Movie of the Week: Deathstalker II

“Deathstalker? Is that your first name or your last name?”

If, by chance, you’ve been thinking of watching, or re-watching, the Deathstalker series of films, I wish to ask you why?  Do you have a fever?  Are you afflicted by the plague?

If you insist on going through with this ludicrous, nonsensical quest, I suggest you only watch one of them, the second one.  It’s the good one.

Our hero, Deathstalker, is wandering the land far and wide.  He steals, he swashes, he buckles, he slays and lays.  It’s the perfect life for him.  Everything is going well until he meets Reena the Seer, who, as a prognosticator, is a far cry from Nostradamus.  Her foretelling of events is usually a little off.

Reena enlists Deathstalker’s help to save her kingdom.  Reena is really Princess Evie.  The dastardly sorcerer Jarek and his cohort, Sultana, dethroned Evie with an evil clone they conjured.  This threatens to bring chaos and destruction to the realm.  Deathstalker, initially only in it for personal gain, agrees to help.

In all honesty, there’s not a whole let that can be said about the plot of Deathstalker II because there’s not a whole lot of plot to it.  The heroes jump from one escapade to another in a series of scenes that serve to only move the story to the ending.  It is fight after fight and joke after joke, and, my Lord, it is entertaining.

So many fantasy movies are as serious as the grave– most of the ones I’ve seen anyway.  There’s not a lot of time for fun.  I include The Lord of the Rings in this accusation; it’s barely less serious than The Warrior and the Sorceress.  There are parody movies available which skewer the genre, but you’re much better off with Deathstalker II, it beat the rush and got there first.

This first sequel to the utterly bad Deathstalker has all the expected qualities of the direct-to-video VHS era:  barely a budget, bad acting, lots of violence and bare flesh.  What it does different from the first film is it tones down the more repulsive exploitation elements (it still keeps them, it’s a Roger Corman production after all), and, most wisely, its comedy is intentional.  Deathstalker II was made with more than a wink and a nod to the audience.  Its tongue is planted so firmly, deliberately in its cheek, it bites it off several times.

A third choice working in the movie’s favor is the casting of a different actor to play the title character: John Terlesky took over the role from Rick Hill.  Terlesky is obviously having fun, as is the rest of the cast. Even when the acting is atrocious, its serves to keep the movie a rollicking affair.

This is no Airplane!, but the jokes come often with a highlight being when Deathstalker has a wrestling match with a giant Amazon woman named Gorgo.  They even grapple in a conventional wrestling ring.

You won’t find that in the Shire.

%d bloggers like this: