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Battle beyond the Stars

Film (1980). New World. Executive producer Roger Corman. Director Jimmy T Murakami. Written by John Sayles, based on a story by Sayles, Anne Dyer. Cast includes Sybil Danning, Steve Davis, George Peppard, John Saxon, Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn and Morgan Woodward. 103 minutes. Colour.

New World, never slow to capitalize on a trend, hoped – with partial success – to woo the Star Wars market with this space-opera replay of The Magnificent Seven (1960) directed by John Sturges (1910-1992), with echoes as well of Seven Samurai (1954) directed by Akira Kurasawa (1910-1998) (the village/planet being defended is called Kira). The film follows the pattern of Sturges's Seven Samurai remake right down to Robert Vaughn's reprise of his role as a world-weary gunslinger. Sayles's script is entertaining, as are Danning as the huge-breasted Valkyrie, Woodward as the reptilian mercenary, and the heat-eating twin "Kelvin", but the emphasis is on space battles which, while better than expected, leave the story treatment perfunctory. Murakami's heavy direction muffles the lightness of the script. The special effects were recycled in the Corman-produced Space Raiders (1983), of which they are the raison d'être. [PN]

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Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 05:54 am on 19 January 2022.
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