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Battle Beyond The Stars Review

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When a pacifist farm colony is threatened with being turned into a sun by the evil Sador, the young emissary Shad is sent out to recruit some hard-nosed warriors to save them.

★★★★★

A quick glance at the talent behind this sci-fi B-movie might give you the wrong impression — John Sayles writes the scripts, James Horner does the score and a young James Cameron fiddles with the special effects. That its director, Jimmy T. Mirakarmi, was never heard from again and Roger Corman is the producer clears matters up. This is a daft rejig of Seven Samurai, or rather The Magnificent Seven, set in space, a quickie knock-off bumping along the money-spinning wake of Star Wars.

Yet, if you’re found wanting for some unassuming, cheesy sci-fi fun there is enough bumbling charm here to make-do. Corman was a dab hand at making nothing stretch into something, and if you accept most the explosions are the same one recycled again and again, it motors along with a barmy gusto. They dropped by the better end of rent-a-hasbeen department to fill the obligatory gang of ageing cowboys, if not the name department: Shad? Gelt? Shador? Poor old space cowboy George Peppard is simply called Cowboy. Still, having Robert Vaughn virtually reprise the exact role he had in John Sturges’ 1962 classic, albeit in space, is a small victory.

Sayles, long before his socio-political subtexts, is having a whale of time reworking the seven whacky warriors — Sybil Danning is a riot as the Valkyrie-themed Saint Exmin. You can tell because they call her a Yalkyrie. While Cayman of the Lamdda Zone is a green lizard who wants to eat Nanelia whose father is just a head on a box with flashing lights. Best of all are the Nestor, six telepathic beings who share the same consciousness and feel each other’s pain. For what it lacks in special effects, which are ropey at best, it makes up for imagination. And, both Lucas and Kurosawa resisted suing.

Derivative sci-fi hokum but some imaginative touches here and there.

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