Runtime: 86 minutes
Director: Alfonso Corona
Starring: John Allen Nelson, Carla Herd, Thom Christopher
MPAA Rating: PG
Final Score: 5.5/10
The third thrilling saga of Deathstalker pits him against the devil wizard and ruler of the Southland, Troxartes, and his band of undead warriors. Dashing Deathstalker is entrusted by the beautiful Princess Carissa to protect an enchanted jewel, one of three, which together hold the key to the lost city of treasure, Erendor. The missing pair of gems are stashed all too safely in the heavily guarded castle of the wicked Troxartes. His mission clear, Deathstalker rouses his troops and storms the fortress with the power of lightning. And in this fateful battle, only one man will survive to witness the magical secrets of Erendor.
The best thing that can be said about this movie is that it’s fun. There isn’t much to it beyond a quest to recover magical rocks. Lines are thrown in to give each character a reason to want them, and while they aren’t as much of a focus as they should have been, it does work to give the movie a little bit of an emotional connection. Beyond that we’re given a fast-paced run through a barren world to end the movie with a final battle that ties everything up in a bow. No need to worry about consequences when you can ride off into the sunset.
You should not watch this movie if you want deep characters. Not every action has consequences and many of the characters end up in the same place they started. The only upside is that many of the characters are likeable. Even if they’re evil, everyone is just energetic and fun to watch. But you can’t form any connections with anyone because you never learn enough about them. And the romance is bad as well, especially on the villain side. There are no emotional bonds. Women inexplicably fall in love and men just want sex. We almost get a developed relationship started, but it gets gutted, and then forgotten about, quickly.
The action is on par with the rest of the movie. It’s just fun. Deathstalker is chased for most of the movie and must use his skills to survive. The action is just here so we can see the hero be awesome. None of the actions scenes are tense. The violence is bloodless and Deathstalker is enthusiastic about it all. The fighting itself is okay. There are many points with bad choreography or unnecessary stunts in the middle of the fight. The final sequence does an okay job at recreating a medium-scale battle. This is all capped off with none of the action using any magic.
Magic is restrained in the movie. Some magic teleportation, some quick raising of the dead; the usual things sorcerers get up too in stories, except evocation magic is nowhere in sight. There is nothing spectacular about the effects, but they look good enough for the overall tone. Although there are one or two moments that are crappy. One disappointing aspect on the make-up end of the effects are the undead soldiers, who look more like victims of the plague, but they are the only non-human characters in the movie and they don’t look terrible in the make-up that was used.
The costume design for this movie is much better than the previous Deathstalker movies. Besides a few of the female characters, everyone has on practical clothing. Regrettably, there are no stand out designs, mostly just rough working clothes. The part that sticks out the most are the helmets of the soldiers in the villain’s army. They wear large black buckets with wings that end up looking comical rather than frightening. Set design is the same as costume, there are no real big sets besides the castle, which looks great; all stone and torches with tapestries all about.