In 1980, before the release of The Empire Strikes Back, Japanese-American filmmaker Jimmy T. Murakami and cult film producer Roger Corman worked on a science fiction film as an attempt to cash-in on the popularity of Star Wars, and that film is entitled Battle Beyond the Stars. Unlike Star Wars, which was based mostly on Japanese folklore, Battle Beyond the Stars is more of a space Western because it takes its influences from 1960's The Magnificent Seven, a popular classic that was a Western-style remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 classic The Seven Samurai. The movie stars Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, George Peppard, John Saxon, Jeff Corey, Sybil Danning, and Darlanne Fluegel.
The film's plot is almost similar to that of Star Wars:
The planet Akir is a peaceful farm world located far away in a distant galaxy, but it is about to be attacked by the evil space lord Sador, who uses a device that turns planets into stars, and threatens to use it on Akir unless they submit to his authority. In order to defeat Sador and stop his attack on Akir, Shad, a young Akira farmer, searches for mercenaries and warriors that would have the courage to use starfighters and other weapons. At the end, the planet Akir is saved, and the mercenaries would be honored and revered as long as the planet lives.
What's notable about this film is that legendary filmmaker James Cameron was hired to work as a model designer for the movie. This movie was an immense cult classic, and is what I would call Roger Corman's greatest science fiction movie of all time. Despite being a mockbuster of Star Wars, I would keep one promise: to get a kick out of this movie before I go see Star Wars: Episode VII.
What do you think about this cult classic?