According to David Carradine’s book Spirit of Shaolin, he called out Roger Corman before shooting began on this film, telling him that this was just a ripoff of Akira Kurosawa’s 1961 samurai epic Yojimbo. Corman replied, “Yes, it is rather like Yojimbo.” Carradine then said, “It’s not like Yojimbo. It is Yojimbo.”
That’s when the Corman BS began. He told Carradine, “Let me tell you a story. When Fistful of Dollars opened in Tokyo, Kurosawa’s friends called him up and said, “You must see this picture.” Kurosawa said, “Yes, I understand it is rather like Yojimbo.” They told him, “No, it’s not like Yojimbo; it is Yojimbo. You have to sue these people.””
That’s when Kurosawa dropped a bombshell: “I can’t sue them. Yojimbo is Dashiel Hammet’s book Red Harvest.”
The only problem? This story is absolutely untrue. Kurosawa successfully sued Sergio Leone (And to paraphrase Patton Oswalt, I’m not going to bore you and tell you how Last Man Standing is a ripoff, too).
The big difference is, none of these movies had David Carradine with a sword or a witch who is naked for the entire running time of the movie.
Originally known as Kain of the Desert Planet, this was directed by John C. Broderick, who was a supervising editor on The Exorcist. It was co-written with William Stout, an artist who storyboarded Raiders of the Lost Ark and both Conan films. He was also the production designer for the Masters of the Universe movie. Beyond that, he’s worked in comics, on theme parks and was the designer of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.
So anyhow, let’s get to the movie. It’s all about the planet Ura, which exists under twin suns and has two rival leaders, Zeg (Luke Askew from Easy Rider, who would also play the villain against Carradine in Dune Warriors. Even better, Carradine would wear the exact same outfit from this film in that one, too) and Bal Caz, who are eternally at war with one another over the only water on the planet.
Kain (Carradine) arrives to make money by playing them off one another until he meets Naja (María Socas, who is also in Deathstalker II), an always naked sorceress who convinces him to save her people.
Keep an eye out for one of the baddies named Kief. He’s played by stuntman extraordinaire Anthony De Longis, who tried to save my childhood as Blade from the aforementioned Masters of the Universe. He’s really the only awesome part of that movie, other than Stout and Moebius’ character designs.
Carradine’s outfit is rather ridiculous. That’s helped by the fact that before shooting, he got in a fight with his girlfriend and punched a wall, messing up his hand. That’s why he wears a black glove throughout this movie.
The star’s own summation of the film is that Broderick was obsessed with María Socas (just watch the movie and see why) and kept her topless for the entire movie. He liked the swordplay and the fighting style he designed for the action, but claimed that it was uneven and warned readers of his book to not expect a great movie.