Burke (likable James Naughton) and Virdon (the equally engaging Ron Harper) are caught by Barlow (an excellent performance by veteran character actor John Hoyt), a well-meaning, but misguided ape prefect who forces humans to fight each other to the death in a fierce gladiator-style combat arena. Legendary B-movie bad boy William Smith once again confirms his sterling status as one fearsome dude with his first-rate ferocious portrayal of reigning champion Tolar: Smith not only cuts a typically imposing figure with his brawny physique, but also handles a few strong dramatic moments with his usual finesse and dies a most heroic death at the end. Moreover, a very young Marc Singer does well as Tolar's eager, but reluctant son Dalton, who questions his father on the need for killing. Director Don McDougall, working from a compelling script by Art Wallace, relates the engrossing story at a steady pace and neatly explores the theme of loyalty as Galen (the always fine Roddy McDowall) tries to figure out a way to save his human friends. The big fight between Burke and Talor is quite brutal and exciting. Lalo Schifrin's rousing score hits the stirring spot. A nifty show.
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