Antonio Margheriti

Finally, the genesis of Italian space movies makes it to DVD! An ace reporter (Rik Van Nutter) is sent to space to record the daily lives of the Cosmonauts(?) who labor millions of miles from earth. He is far from welcome by the galaxy weary crew (who call him "parasite") of the space station he is assigned too. To make matters worse, he decides to tag along on a refueling mission without permission, and causes the loss of precious fuel. Things just couldn't get worse, or could they?

Alpha 2, an out of control spaceship with a heat producing "Photonic" field is about to enter in to orbit around Earth, which would burn everything on the face of the planet! The reporter and his new found "friends" fly towards Mars to intercept and destroy the spacecraft.

Once they make contact with Alpha 2, they devise a plan to exploit a flaw in the Photonic field to stop it, which takes the ultimate sacrifice of a brave Cosmonaut, the pitching arm of another, and the deep introspection of the rest.

ASSIGNMENT: OUTER SPACE is definitely one of the wildest Italian space operas. It's plot movement is slow at first, but when it kicks into gear, it never stops. The laws of physics and space are discarded in favor of cool space gadgets (like the Space Taxi) and traveling between two space craft by merely floating from one to the other, which would become a standard in the Margheriti brand of space adventures. The special effects are a scream, especially when the little tiny models of the Cosmonauts interact with the larger rocket ship models. My favorite of these scenes is where miniature Cosmonauts fly out to connect a very large hose to the tail pipe of a rocket ship to refuel it. They just don't make 'em like this anymore. Music soundtrack fans will recognize the same music queues found in PHANTOM PLANET from Gordon Zahler's music library.

Okay, lets talk about the disc. Other reviewers and myself have commented in the past about how Alpha's releases are improving. For the most part, Alpha has distinguished themselves with some of the best box art, and accurate plot synopses. ASSIGNMENT: OUTER SPACE takes it up another notch, as it is slightly letterboxed (after the first couple of minutes) and includes the original theatrical trailer! Keep in mind, I bought this DVD for $5 (directly from their website at This company has delivered more than most studios do for four times the price! While the film element is faded, almost devoid of color in some places, it is clear enough to be enjoyed. Still better than any VHS copy I have seen of it, and the slight letterboxing is sure appreciated. Audio quality is good, and is what you would expect from the film element. Also, Alpha has extended its chapter choices to six from four, which is a nice improvement as well.

I highly recommend this release of ASSIGNMENT: OUTER SPACE.
(Mark Suggs)