Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time
My dear boy, where I come from, the only thing a virgin is good for—is sacrifice.
Jarv’s Rating: Half a Chang and I’m being fucking generous with that.
Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time was a crushing disappointment. I had thoroughly enjoyed the orignal effort, and a quick glance at the cast of the sequel had me convinced that it was going to be solid gold. It isn’t, it’s solid shit. I should have known, really, that it was going to be terrible- the subtitle “Through the portal of time” gives away that they’re going to transplant Dar+ baddy to the 20th Century. I was, however, completely unprepared as to how bad it actually is.
I have a theory about sequels- the longer between them, the greater the drop off in quality (this does not bode well for the forthcoming Leprechaun sequel). Seriously, Star Wars Prequels are crap, Indiana Jones 4 was crap, Hannibal (book and film) are both crap and so forth. This sequel was made 9 years after Dar kicked some ass in the original, and they’ve clearly forgotten everything that was good and made it much more kiddie friendly to boot. There isn’t a single solitary boob sighting, the violence is completely lame and for some inexplicable reason they decided to try for a wanky “fish out of water” type comedy. Needless to say, it’s an epic failure (sorry).
Funnily enough, it all starts very promisingly. There’s a nice scrolling story summary at the start, and the epic score is still intact. Basically, it’s some short time after the events of the original, and this massive bastard, Arklon (Wings Hauser), has seized power. The only hope for freedom is Dar’s motley rebel army on the Eastern border. Dar has been captured by Arklon and is undergoing trial for (amongst other things) being a witch. Unsurprisingly, he’s guilty. However, before he can be executed his animal pals turn up, free Dar, kick some ass and they escape. This sequence, while enjoyable, actually had the first alarm bell going: Dar is kicking some ass with a fucking huge axe and instead of beheading one of the evil judges he hits him in the face with the flat of it. However, I put this aside, considering that as the judge is technically a civilian and Dar is a hero so therefore he shouldn’t be executed. More fool me. Dar then travels into the swamp, encounters Swamp Thing’s uglier sister (turns out it’s actually Dar’s aunt) who tells him of a prophecy. He has to travel to the west to kill his elder brother who is a bit of a cunt, apparently. No prizes for guessing who the elder brother is.
Meanwhile, Arklon has staged an ambush on a group of rebels (aided and abetted by a witch played by Sarah Douglas), and used his magic key of whatnot to blow them up. In return the witch shows him the portal of time (conveniently opening on 20th Century LA), and promises eternal power in the form of a Nuetron Detonator. While they’re looking at it, Senators daughter Jackie (an excruciating Kari Wuhrer) is being chased in her Porsche by the plod and through a series of events too tedious to go into, ends up crashing through the portal of time. One thing leads to another and Dar has to travel to LA to foil Arklon- cue an hour of mild embarrassment for all concerned.
This is, as I’ve already said, shit. And it’s shit for several reasons. Firstly, the entire LA segment is boring and embarrassing. The hackneyed fish out of water shit is annoying, and there’s a particularly lame sequence where Arklon and witch go shopping. The supporting cast are all utterly hopeless stereotypes (particularly the police), and the special effects are diabolical. Furthermore, they throw continuity out of the window by reanimating one of the ferrets, and the tiger has changed colour- which probably validates the spray paint story from the first film. However, having said all that, I’ve not got to the real reason that this film blows.
Marc Singer plays Dar with the same twinkly eyed charm as he did in the first film, and Wings Hauser stumbles around spitting malevolent hammy evil at everyone else. When they’re on screen alone the film is actually quite watchable. Unfortunately, most of the time they’re on screen with either (in Dar’s case) Kari Wuhrer, or (in Arklon’s case) Sarah Douglas. These are 2 of the most annoying characters and even more irritating performances that I’ve ever seen. To be fair to Douglas, her character is little more than a shallow bitch, and she sucks because she looks actively embarrassed to be forced to use ridiculously self-conscious modern argot while dressed as a medieval slut- she almost winces when she has to tell Arklon that “you’re a difficult man to book a meeting with”. Kari Wuhrer, on the other hand has no such excuse. It’s one of the most irritating characters that I’ve ever seen- being simultaneously boring, vapid and obnoxious and dense, and her performance manages to make it even worse. Her acting stinks more than a dead iguana. I would forgive this if she got her tits out for the camera, but she doesn’t- and it’s a real shame, because she is smoking hot with spectacular cans.
To make matters worse, there’s a series of totally inept post-modern style in-jokes. One that sticks in my mind, because it’s been done so many times, is that Dar and Jackie are cruising down the street when they pass a cinema playing Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time. As if- there isn’t a prayer this shite got a cinema release. Then there’s the elaborately set up eating modern food sequence, or the previously mentioned Barbarian villain does Pretty Woman scene. All unfunny and all lame.
Overall, would I recommend this? Fuck no, it’s dreadful garbage that is not even entertaining on a base level. There’s none of the prerequisites for a Barbarian movie- no nudity, no gore, and to make matters worse they decided to use child friendly violence. The plot was written up by retards in crayon on toilet paper- it’s almost like someone said “that first Beastmaster film was good fun with a lot of heart, but it really needed a few car chases”, and it features two of the worst performances it’s ever been my misfortune to see. It’s a real shame, because Marc Singer and Wings Hauser make an excellent set of antagonists, but unfortunately they aren’t anywhere near good enough to relieve the pain and suffering that takes place when the two women are on screen. Avoid.
It almost makes me want to go back and up the Chang rating on the first film to 3 again, as the original really looks superb in comparison. Finally, for no particular reason other than you may as well get something from this review, this is what Kari Wuhrer can look like:
Until next time when I’m finishing off the most ill advised triple bill that I’ve seen in a long time,