Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Beastmaster 3: The Eye of Braxus
You’re a pathetic freak of nature. I’m doing the world a favor by removing you from it.
Jarv’s Rating: 1 solitary chang. Dramatically better than Beastmaster 2, but still sort of shit.
Thank fuck this is over. This really has been one of the most ill-advised trilogy sessions that I’ve ever been stupid enough to inflict on myself. I was absolutely dreading this installment, as Beastmaster 2: Through the sphincter of misery had sucked my interest in this series dry. The omens weren’t good- it’s got a stellar cast and a low certificate, not to mention that this is the only Beastmaster that went straight to video. Nevertheless, being the fearless soul I am, I girded my loins, grabbed a beer, lit a spliff and bravely put it on.
I kind of wish I hadn’t.
Let me get this absolutely clear from the start. This is a huge improvement on part 2, in that it didn’t make me want to drown a sack full of ferrets in the canal. That is in no way, shape or form a recommendation. It suffers to some extent from the same failings as Part 2- in that it is clearly aimed at children. As a result, we again have a barbarian film with a boob count of zero, and no blood. I feel that the people that make these kiddie friendly barbarian films really miss the point- they’re fundamentally violent and messy affairs, or at least they should be.
To the maker’s immense credit, they make the wise decision to pretend that part 2 didn’t exist. So this time out Dar is still wondering around in the wilderness with his animal buddies (although the Tiger seems to have transformed into a Lion for some reason), before being drawn into a quest to save his brother Tal from nefarious magical git Lord Agon (a hilarious David Warner) who hopes to use the magical Eye of Braxus to free the god from the pits of hell. Needless to say, Dar assembles a crew, good wins and everybody goes out for milk and cookies.
The acting is much, much better than in Part 2. Tony Todd is excellent as Seth (well, that’s going too far- competent) and Singer is in full ironic wry smile mode. Casper Van Diem is fucking ridiculously po-faced as King Tal, which is a good thing, and Lesley Anne Down and Sandra Hess provide adequate non-irritating female support.
What I really want to talk about with regards to the actors, though, is costume. Seriously, in BM2, Dar had some kind of ridiculous perm going on, so this time they’ve let Singer (still a big bastard, but his face seems to be aging at a different speed to his body) keep his actual hair. In retaliation, though, they’ve done this to poor Casper:
I mean really, what the fuck is that on his head? First time I saw it, I nearly cracked a rib laughing, and as is to be expected, it moves completely independently from his head. His head goes left- wig stays in exactly the same position. It’s priceless. Even giving it the benefit of the doubt… Actually, scratch that- it’s ridiculous.
Which sort of neatly brings me on to the Special Effects, given that that wig is an effect all of it’s own. They’re fucking terrible. I mean really, really pathetic. For example, when Braxus finally gets free (in a scene shamelessly ripped off Conan the Destroyer of all things) some genius had the idea to make the ultimate evil god a big rubber dinosaur that would be more in place on the fucking Power Rangers. What’s even worse, though, is that they decided that they’d allow Braxus to talk, but not having a clue what evil reptilian god bastards sound like, and not enough imagination to make a good guess, they just have him start every sentence with “Hey”. This is, it has to be said, kind of funny for about 2 minutes. Then it gets old and annoying.
The direction this time is vastly superior to the pathetic Beastmaster 2, in that at least they had an actual vision of what they wanted to do with it. However, having said that, the fight scenes are also sort of pathetic. Tony Todd gives it a good go clobbering people with a big stick, and the two wenches get gamely stuck in, but Dar seems to spend more time polishing his sword (not a euphemism) than actually using it on people- and even when he does get in a fight most of the time he punches or kicks them. What’s the point of having a sword if you’re going to hit people with the hilt rather than lop their heads off? You, sir, are a crap Barbarian hero, and are, in fact, a pussy and a cunt. Some genius also made the decision to get rid of the epic score from the first film, and I feel that this was a terrible mistake. It makes the film feel much smaller in scope, and it doesn’t matter how much jungle/ desert he wanders around in.
Overall, there are some laughs to be had (the ridiculous “shroud of agony” being another example) from Beastmaster 3, but at the end of the day it’s pretty crap. I can’t say I’d recommend it, because I wouldn’t, but it is at least twice as good as the piss poor Beastmaster 2.
I hope one day that someone returns to Dar, and makes a proper balls-out Barbarian movie with beheadings, tits, people being mauled by angry lions and a big fucking epic score, because it feels really unsatisfactory to leave the series on such a low note (I am aware of the TV series, but that’s bound to be shit). Come on producer dudes, Conan is being remade, get out there and find a big muscle bound doofus and bring Dar back.
Just don’t spray paint a tiger this time. I hear such practices are frowned upon in the 21st Century.
Until next time,