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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time (1991)



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"These guys don't fire warning shots."

A sensuous, mysterious witch (we know she is sensuous and mysterious because she said so) makes an offer to evil badguy Arklon; she can take him to modern day L.A. where they can steal a neutron detonator, return to their own world, and rule it. Arklon realizes a couple of nukes would be more effective than crushing his enemies with styrofoam boulders, so he agrees.

Before seeing this film, I was warned that there was interaction with the modern world, and that this effectively killed the fantasy atmosphere created by the original. (It did.) This was regrettable, but I decided that I would take the film for what it was, rather than comparing it with the first. It might have worked -- but what makes Beastmaster 2 so unbearably awful, even as a stand-alone film, is the awkward, cliched, corny dialogue, and painful acting by Kari Wuhrer, a girl from L.A. who accidentally drives her car through the portal to the Beastmaster's world. When she isn't attempting to pass off lines like "I'd rather eat breakfast than be breakfast," viewers are subjected to a horribly contrived storyline, where flawed logic abounds. Why must the Beastmaster go to the tiger and help him keep watch -- can't the Beastmaster see through the tiger's eyes anymore? Why does Arklon spend as much energy deliberately detaining the Beastmaster, planning to kill him later, as he would if he destroyed him then and there? Not to mention one of the character's inexplicable change of heart.

As if that wasn't enough, every scene plays as predictably as if you'd seen the movie once already. To its credit, the film as a whole is not particularly predictable, yet at the beginning of each and every scene, you know exactly how it will pan out. Finally, the finale, alas, is devoid of suspense, due to inane humor. Perhaps I'm being too harsh on this film; it does have some small merit. The opening scene is good (alas, it's the best), and it's never boring (how many bad films can make that claim?).

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