One of the things that struck me after immersing myself in the new MST3K for a week is how different the tone of these two riffing projects are. The Rifftrax crew attacks their movie. MST3K (At least in its present form) tries to have fun with it. I enjoy both, so I'm not saying one of them is doing it wrong, but the transition happened so gradually with the Mike episodes I never noticed how distinct they actually are.
I've been thinking the same thing about the new MST3K, that they are being too "nice" to these movies.
I think that's why Starcrash fell flat for me, I was wanting a Rifftrax style trashing of the movie and didn't get it...
I think part of it is the difference between the movie targets. Having seen Reptilicus and Cry Wilderness, these are movies that are poorly made, but less because the filmmakers didn't care than that they seem more to be earnest endeavors that just turned out poorly. I would equate them as on par with Giant Spider Invasion, in that they are goofy and silly, but it's hard to fault them for trying their best and falling short. Sure, Cry Wilderness is a weird movie, but everyone seems to be having fun in it and trying their best.
Samurai Cop pretty much deserves a thrashing because the filmmakers had no ability to take what footage they had and make something that was coherent from shot to shot, and sleazed it up as much as possible. It's less goofy and more trashy. For Pete's sake, you have insert shots of Wig Hair in the middle of a dimension where Real Hair was a second ago. People aren't even in the same location as each other in the same scene, or are even in the same place they were standing seconds earlier, or even have the same voice depending on who the director had to dub that day. Even the cut scene from the Live show had a drawer in which a gun turns into an entirely different one in the next shot. It's not just a stupid concept, it is executed terribly and with genuine disregard for the final product, and it seems like it should be riffed in a very different way.
But attacked or not, I can now say, in all honesty, that I have seen Samurai Cop more times than The Godfather. It may be awful, but dammit, I still love it, but in a very different way than I love, say, Ben-Hur. It may be savaged, but sometimes a savaging can be just a little tough love.