Army of Darkness (1993)
Director: Sam Raimi
Richard Grove/Duke Henry
The time vortex at the end of Evil Dead 2 sends Ash (Campbell) back to the medieval ages. There, he must help the simple people find the “book of the dead” to rid their era of all evil. He also has to find his way back home and battle an army of undead but that’s another story...
Sam Raimi is a great director. Who else can deliver an awesome, hilarious flick like this one and also be able to put out powerful dramas like "A Simple Plan" and "The Gift"? Give the guy an Oscar or a harem already! “Army Of Darkness” is the third sequel to the Evil Dead films and it goes all out with the tongue in cheek humor Raimi slashed into Part 2. This is a comedy and a damn funny one at that.
This film has more in common with an “Indiana Jones” adventure on acid than the original Evil Dead. First off, Ash’s (Campbell) macho attitude is cranked up 13 notches here. He kicks some serious ass in very kool ways but at the same time is a tad cowardly. Ash also has the slickest one-liners I have ever heard (so good that the Playstation game “Duke Nukem” stole them). They’re even better than the ones my last date spat out while we were in bed! My fav would have to be: “good, bad…I’m the one with the gun” (I won’t give any more away…too many sharp ones). Ash is also a killer with the ladies and he’s a bit of a f**k-up too. And of course nobody takes a beating like Ash, the shite this guy packs in is unbelievable (loved the face on the grill bit…ouch!). I could talk about Ash for pages so I’ll end this by saying that Bruce Campbell offers us one of the most interesting, funny, dumb, kool, sexist action heroes to grace the bloody screen. I love the guy and would definitely share a pint of beer with the man (maybe a chick or two also).
The movie itself starts off on a high note and doesn’t quit with the laughs, creativity or style for an hour straight. Ash’s misadventures are freaking hilarious. Be it him hacking that hag in the pit with kool posing, him fighting off possessed evil books (I almost pissed my pants), him getting tied up “Gulliver” style by a horde of way pesky mini-Ashes, him fighting his evil childish twin (loved that jig BadAsh shows off) or him getting into a “Three Stooges” like poke fight with a bunch of live skeletons. This movie doesn’t stop bombarding us with knee crushing sight gags. Every time you think the movie is out of surprises, it slaps another one in your face. Tag that with Raimi’s high visual style and you get an energetic, off the wall, belly-bursting horror feast.
Now for my pet peeve. Yes, I do have one. At the hour mark of this film, it's visual style tones down to make way for the final battle between the “Deadites” and the mortals. Some of the battle jokes miss and compared to the twisted, wild, kicked my arse all over the place first hour, the last half hour feels a tiny bit weaker. Don't get me wrong, it's still swashbuckling fun, just not as dope as the previous hour. Raimi did pull me back in full force with the last 5 minutes and when the credits rolled I was smiling from ear to ear (there was also a dead guy on my couch...don't ask...).
“Army Of Darkness” turned out to be one the most fun-filled romps I've ever had the pleasure of sitting through. The film’s imagination never quits and 97 percent of the sight gags work like a hooker on her knees. This film is unadulterated pleasure. Shop smart, shop S-Mart! You bet!
This movie's not really about that but we do get effects galore! Some are great and others are obviously fake looking (guys in skeletons suits, obvious skeleton dummies, some double screen stuff). The weak effects don’t tarnish the fun factor of the film though. The imagination of the situation takes over most of the time, therefore making us not care about the obvious visual trick. And when it doesn’t, the cheese factor of the film goes way up. Either way, the movie doesn't lose.
The opening credits go like this: Bruce Campbell vs “The Army Of Darkness”. This is without a doubt Bruce Campbell’s (Ash) flick and he milks every scene he’s in for all they're worth. His deadpan humor is on, his physical comedy talent is on (love that Badash stuff!) the man is just so on! This is Bruce’s best performance. Embeth Davitz (Sheila) doesn’t have much to do but look pretty or possessed, she does both very well. Marcus Gilbert (Arthur) plays it straight and that makes him even funnier. Richard Grove (Duke Henry) is not seen too often but when he’s there, he gives it all he’s got. His energy level is on and when he laughed, I laughed with him.
T & A
At a certain point the skeletons drag this slave girl on a leash saying: “We’ve got plans for you, girlie-girl”. There, at that very moment, do we see a pair of female breasts. So don’t blink or answer the phone…
Raimi is in good shape and goes nutso with the camera for the first hour. You like POV shots of arrows, forks or what not? You got it! He also reprises the demon POV shot that’s in all the of “Evil Dead” films. Only this time it’s in the day (not as effective but still kool). Raimi often uses camera angles to express a feeling and he doesn’t hold back here. Another energetic, kinetic offering by King Raimi. Hail to the king!!!
A kooky score that fits the offbeat feel of the film.
"Army Of Darkness" is the polar opposite of “Evil Dead”. Where the first one was scary, the second one was funny/scary, this one is just plain funny. It's a wonderful cap off to a near perfect series. If there was ever a film created to please the beer drinkers, stoners, popcorn lovers or nacho munchers…this is, without a doubt, it! “Army Of Darkness” is one of a kind. Give me some sugar, baby!
Bridget Fonda plays Linda in yet another re-enactment of what happened in the first one.
Ted Raimi's brother of Sam has two cameos: The S-Mart clerk at the end of the film and one of the medieval time habitants.
An issue of "Fangoria" can be seen in the trunk of the car (The car BTW is Raimi’s car and he always tries to use it in his films. I heard that what we see in the trunk of the car in the film is really what Raimi had in his trunk…nothing was planted).
The magic words Ash has to say to pick up the book of the dead are "Klaatu, Barada, Nikto", the same words used to command the robot Gort in "The Day the Earth Stood Still".
Sam Raimi shot two different endings for this movie. One ending had Ash battling a she-demon in a department store in the present, while the alternative ending had Ash drinking a potion that would make him sleep one century for each drop that he drank. He then goes inside a cave to sleep. However, since he drank one drop too many, he wakes up to find a bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape. The final shot is Ash screaming in rage at a red sky. The Great Britain video version shows the "potion" ending, and the version shown in U.S. theaters showed the "she-demon" ending.