Runtime: 85 minutes
Director: Jim Wynorski
Starring: John Terlesky, Monique Gabrielle, John La Zar
MPAA Rating: R
Final Score: 5.5/10
The powerful barbarian Deathstalker has a mission: to save the kingdom from the wicked grip of the immoral wizard Jerak and his satanic queen Sultana. Together, they have ruled the land by magically creating a controllable evil twin of the lovely Princess Evie. Capturing the real Princess Evie, Deathstalker must now return her to her rightful place of power. But the fabled swordsman’s battle has just begun – standing in his way are cut-throat pirates, bloodthirsty amazons, flesh-eating zombies… and then things start to get dangerous! When the warlords fall, Deathstalker will be King!
The main plot of the movie is a simple one, but it’s the adventures that go on along the way that really make the movie fun. Each little adventure is exciting by itself but also sets up later scenes as well. We get a clear idea of where the movie is going and then the story is filled in with different sets and obstacles that the main characters must traverse. The fun is in watching how the characters deal with those challenges.
Everyone is so animated in this movie. There are very few characters who don’t seem to be having a great time. While we don’t learn much about the characters, we do see them react with each other. There are some great back and forth scenes. They aren’t fully fleshed out, but we do see some slight changes with some of the main characters.
Evie spends most of the movie in love with Deathstalker. We don’t explore why she fell in love, it just kind of happens right at the start. Deathstalker starts without any feelings other than what he would have for any other girl, but he slowly comes to love Evie by the end. We get a few scenes that shows Evie trying to encourage Deathstalker, but he resists. Their back and forth throughout the movie is fun to watch.
Almost every line in the movie is over the top and cheesy. Throw in some Conan, Genghis Khan, and Attila the Hun references and we have a not so serious movie on our hands. The actors have fun with their lines, and it brings life to the characters. But it doesn’t let up. There are no dramatic scenes. Just scene after scene of one liners.
Fun, fast sword fights are spread throughout the movie. They are good for the most part; some have some sketchy parts to them, but nothing to ruin them. The final battle scene between both sides wasn’t even that bad. If you looked close enough you can see some obvious fake fighting. But the battle is large enough that you would have to pay attention to notice. The final duel in the movie was awesome and felt satisfying. The fight that sticks out the most and doesn’t quite work is the wrestling match. Yes, wrestling. Complete with an arena with ropes and a ring girl. It’s a fun scene but it does drag on and just feels over the top, even for this movie.
The music is exciting but sometimes is just a little much. It doesn’t take a backseat during the movie at all. The only time this is okay is for Deathstalker’s theme, which is just fun to listen to. While it doesn’t hurt the movie, the music doesn’t help it either.
The overall set design is great. The cemetery is particularly awesome and creepy. There are a few scenes that are reused from the first movie and they feel out of place, but they fit well enough into this movie that it doesn’t ruin it. Luckily, we get some new sets, and they look good and the designs are great.
Everyone’s costumes were well made and nothing looked modern or out of place. The designs were not great for a lot of them, though. Bikinis will never be a good clothing choice when you want to rule a kingdom, whether it’s on a throne or with a sword in your hand. All the extras, either pheasants or soldiers, looked good and well worn.
There is not a lot of overt magic. The biggest use of magic is during the final fight, when someone is shooting lightning, which doesn’t look half bad. When one group uses exploding arrows, they use what looks like real explosions. During the zombie scene, one gets stabbed and we can see its insides, which looked real and gross. The most noticeable is a scene with a disappearing body that does the little pop effect that always looks fake.
The movie never takes itself seriously. There are moments of hardship, but even these are kept light with some one-liners from the main characters. It never develops beyond defeating the villain and having fun. But the sense of adventure is alive throughout the movie. The characters are ready to head out on a quest and you’re dragged along behind them.