It’s the Seven Samurai in Outer Space, according to Roger Corman, and that’s a fair assessment of it’s plot set up. Akir is a planet of pacifist farmers, caught off guard when Sador and his army arrive and demand their crops.
Being unable to defend themselves, the Akir send a young man named Shad off to hire some mercenaries.
And so he does. He collects a nice assortment, a pretty scientist girl, an assassin, a cowboy (named ‘Cowboy’) a lizard man, some little hot guys, five clones, and a warrior woman in a bikini played by Sybil Danning.
Shad and company return to Akir, and an epic battle ensues.
There’s really not much to say about the movie. At the end of the day, it’s a low budget rip off of other movies. That said, it is fun. Seven Samurai recast with assorted aliens makes for a lively movie. Each of the mercenaries is given their own story arcs. They all have their own motivations (revenge, adventure, etc), which give sufficient justification for their actions, but are not deep enough to create any real drama.
The special effects (directed by James Cameron) are quite impressive considering the budget. The spaceships are small models t hat look fairly good. The costumes and prosthesis look are good, but the makeup is caked on (this is probably one of those things that high definition brings out).
Battle Beyond the Stars is pretty much what I expect and want a B movie to be: imaginative, a little wacky, and fun.
The Blu Ray from Shout! Factory, part of their Roger Corman’s Cult Classics line, features the same excellent audio and video quality the rest of their Corman titles have. Extras include commentaries, interviews, and features.