BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980) Evil lord Sador (John Saxon) arrives on the planet Akir (whose inhabitants are called Akira -wink, wink-) and tells them he is their new pimp daddy. He plans to return a week to make it official. The Akira send young Shad (Richard Thomas) out to hire anyone who will fight for them. Naturally, he finds a ragtag group ranging from anti-social Gelt (Robert Vaughn in basically the exact same role he played in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN) to blood thirsty Saint-Exmin (Sybill Danning in some of the best costumes known to man). I loved this Roger Corman produced sci-fi epic as a kid and feel it holds up great 20+ years later. Of course, this may have to do with John Sayles wholesale cribbing of SEVEN SAMURAI for the script. Still, it works great and gives the film an edge most sci-fi is still lacking (where do you see a kids film with nearly everyone dying?). The acting is good all around with the stand out being George Peppard as Han Solo...er, Cowboy. One thing that struck me about watching this after nearly two decades is how STAR TREK II borrowed from this. The James Horner score sounds nearly identical in points to the one he delivered two years later. And the denouement where the lead villain receives a ship that explodes on him is straight outta KHAN. You'll also hear portions of Williams' STAR WARS and Goldsmith's STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE in there. Corman recycled that Horner score forever, and it's funny to see movies that were released 20 years later with "Music by James Horner" in the credits. Jim Wynorski even pinched it for CHEERLEADER MASSACRE in 2003. BATTLE's sets, visual effects and cast are pretty good, especially for a $2 million feature. New World did the miniature and matte effects in-house. James Cameron served as an art director and visual effects technician before moving on to GALAXY OF TERROR and ANDROID at New World. Director Jimmy Murakami was an Oscar-winning animator who moved to Ireland shortly after BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS. When NBC aired BATTLE, they used frame blowups and other optical tricks to disguise Danning's massive cleavage.