February 24, 1993 -- A spoof of horror, action and sword-and-sorcery films called ``Army of Darkness'' has great special effects and some funny jokes, but falls short of some other notable genre spoofs, such as ``Young Frankenstein.''.
``Army of Darkness'' is the second sequel of ``The Evil Dead,'' a very gory, low-budget grade B horror film. The same director, Sam Raimi and the same star, Bruce Campbell, are found in all three films.
Following the success of the first two, ``Army of Darkness'' has been pumped full of cash which make it a slicker film with better special effects, but not much better overall than the first two films in the series. Such is the state of Hollywood. What once was a drive-in movie is now an ``A'' film.
The story is a straightforward quest. Campbell is catapulted into a mythical Middle Age society from the present through the power of black magic found in the Book of the Dead, the Necronomicon. In order to get back to the present, he has to find the Necronomicon and recite the words ``Klaatu, barada nikto,'' a movie in-joke. Those were the command words Patricia Neal speaks to the robot in ``The Day the Earth Stood Still,'' the classic 1951 science fiction film.
The film also makes fun of the extreme difference in culture between the modern Campbell and his medieval companions in the quest. Campbell even gives the natives a sort of K Mart sales pitch. There are numerous spoofs of horror, science fiction and even Kung Fu movie genres. Raimi uses high-quality special effects, along with Three Stooges-like comedy in the midst of bloody fight scenes to provide a cartoon-like atmosphere for the film. A lot of scenes are more silly than funny.
Although the film is rated ``R'' for violence, it seems aimed at a teenage audience. If you don't mind the film's gruesome aspects and its downright silliness, it is dumb fun. The film rates a B.
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