Deathstalker 2 (1987)

Deathstalker 2

Deathstalker 2

Deathstalker 2 is the best movie ever. Now let me get one thing out of the way immediately. Do not believe for one instant that the quality and joy you will find in Deathstalker 2 can also be found in any other movie bearing the name Deathstalker. The other Deathstalkers are crap! Different stars, different ‘creative’ staffs, and none of the stuff that makes this movie rock. In fact, they did you a favor and put all the stuff from Deathstalker 1 that didn’t suck into Deathstalker 2 as stock footage. Convenient!

Deathstalker himself is something of an 80’s barbarian. He’s seen the movie Wall Street, and he knows it’s all about him. He wants to get rich, get famous, and get laid. And he doesn’t mind doing a little dirty work to get any of the above. Deathstalker is brought to vivid life by John Terlesky. Never heard of him? It’s a shame, because he brings something very powerful to this flick. And he gets the shit beaten out of him for it. They have lovely outtakes that show him being burned, thrown off buildings, and generally trashed. That kind of effort deserves your adoration. I call it the Jackie Chan effect. You just have to love a movie made by a guy who says “This if for you, audience!” and punches himself in the face, hard.

“I’ll have my revenge… and Deathstalker too!” – Sultana reads the credits out loud for us.

The movie opens in some kind of Raiders of the Lost Ark style temple, with Deathstalker stealing shit. Masked guards try to kill him, and he stabs them all and kills them. Twice, maybe more. You see there are only four thugs in this movie. But through creative wardrobe, adding capes, using different masks, and so on, the movie almost creates the illusion that there are more than four people fighting. The writer/director is of course one of the thugs. Can’t waste a dime of money earmarked for entertainment! After killing these guards we see some chick in a leopard bikini come out (apparently it’s her shit being stolen) and swear revenge against Deathstalker. It is hard to explain just how hilarious this moment is. For years, we misheard what she was saying as “I’ll have my revenge…in Deathstalker 2!” And right then the credits exclaim Deathstalker 2 and the rousing music starts!

The music. This has one of the most brilliant scores ever. Its catchy, its relentless, and its so cheesy you could fry it on bread and call it a pizza. Apparently it was composed without actually seeing the movie. The guy just wrote a theme, did up a few variants on it, and then gave it to the director to drop into the film where ever it seemed appropriate. I think John Williams could learn a few things from this system, because the results are spectacular.

“Ordinarily I don’t mind seeing a woman get a good beating, if she deserves it, but this doesn’t look like much of a contest to me.” – Deathstalker: feminist.

Next we go to a bar mostly made up of stock footage from Deathstalker 1. There’s some hot chicks, and some kind of pig headed orc guy eating a pig. That’s pretty awesome, but don’t let it trick you into watching Deathstalker 1, you’ve already seen all the good parts now. A ridiculous fight breaks out because, like in the westerns, fighting is considered an amiable passtime by anyone in a bar. The even add a topless dancing chick to the fight because in post production they realized the movie didn’t have quite enough boobs in it. Deathstalker has to be dragged out of the fight to get into the real plot. He needs to protect Monique Gabrielle or some shit.

Oh, Monique Gabrielle. You may remember her from Flashdance as that totally hot unnamed stripper who gets her bottom ripped off in the bad guy’s strip club. No? Well I do. Anyway, in Deathstalker 2 she’s not just being naked, she’s acting! Why this woman did not get an Oscar is beyond me. She plays two different roles, and you can totally tell that they have different peronalities! One is evil, and the other is a goofball. Both are hot.

“Deathstalker? Is that your first name or your last name?” – Reena, commenting on Deathstalker’s ridiculous name because somebody had to.

Deathstalker and Monique have to run for it from…somebody. It’s those same four thugs again, so it really doesn’t matter who they work for. Here’s another thing about this movie that is excellent: the pacing and editing. Some movies try to show you people getting from one place to another, or have transitions, or time wasting garbage like that. Not Deathstalker 2! When they’ve done the chasing and killing, Bam! Next scene, they are 50 miles away and its the next day in a kitchen. “We finally escaped!” That sums it up. Nothing wasted. Bad guys get together to hunt Deathstalker, Bam! Exploding arrows launch at Deathstalker, now riding a horse. How did they catch up to him, or know where he was? Who cares, more explosions! Finally somebody got it right!

“And last but not least a real find, Buddy ‘Footstool’ Laroza, only recently dismissed by Ivan the Terrible for excessive brutality.” – The bad guys introduce their latest set of dying thugs. Now featuring a midget!

This movie also features a little person, often referred to as midgets in the 80’s. It is an unwritten rule of cinema that any movie is automatically made better by the insertion of at least one little person. There are numerous examples. Willy Wonka, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Hard Rock Zombies, Bloodsucking Freaks…the list goes on and on. Now it’s not that important that the little person actually does anything, although in this case he gets kicked in the groin and explodes. Which rules.

Anyway, Deathstalker has to stop some evil sorcerer or something who’s made an evil twin of Monique, cause she’s a princess I guess. Before Deathstalker can actually have it out with the sorcerer though, he’s got to get through the Amazons.

That’s right, Amazons! What fantasy movie is complete without them? He has to fight their best warrior. At first, Deathstalker is thinking this is going to be fun, because Amazons are hot as a general rule. Much to his surprise they unleash Queen Kong, former G.L.O.W. wrestler. She’s a big woman, and we are treated to about five minutes of her beating the shit out of Deathstalker before he finally flips out and goes ninja on her. The Amazons decide to help since he beat Queen Kong, and he almost gets a piece of hot Amazon queen, until he realizes she’s talking about getting married first.

“Oh…shit.” Amazon feminism takes a hit as Deathstalker slips out the back instead of marrying the queen.

Then something happens, and Deathstalker busts into the sorcerers fortress, Monique kills evil Monique (that’s acting!), and the Amazons show up to fight lots of groups of four masked thugs. There’s also some stock battle footage from Deathstalker 1 thrown in and some inexplicable lightning strikes for dramatic effect. Deathstalker kills the sorcerer in a sword duel (stupid sorcerer should have challenged him to a magical duel), get’s the girl, and gets a big thumbs up from Queen Kong. And they all live happily ever after.

The credits contain not just one, but two awesome things, which is two awesome things more than most credits can claim. One, there’s the bloopers that show Terlesky suffering for his art as mentioned above. Two, you know those credits that show a picture of the character and then name the actor? These do that for a bit, and then end on this giant crowd shot and like 80 million names on top of it. Now that rules. The perfect ending for the best movie ever.

About the Author

Stark Raving Reviewer Darrell Hayhurst is an acclaimed game designer, best known for the Origin-nominated WWII pulp-sci fi space combat hit "Hard Vacuum" released in 2000 and the follow-up expansion “Hard Vacuum: Science Gone Mad” in 2001 and the “Hard Vacuum: War’s End” three-parter, "Bright Sun Ascending!", "The Highest Ground!" and "Red Rockets Rising!" in 2004.