By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Four Beers) –
Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece The Seven Samurai is given the intergalactic treatment in this classic B-Movie from Roger Corman’s studio. When a peaceful planet is threatened by John Saxon’s “totally not Death Star”, John-Boy from The Waltons scours the galaxy to hire a group of mercenaries who will help save his home from destruction. Released at a time when the demand for high-concept space opera had reached a fever pitch, Corman employed slightly more of a budget to get a piece of the Star Wars pie.
Also: holy shit… Star Wars Pie!
I can see the cogs turning in Roger Corman’s head…
“George Lucas borrowed from Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, so why don’t we do a space movie and base it on something else from Kurosawa? This should pique the interest of nerds, thus assuring the film will still be making us money 40 years from now.”
While Battle Beyond the Stars is by no means another Star Wars, it does bear some resemblance to the campier episodes of the original Star Trek series. The film features colorful sets, eccentric (if rather cheap) creature-effects, and a script with just the right amount of cheese to make it amusing.
This, and many other spaceships in the film were actually designed by a young James Cameron, though few of them are as well endowed as this.
The mercenaries are a group of ridiculous caricatures, from George Peppard’s “Space Cowboy”
“Home, home on the Ion-Powered Interstellar Cruiser” doesn’t have the same ring
To Sybil Danning’s Valkrie Warrior
Who was clearly cast for her personality
To Robert Vaughn’s “easy paycheck”
Nerd fact: Robert Vaughn plays basically the same character as the one he played in The Magnificent Seven, itself based on The Seven Samurai…
Wait a minute… is it just me or…
does this also vaguely look like
Hmm… perish the thought…
Battle Beyond the Stars features over-the-top performances, dated special effects, and a storyline that managed to make for two great movies (this not being one of them). With that said, it is a hell of a lot of fun with some beers and a group of friends. If not for The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension, it would surely stand at the forefront of campy cult sci-fi classics from the 80’s.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every reference to “the Varda”
Take a Drink: for the death of any of the “mercenaries”
Take a Drink: for each mention of the “Akir”
Drink a Shot: for sexual innuendo