Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)

Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)

Director: Jimmy T Murakami
Starring: Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, John Saxon

When a peaceful planet is threatened by an interstellar conqueror, a young man goes on a journey to hire mercenaries to defend his world.

When I found out about this movie, I just groaned, thinking, "Oh, great, another cheap Star Wars cash-in." One of the joys of doing these reviews is that even when I see a movie that makes me roll my eyes, there's a fair chance I'll watch it anyway. And, let me tell ya, I'm glad I did. No, really. This movie is less Star Wars (though it's definitely presented that way) than it is The Magnificent Seven IN SPACE. Shoot, they even have Robert Vaughn basically playing the same character. This is a Roger Corman production and the thing I like about Corman that even if it's low budget, even if it's meant to be just a cash-in, he still puts in the work to give it redeeming value. The story's decent, the characters are pretty good and there's actually a fair bit of chuckling dialog. Not the so bad it's funny but actually funny. The effects are about TV grade even for the time period, but I guess it's appropriate since most of the cast are primarily TV actors. It's actually surprising how many recognizable faces are in the cast. The score is one of James Horner's earlier works and really quite good and James Cameron did some of the effects work as his early gigs. I wouldn't go so far as to call the movie a timeless classic (though it does crib one), but it's a lot better than you'd expect and well worth a watch.

Watch It