Battle Beyond the Stars
Eric S Brown
The Magnificent Seven in space is the best way to describe Roger Coman’s Battle Beyond the Stars which was released in 1980 and did fairly–well–but–not–great at the box office Still, it went on to become a true cult classic of the SF genre with special effects by the legendary James Cameron. The movie also had a fantastic cast including George Peppard who later played Hannibal on the A-Team.
In Battle Beyond the Stars, the farming world of Akir comes under attack by an evil warlord named Sador, who arrives and informs the farmers that he will be back to collect their crops. A young boy, Shad, and an intelligent spaceship called Nell set out to recruit help to defend their world, finding, and aquiring the services of a band of misfits from all across the galaxy. Shad saves the life of Space Cowboy, a space trucker from the planet Earth, who happens to be carrying weapons as his cargo. He offers his cargo to the battle, but opts not join in the fight himself- however he changes his mind at the end. Some of the other mercenaries include a Valkyrie warrior played by Sybil Danning, a reptilian slave trader, a small group of beings from a race called the Nestor that all share the same mind, and a hardened killer without a home who is portrayed by Robert Vaughn (one of the actors from the movie, The Magnificent Seven). Each of these warriors dies in the defense of Akir, leaving only Shad and his love interest to survive the battle.
The movie is campy to the Nth degree, but also manages to remain a fun thrill ride with its fast paced and action packed plot, and battle scenes that are intense and well shot despite the limited budget. And while little time is spent on character development, each of the defenders of the planet Akir is so unique that they come across as fully developed and extremely likable.
Battle Beyond the Stars is a must watch for fans who enjoy campy, fun SF films. I honestly can’t recommend it enough.