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Battle Beyond The Stars (Blu-Ray)

George Peppard , Robert Vaughn , Jimmy T. Murakami , Roger Corman    Unrated   Blu-ray
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 26.95
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Twenty-first-century science fiction fans accustomed to special-effects orgies like The Matrix may snigger at the quaint, Flash Gordon-like spaceships in Battle Beyond the Stars. But executive producer Roger Corman's belated entry into the '70s sci-fi craze surpasses expectations with sharp performances and a witty script by John Sayles (his third for Corman, including 1978's Piranha). The story, lifted wholesale from Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954), finds the dictator Sador (John Saxon) threatening the planet of Akira. Its pacifist inhabitants are no match for Sador's devastating weapon, the Stellar Converter, but young Shad (Richard Thomas) decides to fight back. Borrowing the ship of notorious mercenary Zed the Corsair, he recruits a band of mercenaries, each of whom has a personal reason to join the fight. Among them are a lizard-like humanoid (Morgan Woodward), an improbable space cowboy (George Peppard), a zaftig female warrior (Sybil Danning), and brooding killer-for-hire Gelt (Robert Vaughn, reprising his Magnificent Seven role). Battle's final showdown is somewhat anticlimatic, but the surprisingly stellar cast (which includes Sam Jaffe and Darlanne Fluegel) and the indie spunk of Sayles' script, with its light meditations on death and honor, will charm newcomers and repeat audiences alike. New Concorde's digitally remastered DVD features commentary by Sayles and Terminator 2 producer Gale Anne Hurd, Battle's assistant production manager. Oh, and those spaceships? Designed by Titanic director James Cameron. Still laughing? --Paul Gaita

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars seven samurai in space Aug. 11 2006
Format:DVD
John Sayles was asked by Roger Corman to adapt The Seven Samurai into a sci fi picture and the result is this delightfully inventive tongue-in-cheek romp.

What's most enjoyable about the film is the fact that every mercenary hired by the peaceful "villagers" has a distinct personality and style and their intentions clearly defined. George Peppard( as the only human among them) is laid back and charming. Morgan Woodward seems to be having a grand old time playing the vengeful lizard-man (dig his gonzo war-cry during the climactic battle!) Robert Vaughn does seem a bit bored but he effectively communicates his character's unpleasant coldness. Sybill Danning simply has one of the most stunning bodies to ever be stuffed into a styrofoam viking costume, even if she can't act. Add to these characters 2 elfin aliens who communicate thru heat( the Kelvin, wink, wink) and a troupe of what looks like Mimes( called "Nestor") who operate sort of like to the collectivist Borg from Star Trek and in disposition seem to anticipate the infectious optimism and curiosity of Mr Data as well; when first introduced they explain, " We believe you are seeking mercenaries for an adventure. We would like to participate." The costumes, sets and spfx are obviously done on a very low budget but that hardly detracts from the fun. Special mention must be made of John Saxon who, as the evil scourge of the galaxy Lord Sador, grabs his opportunity to chew the scenery with amusing gusto; Check the sequence where he gets to enact what must be every actors dream since DR STRANGELOVE: to have a battle with his own rebellious arm! He plays it all-out, with just the right notes of sadism and menacing humor.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The ship's got boobies!! Sept. 26 2002
Format:DVD
The peace-loving planet Akir is attacked by the evil Sador (John Saxon), who demands their food supplies. Among the Akirians is an old warrior named Zed. Unfortunately, he is blind and unable to fight against the tyrant, but his fighting ship, Nell, still has her weapons and sense of wit intact. Nell was obviously designed by someone with a sense of humor. From the side the ship looks like a very... gifted female centaur lying down. (Look, the ship has giant boobies. Trust me.) A young man named Shad (Richard Thomas) sets out aboard Nell with one goal in mind: find mercenaries that are willing to help him defend Akir.

The characters are lots of fun, the story is good, and the special effects are above average. In fact, lots of the model work would later be used in many other movies, creating an endless supply of stock footage for New World Productions. This flick has its fare share of Star Wars rip-offs, including Shad, as a poor man's Luke Skywalker, and Cowboy, as a wino's Han Solo, but its still worth checking out.

