"Too silly to be considered a true 'Evil Dead' movie."
The original came out of nowhere: a student film that exploded at Cannes, and became a huge critical and financial success. It also posesses a rabid cult fanbase. The sequel was even more frantic, gory and inspired. So how to top that? In this case, less would have been more.Army of Darkness presents me with a real dilemma: One one hand, I am a huge fan of The Evil Dead and its sequel, I like Bruce Campbell a lot and I love the whole swords-and-sorcery thing going on in this movie. Campbell does his trademark swagger-spoof and is simply fun to watch. It's just that Army of Darkness is obviously trying to be too many things. This movie almost completely alienates the fans of the first two, as it's not particularly bloody or scary. It's also not good for kids because it's fairly profane and has just enough blood to freak them out. And the entire movie clocks in at 75 minutes! Think about that.
Sam Raimi has said that this movie was an homage to the Sinbad epics and particularly Jason and the Argonauts. Hey, that's nice and all, but I would have prefered it more if the series had stayed rooted in horror. There's just way too many Three Stooges-type sight gags and godawful puns. Several of them are done quite well, thanks solely to Bruce Campbell's skills with physical comedy. (This guy looks he fell out of a comic strip in this movie.)
The plot is basically a threadbare one that will allow our hero Ash to leap from one crazy effect to the next. While some of the more elaborate scenes work (the Army storm on the castle), many don't (the little Ash guys who attack him Liliputian-style). Bottom line: The whole medieval/slapstick/living dead concoction probably would have worked a lot better, if this weren't a sequel. The first two films in the series were shocking and gruesome and darkly funny. Army of Darkness is occasionally funny and I want to like it a lot more, but it's utlimately undone by all the silliness.Again, Bruce Campbell deserves a medal for the punishment he's gone through in this trilogy. Maybe one day, Raimi will decide to go back to straight horror, and give Ash something nasty to do. If you like horror, check out the first two. If you like slapstick comedy horror adventures that are shorter than 80 minutes, you could do worse.