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Deathstalker IV: Match of Titans (1990)



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A bad swords and sorcery movie wouldn't be complete unless it had a scene where evil horsemen mow down a village and kill everybody in sight. Deathstalker IV: Match of Titans has a scene like this, but there's a twist: it recycles footage from the first Deathstalker movie to do it. In fact there's lots of recycled footage from the original Deathstalker movie, and I was bewildered that some of the most laughable scenes were chosen for inclusion.

The plot of the fourth installment in this series involves the familiar plot device of a warriors' tournament. Why? Presumably because the first movie had a warriors' tournament in it, and they could reuse a lot of footage of the matches. A woman accompanies Deathstalker to the tournament. When asked what she's fighting for, she gleefully replies, "Whatever the prizes are." That's a good question. What are the prizes?

During one match, Deathstalker has a revealing conversation with his opponent. His opponent pulls out a scythe. Deathstalker quips, "You're better off harvesting corn with that thing." His opponent retorts, "It's you who will be getting harvested." These lines of dialogue make more sense than most of the others.

We soon discover the real plot behind the tournament. The queen who is running it did so to get all of her potential enemies together in one place so she can poison them. She does so, one by one, and apparently no one ever notices that the warriors in the tournament keep mysteriously disappearing. Except for Deathstalker of course, who discovers the plot and saves the day with his expert swordsmanship.

I say "expert" facetiously, of course. This is some of the worst sword work I've ever seen in a movie. It's even worse than that of The Blade Master, in which the same basic move was mechanically repeated dozens of times. I lost count of how many times Deathstalker took someone out by stabbing his sword backwards, and how many times fighters turned their backs on their opponents in general. One annoying thing Deathstalker kept doing was holding his sword like a dagger and curling it up behind him along the back of his arm so that the tip was against the back of his shoulder. By the time he could have brought that thing out to parry a thrust from his opponent, he'd already be dead.

It's appropriate, because this movie is very dead. It's a little better than the original just because a few scarce parts of it are coherent, but it's a step down from the second and third series entries, which were also bad. It does have some amusing unintentional laughs, but each of the three other Deathstalker movies have more.

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