Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)

Rating: 12a/A
Length: 1hr 43
Release: 19.2.1981
Director: Jimmy T Murakami & Roger Corman (Uncredited)
About: Akir is a peaceful planet that is attacked by Sador and his army of mutants. Shad, a young Akira farmer hires a group of mercenaries to protect his planet. Will he succeed in his mission?

The Good

  • It actually has some names within the film. Original John-Boy Walton Richard Thomas takes on the ‘Farm boy’ role (Yes, check out Amazon Prime’s description and they liken Thomas’ Shad to Luke Skywalker and Elm Street’s resident sheriff, John Saxon, brings us the destroyer of planets and all-round bad guy, Sador.
  • Man from U.N.C.L.E alumni Robert Vaughn is a decent spot as… well, I’m not quite what he did in the film other than provide a nod to the Magnificent Seven (1960), of which this film is loosely based. I enjoyed his presence, even if I had given up on following the characters at this point.
  • George Peppard is also a hoot to have on board. While he looked familar, I did have to look him up. He’s one quarter of the A-Team. The TV Show, not the film outing that saw Liam Neeson take on the cigar-smoking John ‘Hannibal’ Smith.
  • Had I have watched this with at least half a bottle of wine in me and some drinking game rules to hand, it would have been hilarious. However, I think I’d have irreparable liver damage to go with the giggles.

The Bad

  • When you have a character that is so comparable to Luke Skywalker, you really have to get it right. Unfortunately, Richard Thomas doesn’t work in the role. He comes across more like Wesley Crusher; over keen, too young and floppy haired. He’s a tad annoying and totally in need of seeing a burnt up aunt and uncle to wipe that jolly smile off his face. Even the animated Flick had more charm in the Bug’s Life version of this over-played story.
  • How many characters? Seriously, I felt rather overwhelmed with how many people they brought to help, who didn’t really help and, in some cases, didn’t want to help. From the albino collective who had the TARDIS to the porn warrior and the reptile dude stolen from the Star Trek department, it felt too much and it stopped me getting invested. I mean COME ON, it’s the SEVEN Samurai/ Magnificent SEVEN, not ‘lets invite a rave to our fucking planet’. Specially given that they’re so unbelievably shit.

The Ugly

  • Zed’s Ship! Jesus, you know that bit in every Austin Powers movie when they’re like ‘It looks like a…’ cuts from one location to another ‘…Johnson, did you just see that…’. Yeah, only it looks more like a sex organ abomination. Seriously, you’ve got the top end of a woman’s uterus that leads into a ball sack. Guys, once you see it, you can’t unsee it… and this is where my liver would DIE!
  • While we’re on the subject, the script! Again, if I was drinking for every time a line made me laugh. For example “I can’t take him from the back Nell.”… Yeah, yeah get my mind out the gutter. Believe me, it needs to be in the gutter to come out of this film sane.
  • George Peppard is literally known as Cowboy. They fucking put a Cowboy in SPACE! Yes, its a riff of many of the things this thing is ripping off but it just doesn’t fit. He’d Basically Buck Rogers, without that explanation. He dresses like a cowboy, talks like a cowboy (Hell, he even talks about Custer’s last stand) but I don’t understand why! Oh, he also plays Home of the Range on a fucking harmonica! Its a full fucking house on the Western-bingo card.
  • The TARDIS aliens who share a consciousness have one abducted by the Shit-Thanos and some shit goes does that I really don’t give a fuck about at this point and because they don’t tolerate pain, he dies. Except Sador needs a new arm (again, I don’t know why. I don’t fucking care, I’ve lost the will to live at this point) so he’s given that of the tip-exed alien. The arm goes all Evil Hands on Sador because of ‘shared consciousness’ and the remaining aliens use the connection to try and kill him. Only, they’re so fucking stupid and impatient that they try and do it there and then. Morons!
Tip-exed aliens

Final Thoughts

I don’t fucking know! I feel like… I feel like someone made a computer write a sci-fi script after watching Star Wars, Space Balls, Buck Rodgers and Flash Gordon and this was the monstrosity that came out. Its The Room (2003) of the Sci-Fi genre and something I never want to watch again.

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