when you live with the dead you whisper because voices have no meaning anymore."

Riiiiiiiiight. Once Klaus makes his exit (taking his $75,000 for two days' work with him) the flick slides into a Z-grade INDIANA JONES wannabe with Gene and Kelly trying to find all of the hidden rubies while Max and Lupe shadow their every move. Complete with pith helmet, safari outfit, monocle and dinner tuxedo.

Weird but not unwatchable, REVENGE OF THE STOLEN STARS is strictly for Kinski Kompletists only.


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