Friday, 4 November 2011

Deathstalker (1983)

Remember the movie Big? A young lad makes a wish and then goes to sleep only to wake up the next day in the body of a Tom Hanks-shaped adult. And that adult ends up producing some great ideas for a toy company. Well, if that kid had gone to bed and then woken up the next day in the body of a Tom Hanks-shaped adult and immediately managed to get a job with a movie studio then I'm pretty sure that he would have created a movie like Deathstalker. Because Deathstalker is a fantasy tale in every sense.

The plot is just a bit of nonsense to cram some stuff into. Deathstalker (Rick Hill) fights some people and goes about his life happily enough until he is asked to get a powerful sword and to use that sword to overthrow the wicked Munkar (Bernard Erhard), a magic man who made himself king and isn't known for his benevolence and kindness.

No, that really is all of the main plot. Really. Which means that we get just under 80 minutes of swordplay, women being either naked or covered in flimsy flimsy garments, occasional menace in the form of puppets and a healthy dose of bad acting.

Thankfully, Rick Hill carries a sword as if he knows how to use the thing so he's not all that bad in the main role. Richard Brooker is almost adequate in the role of someone who ends up tagging along with our hero. Bernard Erhard is appropriately displeased about any efforts being made to end his rule. The ladies do much better, though that may just be my own bias, with Lana Clarkson proving to be a highlight as a swordswoman who gives no thought to underclothes and Barbi Benton quite gorgeous and up to the task of portraying someone in need of help who is also quite gorgeous.

The script by Howard R. Cohen and direction by James Sbardellati are both as slapdash as they are entertaining. The fight scenes aren't all that bad, though I've seen much better, and everything moves along so quickly that this brief adventure never outstays it's welcome. It's certainly one to watch if, like me, you have fond memories of staring up at the lurid VHS cover and wondering how amazing the movie itself would be.


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