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"Army of Darkness" — Bullz-Eye DVD Review

October 25, 2009

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I’m 17 years late getting on board the “Army of Darkness” cult train, but I’m pretty glad I finally did, even if I’m not certain I’ll be taking many repeat trips. A sequel to Sam Raimi’s late 80s horror comedy non-sequel, “Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn,” “Army” drops most of the horror of the prior film and combines Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” with bargain basement Tolkien and a huge dose of imaginative slapstick comedy in the vein of classic era Warner Brothers cartoons and the Three Stooges. The result is a pretty rich broth of high-style geekery.

The film opens as wisecracking, chainsaw-armed, loutish, egotistical big-box hardware store clerk hero, Ash (cult superstar Bruce Campbell) and his Oldsmobile Delta Royale fall through some kind of time hole and wind up in 13th century England by way of California’s Bronson Canyon and Vasquez Rocks. Held captive by Lord Arthur (Marcus Gilbert), his only initial supporter is the local Wiseman (Ian Abercrombie). However, victory in battle against some hideous monsters and the chance to use his magical “boomstick” (actually, a non-magical 12-gauge shotgun) adds to Ash’s credibility and helps to attract the amorous attention of a refined and beautiful noblewoman (Embeth Davidtz, adding a touch of class and some real emotion to the proceedings).

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