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Army of Darkness (1993)



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Army of Darkness, the second sequel to The Evil Dead, is nothing like its predecessors except that it takes the character of Ash and ups the ante for over-the-top goofball humor. Whereas the other two films were set in an abandoned cabin in the woods, this one takes place in medieval times, where Ash takes on legions of demons from a castle stronghold. The series has come a long way from its dismal beginning.

I liked Army of Darkness but felt it went a little too far in its pursuit of madcap silliness, or maybe just not far enough in other areas. Certainly I loved several individual scenes, including a fight in "the pit," a dilemma over three books that look alike, and some bizarre trouble that comes of a broken mirror. And I liked the nod to Ray Harryhausen's famous skeletons in Jason and the Argonauts; their presence here is ample evidence that sometimes sleek computer animation isn't always the answer.

But Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn managed to be funny without taking the edge off its action scenes. In Army of Darkness there is seldom the sense that Ash won't stumble his way through, no matter what beasties are after him. I laughed during the movie, but by the time it was over, I didn't get the sense that it amounted to anything.

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