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Deathstalker II
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by Jack Sommersby

"An Absolute Blast of a B-Movie"
4 stars

Not released here in the States, unfortunately. Went straight to home video.

To give a fair idea of how enjoyably nutso Deathstalker II is, at one point a henchman of the dastardly Jarek the Sorcerer fails at eliminating his ruler's main adversary, the Deathstalker, and to communicate his fouling things up he tosses a few coins into a small pond, which brings up his boss's image as if it were a video-conference call, with him regretfully relaying his incompetence, to which Jarek plunges a sword into the water on his end and winds up fatally impaling the man on the other end in merciless no-holds-barred fashion. I for one thought the original 1983 Deathstalker rather limp and insipid aside from the agreeable Barbi Benton nudity, and it's to our immense pleasure this time around the director Jim Wynorski, who concocted the story and had the screenplay penned by Neil Ruttenberg, has thrown out all the stops and delivered an incorrigible motion picture that delivers the goods with unapologetic goofiness. At first you can't help be thrown off when a character in a medieval story such this says "Give me a break," but then you get into the amusing modern-day dialogue because that's exactly what's been intended, with at one point a woman saying, I swear, "Is that a sword or are you just glad to see me?" What there is of the bare-bones plot has to do with the swashbuckling hero Deathmaster agreeing to help out the supposed "seer" Reena who can foretell one's destiny - former ruler of the kingdom Jzafir she was displaced by Jarek who conjured up a body double of her and banished her from the premises. When Reena first encounters the Deathstalker she assumed he's a Robin Hood-like type who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, only he confesses he keeps most if it for himself. John Terlesky, an energetic performer, is great fun as the Deathstalker, absolutely chock-full of moxie and impressive physicality, and the lovely Monique Gabrielle is appropriately spunky as both Reena and Princess Evie, with John Lazar, resembling something of a fey Cleveland hairdresser, winningly despicable as Jarek. With a minuscule budget of just four-hundred-thousand Deathstalker II gets the most out of its money, with Rambo-like explosive-tipped arrows and crowd scenes that couldn't have been altogether cheap, and it helps that the handsome Terlesky has done almost all of his own stunts - when he swings into action you have no doubt he's the real deal, yet at the same time he's appealingly good-natured throughout, always on the ready with a nifty one-liner whenever the need arises. To thoroughly enjoy Deathstalker II you need be able to give in to any one of its numerous absurdities, like our hero made to do battle with a husky woman in a boxing-arena (a blatant ripoff of the one in Escape from New York) with even a foxy woman holding up a numerical card in between rounds. The movie is very enjoyable for what it is, with oodles of bare breasts and enough violent action tactfully employed so the overall jovial tone isn't thrown off. Besides, when Reena is told by our hero his name is Deathstalker, and she asks whether it's his first or last name, how can an undemanding audience possibly resist such a purely innocuous moment?

Great for a six-pack crowd.

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originally posted: 11/28/20 14:10:16
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  11-Nov-1987 (R)



Directed by
  Jim Wynorski

Written by
  Neil Ruttenberg

  John Terlesky
  Monique Gabrielle
  John Lazar
  Toni Naples
  Maria Socus

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