John Sayles was asked by Roger Corman to adapt The Seven Samurai into a sci fi picture and the result is this delightfully inventive tongue-in-cheek romp.
What is most enjoyable to me about the film is the fact that every mercenary hired by the peaceful “villagers” has a distinct personality and style and their motivations clearly defined. George Peppard, as the only human among them, is laid back and charming. Morgan Woodward seems to be having a grand old time playing the vengeful lizard-man–dig his gonzo war-cry during the climactic battle! Robert Vaughn does seem a bit bored but he effectively communicates his character’s unpleasant coldness. Sybill Danning simply has one of the most stunning bodies to ever be stuffed into a styrofoam viking costume, even if she can’t act. Add to these characters two elfin aliens who communicate thru heat (the Kelvin, wink, wink) and a troupe of what looks like Mimes called “Nestor” who operate sort of like the collectivist Borg from Star Trek and in disposition seem to anticipate the infectious optimism and curiosity of Mr Data as well.When first introduced they explain, “We believe you are seeking mercenaries for an adventure. We would like to participate.” The costumes, sets and spfx are quite striking though obviously done on a low budget but that hardly detracts from the fun. Special mention must be made of John Saxon who, as the evil scourge of the galaxy Lord Sador, grabs his opportunity to chew the scenery with amusing gusto. Check the sequence where he gets to enact what must be every actors dream since Dr Strangelove: to have a battle with his own rebellious arm! He plays it all-out, with just the right mix of comic book theatrics and menacing humor. It is sometimes just enjoyable to watch veteran actors cut loose and have a good time, the spirit is infectious, as it certainly is with this film. Fun for the whole family as well as bonged-out college students and other usually disparaging types.