Space Cowboy has what must be the coolest fashion accessory ever conceived: a belt that dispenses scotch, water, and ice.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Battle Of The Network Stars Sept. 12 2002
Format:DVD
John Saxon (The Bold Ones) is the one-armed villain Sador, bent on conquering every planet in the galaxy. Richard Thomas (The Waltons) is Shad, whose peace loving world is about to become Sador's next conquest. Shad decides it's better to fight than submit, and flies away in search of mercenaries for his cause. He first enlists the aid of computer expert Darlanne Fluegel (Project: Alien), who later becomes his love interest. Along the way he meets and recruits the Hans Solo wannabe Cowboy, played by George Peppard (The A Team), along with the ultimate mercenary Gelt, played by Robert Vaughn (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.). At first he declines the aid of Saint-Exmin, played by Sybil Danning (Amazon Women On The Moon), but her persistence pays off and she is welcomed to join them.

My main problem with this movie is the casting of Richard Thomas in the lead role. He plays the young innocent who abhors violence well, but his transformation into a vengeful warrior is totally unconvincing. John Saxon chews so much scenery he must have gotten indigestion. On the other hand, George Peppard is so laid back that he practically sleepwalks through the movie. Robert Vaughn plays the heartless mercenary to perfection. Sybil Danning is both sexy and menacing, and fills out her Valkyrie-like costumes very well. Darlanne Fluegel portrays a very sympathetic character and compliments Richard Thomas well. The outcome between the rag-tag collection of mercenaries versus the overwhelming forces of evil is never in doubt. This action-packed movie, though predictable, is very entertaining.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't laugh: This is a grass-roots classic. April 30 2002
By D. Mok
Format:DVD
What allows Battle Beyond the Stars to transcend its low budget, simple special effects and infinitely recycled plot? The most important aspect of filmmaking: Ideas.
This was one [heck] of a smart script. No surprise, since the writer is John Sayles, a screenwriter of impeccable literary sense. The dialogue of this film crackles better than most big-budget films I've seen, and as a result Darlanne Fluegel (as innocent maiden Nanelia), Robert Vaughn (ice-cool mercenary Gelt), Sybil Danning (who steals the show as dashing, comically busty Valkyr warrior Saint-Exmin), Earl Boen (as lead drone Nestor) and George Peppard (as Space Cowboy) all shine, having a field day with the incredibly brisk pace and economical character interactions. And there's great comic material here, which is like an amplification of the gently sardonic tone of Seven Samurai, the obvious ancestor of this film.
The richness of Sayles' conception of this world just draws you in -- even more so, I would argue, than Star Wars, because the depth of the philosophical implications behind the details is phenomenal. The "Facets" of Nestor, the on-the-run nihilism of Gelt the mercenary, and the communicative dilemma of the Kelvin -- it all points to very real human needs and psychological desires, hidden behind the comic-book action and tongue-in-cheek tone. Revel, as well, in the amount of attention paid to the design: Talking spaceship "Nell" is in the shape of a giant woman's body; the stingray menace of Gelt's ship; the different kinds of "hum" that each character's vehicle produces. Shows what you can do even with little money if you put some thought into it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars from my childhood
I remember staying up late to watch this movie and it brought so many memories back, and i still love it
Published 3 months ago by Tom Trudeau
5.0 out of 5 stars Battle beyond the stars
AKA john boy in space. This is a fun film. There are several good characters here. The film has a good pace and never gets boring. One of the best efforts from Corman
Published 16 months ago by Alan Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Campy
It was nice to see some famous people in their younger days. Need more boobs and fat chicks though. Nice...
Published 16 months ago by MaxxOmega
1.0 out of 5 stars Put your hands up and gimme your money!!!
Ok rant time again, this movie is a classic which I love and it deserves at least 3 and a half stars. Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2012 by Denis Lemay
3.0 out of 5 stars start of a hit series
when big stars get together an explosive time can be had and was no disappointment to me.this could have been a great series had it been wanted. Read more
Published on Aug. 16 2011 by fox
3.0 out of 5 stars A Puzzler
I don't know why they call this BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS when stars are clearly visible during the space battles...
Published on July 27 2011 by LP Quagmire
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun knock off!
Admittedly this is one of a slew of "Star Wars" knock-offs. So it is a historical piece. It is a nice B-Move, and one that you can give your kids who want to see the Matrix or... Read more
Published on May 2 2004 by Kendal B. Hunter
4.0 out of 5 stars A very fun "Star Wars" clone
Every Sci-Fi fan needs this movie in their collection. It's not perfect, but it deserves an "A" for effort. Read more
Published on March 31 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Low budget always equals poor quality....
I'm not sure why so many reviwers like Roger Corman movies. Maybe they are so bad, it's good kind of thing. It's very curious. Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2004 by D.W. Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Seven Samurai in space
Roger Corman's biggest budget financed film (although still small by industry standards). A strong cast, decent script and a level of humor (including a female spaceship with... Read more
Published on June 9 2003 by Joshua Koppel
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