If you're a film buff, a Flash Gordon buff or a Sam J. Jones fan (I had no idea those existed until this film) I'm betting you'll enjoy at least portions of the 2017 documentary LIFE AFTER FLASH.
In 1980, famed throw-everything-at-the-wall producer Dino DeLaurentis brought Flash Gordon to the big screen. A mega budget, garish fantasy loaded with ornate sets and costumes and pre-CGI wire effects, the movie was either a fun throwback or a strange disaster, depending on your personal tastes.
The two things almost everyone could agree on is that the best part of the movie was Queen's music score ("FLASH!! ahhh-ahhhh, savior of the universe!!) and that Sam J. Jones couldn't act his way out of a paper bag.
What the film gets right is lengthy interviews with most of the cast nearly 40 years later. The actors are all charming and self-effacing in remembering the film. Brian Blessed, Topol and Melody Anderson all are loaded with stories and Brian May from Queen is terrific.
Jones is the focus of the film. After struggling with the short lived fame he enjoyed when the film came out, he wrestled with its quick decline when the film bombed at the box office.
We follow Jones around in his life. He's run a successful personal security/bodyguard business and makes frequent appearances at comic-con style events.
Watching him micro-manage every piece of that 10 x 10 space in a convention hall is half sad and half inspiring. He seems very comfortable with who he is today, with his focus on family and his personal faith.
It's also fun to see him remember his ego and cockiness back in the day from his perspective now.
The real highlights are seeing the behind the scenes footage, intercut with all the actors today remembering creating the film.
Flash Gordon has morphed into a modern camp classic and Jones' appearances in the two "Ted" films show his ability to laugh at himself.
LIFE AFTER FLASH would have been better if it had more focus, it tends to jump from subject to subject without any real flow, sometimes stranding you just when you are starting to get interested.
Overall, if you have fond memories of the film from its 1980 launch, you'll likely enjoy this doc. After watching it, I think Brian Blessed deserves a film of his own. He's a gifted storyteller and his intimate tales of playing the winged Prince Vultan are hilarious.
LIFE AFTER FLASH gets a B-.