Science fiction often finds the ability to tackle prejudice and racial discrimination through the medium of film. Brother From Another Planet tackled many race and slavery issues, District 9 had the theme of apartheid running throughout. Racial segregation swapped to species segregation. Even the X-Men series touched on prejudice with the oppression of mutants. It runs through many story lines from film to television and on the whole is played out thoughtfully with a deep underlying message. One of my favourite genres that tackles racist behaviour has been with the classic buddy movie trope. Like Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis battling it out in 1958s The Defiant Ones but lets flip it into space or something.
Tagline – (The Defiant Ones) They couldn’t like each other less. They couldn’t need each other more.
It’s not always apparent whether these style films are entirely politically correct nowadays but in all honesty their heart was in the right place. Alien Nation dealt with immigration, racism and bigotry. Adding an old cop having to come to terms with a new partner, to spice it up. Dirty Harry had to deal with that and sexism in The Enforcer and Tyne Daly wasn’t even an alien! Well she did break our hearts like ET! OK I’m losing the plot here. I know!
So we come to another of my favourite buddy movies, director Wolfgang Petersen’s 1985 film Enemy Mine. This played the, races ain’t getting on card, with the background of interstellar war between two warring species. One human, going by the name Willis Davidge (Dennis Quaid). The other, a Drac, a reptilian humanoid called Jeriba Shigan (Louis Gossett Jr).
Both tough fighter pilots engaged in a dogfight, battling it out in deep space. Both have deep hatred for each other, both determined to kill. Before they know it they’re both hurtling out of control, crash landing on an uninhabited planet called Fyrine IV. This is where the film starts to take on the style of 1968s Hell In The Pacific. Where the same, at war and racial themes of Toshiro Mifune, a Japanese Navy Captain and Lee Marvin, an American pilot have to battle it out, alone on an island.
Tagline – (Hell In The Pacific) Two wartime enemies with one chance for survival … each other.
Extreme hatred, language barriers, survival and pride all get in the way in a mirrored view on both these films. Stuck, deserted on a desolate planet. You’d sure to go mad on your own. You both really need each other as much as the other. Can there ever be the chance of compromise, an understanding? I won’t kill you if you don’t kill me. We need to survive, we need to trust each other. And before we know it they’ve realised the error of their bigoted, prejudice ways and friendship is achieved. Producing that good old fashioned buddy movie we all love and another science fiction movie close to my heart.
Tagline – (Enemy Mine) Enemies because they were taught to be. Allies because they had to be. Brothers because they dared to be.
Enemy Mine is a lot of fun as I smiled away watching it again after way too long. It’s got spaceships, a heap of banter. Great sets and a bunch of rogue bandits lead by Leon Kowalski (Brion James). Plus there’s a few surprises as these two “enemies” work it out. With one Arnold Schwarzenegger can relate to? Oh! and it’s even got a mine!
Enemy Mine closes out my post-a-day sci-fi month of January challenge to myself. Some people do a dry January! LOL Oh how we laughed. No! don’t be silly. I do hope there were a few memories brought back, maybe a few new films sneaked in you hadn’t heard of? But most of all I do hope it was fun.
I’ve enjoyed it very much but I’m very much looking forward to getting back to digging into some noir dim-lit alleyways, some strange looking cult film, finding a gritty Brit film or two and having my mind blown by some European surrealism. After the month’s round up tomorrow I’ll have a little breather and give the feed a little break. Then I’ll be back on a 3 post a week basis. Thank you for all the comments and likes, it’s been very much appreciated.
“Is this what you earthlings call…… friendship??”
Big love… Mikey Wolf.
PS Check the taglines, they could be switched between the three films and you’d never know.