MOSCOW -- A Soviet critic Sunday compared President Reagan's military policies with those of Star Wars villain Darth Vader -- the leader of a cinematic 'empire of cosmic gangsters ... terrorizing the inhabitants of the universe.'
In a review of the movie 'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,' correspondent A. Lyutin of the official Tass news agency referred specifically to Reagan's proposal for deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system in space, calling it a madcap scheme.
U.S. news reports have referred to the new plan as a 'Star Wars' defense policy.
'If this madness is realized,' Lyutin said, 'Star Wars could change from escapist fantasy into sinister, ruinous and suicidal reality.'
The review, illustrated by a photograph of Vader, appeared in the newspaper Sovietskaya Rossia under a commentary headlined 'Untruth - the Tool of Evil,' devoted to a rebuttal of recent Reagan speeches critical of the Soviet Union.
Writing from Washington, Lyutin approvingly quoted an unnamed American critic who compared Reagan with the black-armored Vader, arch villain of the Star Wars film trilogy.
None of the Star Wars films has been shown in the Soviet Union, so readers were informed the movies are set in a distant galaxy long ago.
'An empire of cosmic gangsters headed by an evil-doer, clad in black metal, known as Darth Vader, is terrorizing the universe,' he said.
'Darth Vader in America now, it turns out, is not only a cosmic brigand in an iron suit. A local journalist deftly pinned the same tag on President Reagan.
'And his not unknown March speech about plans for creation of a giant anti-rocket system in Earth orbit, designed to bring a nuclear first threat against the Soviet Union, has been called Space Wars.'
The author also took advantage of a chance to jibe at American social problems.
'There are good guys and bad guys (in the movies) but there are no poor people, no rich people, no hunger, no environmental pollution, no suicidal failures -- in a word, nothing Earthly, nothing American,' he said.
Noting that 'Jedi' was expected to break Hollywood box-office records, Tass said this showed the power of U.S. big business, 'which firmly holds in its hands the means of mass communication and the reins of show business.'
The rewards include astronomical profits and a public distracted from worries such as 'how to hold on to a job, if there is one, and how to feed one's family if the job is gone already and unemployment payments are running out.'
Although he said there was hardly any plot beyond a series of cosmic battles, and the acting was 'openly weak,' the Soviet critic noted that Luke Starwalker and his friends triumph in the end.
'But there's so much evil in the film that the victory doesn't seem all that convincing,' he said.