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Overall Rating
3.49

Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look57.78%
Just Average: 8.89%
Pretty Crappy: 13.33%
Sucks: 8.89%

3 reviews, 27 user ratings


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Battle Beyond the Stars
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by Matt Mulcahey

"Star Wars, Roger Corman style"
4 stars

Always one to jump on a trend, independent producer Roger Corman committed over $2 million dollars (which is the budget of Titanic for Corman) to this Star Wars clone. But just as the Corman produced/John Sayles written Piranha both copied and spoofed Jaws, Battle Beyond the Stars both emulates and skewers Star Wars simultaneously.

The story, lifted from Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai and its own remake The Magnificent Seven, features the peaceful planet of Akir being terrorized by the evil Sador (John Saxon, sporting a red scar that would make Mikhail Gorbachev green with envy). The Akir send young Shad (the moled one, Richard Thomas) on a mission into space to find mercenaries to protect them.

Shad manages to round up a horny space scientist (Darlanne Fluegel), a warrior bimbo (Sybil Danning, about to fall out of her costume), a space cowboy (George Peppard), a lizard-man (Morgan Woodward), a group of consciousness connected aliens named Nestor and a vicious hitman-for-hire (Robert Vaughn, playing the same part he did in The Magnificent Seven), each with their own reason for aiding the threatened planet.

Played with a straight face, Battle Beyond the Stars would have drifted into obscurity alongside the many awful space epics that followed the 70s sci-fi explosion. But future independent maverick John Sayles fills the script with lighthearted humor which, combined with an A-list of B-movie stars, make the film a cult classic that will live forever on video and late night cable.

In one of his better roles, Thomas plays straight-lace Shad to perfection, delivering his lines with just the right amount of Leslie Nielsen deadpan and John Boy naivete. However, the biggest treat is George Peppard in what is essentially the movies version of Hans Solo, capturing the same smug, worry-free cool he would perfect on the A-Team.

As with most low-budget movies, the acting is uneven. Apparently no one told Robert Vaughn that Battle Beyond the Stars is supposed to be fun. He seems to think he’s in a production of Hamlet. Danning is even more wooden (and voluptuous) than usual, while Saxon proves to be merely an adequate villain, though he does have the extended, diabolical laugh down to perfection.

For its budget (and for being a Corman movie) the effects are surprisingly good, with realistic models and creative make-up (though the space explosions do look like cheap fireworks.) You know if Roger Corman spends two million dollars on a movie he’s going to get his money’s worth, as the music and special effects from Battle Beyond the Stars were re-cycled countless times for other Corman cheapies such as Space Raiders. Of course it wouldn’t be a Corman movie without a little T&A. But how do you get nudity into a PG-rated space adventure? Easy, throw some knockers on one of the space ships. Now that is creative.

While Corman is highly regarded for his work as an independent director and producer, his greatest contribution may be the opportunities he’s afforded to fledgling talent. Battle Beyond the Stars is another in a long line of Corman films from which successful careers sprang forth.

Though Darlanne Fleugel didn’t show much of an aptitude in this her first role, she went on to appear in Running Scared, Lock-Up and To Live and Die in LA. Sayles penned several Corman-produced screenplays before re-defining independent cinema in the 1980s. Composer James Horner scored Titanic, Apollo 13 and Braveheart. Assistant production manager Gale Anne Hurd produced the first two Terminators, Aliens and Armageddon. Art director and effects technician James Cameron did time on a few more Corman productions, including directing duties for Pirahna II: The Spawning, before making many of the genres best films and one truly awful Oscar speech.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3080&reviewer=255
originally posted: 05/15/02 20:10:50
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User Comments

9/10/16 mr.mike Is "no bad" 4 stars
6/28/14 B In tears all the way through - best movie ever 5 stars
1/31/13 dr.lao Good ol' fashioned cheesy fun 3 stars
10/25/09 No_limits11 Also, Google stated that people who commented might be selected to become Researchers, ther 3 stars
10/25/09 SouthWind24 The hate discussed there is not only irrational, but will make the most tolerant non-whites 4 stars
10/25/09 BadGirl31 Nations institutionalize their founding story as a renewable source of guidance and inspi 2 stars
10/25/09 Merlin45 Something like 95% of the problems described here as well as 95% of the problems blacks exp 4 stars
10/24/09 Red12 Appropriately calibrated to student ability, intensive reading and writing assignments acc 2 stars
10/23/09 Bob97 Perhaps that is why current discussions of the problem give it little attention or get it o 2 stars
10/23/09 Red78 Not only do you want to make sure that they are ready for the instruction, but you must a 2 stars
10/22/09 Barbara30 Take advantage of your talents and interests and use them to your advantage when creating t 2 stars
10/22/09 Barbara72 But if you are a scrawny post-adolescent boy who absolutely must have a steady stream of ca 2 stars
11/25/06 Adam Phillips Its a load of cheesy fun, and i admit that I watched it a couple of years back -still enjoy 4 stars
7/07/06 MickR BETTER than the MUCH overly hyped Star Wars!! 5 stars
8/26/05 ES the good old days, reminds everyone to watch Ice Pirates and Hell Comes to Frogtown again 4 stars
4/03/04 Dave F. Great! But, it was even more fun working on it. 1 stars
2/12/04 Christopher Steig Bad movie, but funny enough to sit through again to point and laugh! 4 stars
12/05/03 Mike Waters Battle beyond the stars is definitely one of the best!!! 5 stars
5/12/03 Michael Warth this movie is JAWSOME!!!! 5 stars
2/27/03 arles so bad, it literally makes you sick 1 stars
1/23/03 Rick Highly enjoyable slice of scifi hokum 4 stars
12/22/02 3man Not the best movie but campy. Gotta love Space Cowboy! 3 stars
5/20/02 Charles Tatum Goofy fun, better than usual Corman-crap. 4 stars
4/20/02 Monkeynut mate it was so budget it was funny. 1 stars
1/15/02 David A. I saw this back in 5th grade (1981) and it was a big disappointment. 3 stars
6/06/01 blazfeem I saw the movie and own it. I love this film. 5 stars
1/09/00 John Markham Pointless Sci-Fi. Everyone involved & all viewers, have wasted their lives! 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-Sep-1980 (PG)
  DVD: 06-Feb-2001

UK
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