Every late-1970s Star Wars-ripoff had to have a cantina scene, but few of them offered as much panache as Message From Space, the 1978 Japanese film. You have the dancers, wearing eye-liner, spangly metal bikini tops and g-strings, including the boys. You have the drinks-serving robot, who wears a bright pink robo-bikini. And then the obligatory dancing robot, who's got more game in one servo than R2 had in his whole body. But the film also features one of the greatest spaceship dogfight/sword-fight battle scenes of all time, and you can see for yourself below.
Directed by Kinji Fukusaku, who also directed the Japanese sequences of Tora! Tora! Tora! in 1970 and the ultra-violent Battle Royale in 2000, Message From Space is weird, even by Star Wars-ripoff standards. (Other films in this awesome sub-genre include Star Crash, The Humanoid, Turkish Star Wars, The Beast In Space, and Legend Of Orin. (Note: the Humanoid clip still plays fine. But you may have to give it a minute after pressing play. It seems to be taking a moment to load.) What makes Message stand out from this distinguished pack? Let's see. The bad guy takes orders from his mother, who's played by a male Japanese comedian in drag. Also, the good guys are recruited by means of finding special walnuts. There's a giant wooden galleon, which flies through space and gets into fights with Imperial star destroyers and tie-fighters. The pilot of the Millenium Falcon is a bouncy chick, who makes the most of the giant joystick and executes barrel rolls. The good guys include some hippie people, who wear flowers in their hair and fight with actual non-light-based swords. And the bad guys wear actual metal armor, including helmets with horns. What does this film not have? [IMDB]