Sunday, January 17, 2021

Battle Beyond the Stars 1980 5 out of 10 (Star Wars Rip-off # 3)


Battle Beyond the Stars 1980  5 out of 10

The next Star Wars rip-off I dug into was Battle Beyond the Stars from 1980.  This was another odd one.  The film is basically a silly version of The Seven Samurai in space.  A villain played by John Saxon has threatened a small planet and the peaceful people decide to hire some fighters to protect them.  They send John Boy from the Walton's into space to get help without any way of paying for it.   The first hour of the film has him way too easily getting a bunch of random aliens and people to help him fight for the planet. The crew he assembles includes George Peppard as a guy named Space Cowboy and Robert Vaughn as a mysterious hired gun known throughout the galaxy.

The movie was super corny and cheesy - but actually had some decent editing and special effects in the space battles that made it seem more exciting than it should be.  Famed director James Cameron worked on the films special effects - so that may be why that part of the film stood out.   Other than the effects the story was just unremarkable and not very memorable. 

Star Crash 1978 5 out of 10 (Star Wars rip-off # 2)

Star Crash 1978   5 out of 10    (Star Wars rip-off)

One of the co-hosts of the podcast recently sent me a Youtube video of some Star Wars rip-offs and I was intrigued and had to see them for myself.  The first one I watched was Star Crash which I hadn't previously heard of for some reason.   

This film starred sci-fi hottie Caroline Munro as Stella Star the bikini clad hero of the film.    The name didn't immediately ring a bell -but when I looked her up her previous work was familiar.  She was Bond Girl in Spy Who Loved Me and was also in the Golden Voyage of Sinbad..

The film itself was pretty unremarkable.  There were aliens sidekicks (one with a bullet head and odd cowboy accent). There were laser swords and a villain with a planet destroying weapon -- but the plot was pretty thin.  Stella Star is an outlaw smuggler that is enlisted to help the Emperor rescue his son and destroy the evil super weapon.  The characters stop at several planets in search of the lost ship and encounter a tribe of Amazon woman with a giant metal robot straight out of something Ray Harryhausen flick.  On a different planet they bump into some prehistoric looking mutants before finally rescuing David Hasellhoff.   Together they break into the villains lab and have to fight off a couple of duck looking metal robots.  These robots looked like the insides of some Disney animatronic (not very menacing)  The film then ends with some odd space battle that doesn't even involve the main characters as they watch from the Emperor's ship.

After watching several of these Star Wars rip-offs and the Flash Gordon film from the 1980's I'm shocked that George Lucas was able to pull off Star Wars the way he did.  Star Wars caught magic in a bottle.  Star Wars just worked - when it could have so easily ended up forgettable like most of the Star Wars rip-offs that followed in its footsteps.   I'm glad I checked out Star Crash just to see what it was unfortunately it was no diamond in the rough --- instead it was just rough. It had silly plot that just seemed pieced together and some goofy characters.