AKA Deathstalker II: Duel Of The Titans.
Well, here's a turn up for the books. I thought that Deathstalker was an okay slice of hokum so I approached the sequels with more than a pinch of pessimism - the usual pattern tends to be that the sequels go down and down in quality until you get to the very end and simply have to pray that the franchise runs out of breath before you do. I perked up slightly when I saw that the film was directed by Jim Wynorski. And, only a few minutes into the proceedings, when I heard the line "ordinarily I don't mind seeing a woman get a good beating, if she
deserves it, but this doesn't look like much of a contest to me" I knew I was in for a treat.
Deathstalker II is full of action, one-liners delivered with a cocky style by John Terlesky that puts him almost up there with the mighty Bruce Campbell, gratuitous nudity from the lovely Monique Gabrielle and just a neverending supply of fun, fun, fun. The fact that this is set in olde worlde times and you can easily see both a trailer in the background and a streetlight (or film light) quite clearly just adds to the fun, reminding you that all of this entertainment was brought to you on a budget that probably barely stretched to include a decent lunch for everyone.
The plot sees Deathstalker (played this time by the aforementioned Terlesky) urged to go on a quest by Reena The Seer (Monique Gabrielle). She foretells great rewards and fame for Deathstalker and that's the kind of talk that he likes. But what she doesn't tell him is that she is actually Princess Evie, ousted from her position by Jarek The Sorcerer (John Lazar), a man who has created a doppelganger of her to hold the throne. Toni Naples plays a woman who wants Deathstalker to die at her hands while Maria Socas is the Amazon Queen who wants Deathstalker to be physically tested in more ways than one.
It's full of numerous random moments, though not quite as random as the first movie, and cheekily re-uses footage from part one but this movie is really just overflowing with enough energy and humour to make it one of the better b-movies I've seen in some time. As well as the standard swordplay we also get to enjoy some wrestling (with Dee Booher, billed here as Queen Kong, playing the formidable opponent), a scene with lots of zombies posing a threat and did I mention the gratuitous nudity from the lovely Monique Gabrielle?
John Terlesky is superb in the leading role, John Lazar is okay as the villain (though it's a shame that he stays remarkably restrained), Toni Naples and Maria Socas are both attractive and strong women and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . did I mention the gratuitous nudity from the lovely Monique Gabrielle?
The technical side isn't really up to much but Wynorski directs with his usual competence, energy and enthusiasm standing in for any major resources, and the screenplay has a lot of wit, even if most of the gags are amusingly lame ones. There's also some great, rousing, music by Chuck Cirino. It may be a little overused but it had me tapping my toes every time it was played.