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Army of Darkness (1992)

May 29, 2009

7/10 Boomsticks

The weakest entry in the Evil Dead trilogy, but a pretty good movie all the same.

Like most sequels, Army of Darkness conveniently picks up where Evil Dead 2 left off. Our guy Ash is now stuck in Medieval times after getting sucked into a time portal by the Necronomicon and once again has to fight, you guessed it, an army of darkness in order to make his way back home. It’s weird, the whole movie is pretty weird, but just go with it.

As I mentioned in the Evil Dead 2 review, Army of Darkness isn’t really a horror movie. It’s got horror elements to it, being that a good deal of the movie does involve Bruce Campbell fighting the undead among other bizarre encounters, but if you’re going into this movie thinking your going to see Evil Dead 3: Blood Hose, you’re not gonna get it.

It’s not as memorable as the other Evil Dead movies, but on the other hand, it’s probably the most accessible of the bunch. Sam Raimi has a bigger budget to work with, the special effects are far better, it’s funnier, and it’s nowhere near as gory and twisted as its predecessors.

This is like the Nerf version of The Evil Dead. I had to double-check to make sure this movie was rated-R, and that’s something I would never ever have to do for The Evil Dead or Evil Dead 2.

But ultimately, Bruce Campbell is the reason to see this movie. Army of Darkness has Campbell playing Ash at the height of his cool and Raimi gives him some great dialogue to work with. This movie really wouldn’t work without Campbell in the lead, and if you’re still wondering who he is (the wrestling announcer in Spider-Man, the theater usher in Spider-Man 2, and the French waiter in Spider-Man 3 – yeah, that guy), then this is the movie to see him in, because he’s at the top of his game. Campbell takes everything that was great about Ash in Evil Dead 2, toughens him up, skyrockets his libido, and makes ten times handier with a chainsaw/gun combo than ever before.

Bruce Cambell’s the king. What can I say?

I always thought it was a strange move to pit Ash in the middle ages after getting used to him spending two great movies in a haunted cabin, but after a while I guess you just kind of forget about it. Even though it’s fun and it’s an upgrade on the Evil Dead movies from a technical standpoint, Army of Darkness just doesn’t have the same kind of cult attraction that made the first two movies so memorable.

Aside from Ash being in it, Army of Darkness almost feels like a separate entity from the rest of the series. But while it definitely sets a different tone from the rest of the franchise, it’s still Evil Dead and it’s still worth a watch.

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