Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) John Boy – You Should Have Stayed in the Country
I like Roger Corman films. I like Science Fiction films. I liked John Boy and The Waltons. Did I like a Roger Corman Science Fiction Film starring Richard Thomas, who played John Boy in the iconic TV show, the Waltons? Uhhh… It was ok.
Here’s the (very) basic story:
The Peaceful farming planet of Akir is threatened by bad guy/Tyrant Sador and his army of space thugs/mutants the Malmori who threaten to turn planet Akir into a small sun with the use of the super weapon, the Stellar Converter. Unless the people of Akir accept him as their leader, Sador will use the weapon – and he gives them several days to decide. In that time, Shad (played by Richard Thomas), goes out into space to recruit soldiers to help fight and hopefully defeat Sador. Shad pilots an interestingly designed ship called a Corsair Star Cruiser that has an onboard artificial intelligence named Nell that quickly becomes an important character. Shad goes from being detained in an effort to get him to mate with a scientist’s daughter to helping out a space cowboy delivery man (played by George Peppard), to meeting with a notorious interstellar assassin Gelt (played by Robert Vaughn). He manages to gather a rag-tag group of freedom fighters to help battle Sador.
Simple, dumb and generic – there is still al little charm here. This is one of the movies that used to come on late Friday or Saturday nights when I was a kid. Interesting then, and enjoyable now mostly for the memories it brings back.
A typical space opera of the early 1980s when every film maker was jumping on the Star Wars band wagon, Battle Beyond the Stars isn’t the worse that I’ve seen, and is definitely better than many of the same period. Would I recommend it? Not necessarily, but I also wouldn’t tell you to avoid it. If you get a chance to see it, see it.
Here’s the trailer: