Saturday, June 11, 2016

Deathstalker IV: Match of the Titans

   You thought I was done with these crappy movies? You thought wrong! Although there's no pride in that statement. Despite the fact they somehow got Rick Hill to return to the eponymous role, Deathstalker IV is a criminal bore. They didn't just get Rick Hill to return, they got all the other movies to return as well. SO friggin' much of this one is just recycled footage from the previous movies, and possibly some other movies as well. This movie isn't even 80 minutes long with both the opening and closing credits, and on top of that, something like 40-45% of the movie is just recycled footage? I doubt there's even a solid hour of new material. That's the sum of Deathstalker IV, for better or worse. Definitely for worse.

   It's hard to even review this as a movie, because it's honestly not one. It's just a cash grab, but the worst sort. I can abide shitty acting, lame special effects, and uninspired swordplay, but recycling footage to this extent is just insulting. Though, I get it. I mean, if I was Rick Hill (who's nearly a decade older than he was in the original Deathstalker) you wouldn't have to twist my arm to get me in the role again. I mean, what does he really do? He struts around in gladiator leathers and makes out with half naked women constantly. Which begs the question, what's new about Deathstalker IV? Aside from a fresh Roman numeral? Not much. It's premise is nearly identical to the first movie. Rearrange some characters, gender-swap a few of them, add another main beefcake- and voila! Deathstalker IV: Match of the Titans!

   I can only handle seeing the 'man-being-dragged-by-horses-gets-head-smacked-into-tree' scene so many times. I swear it's been in each movie so far. You'd think it'd be a great in-joke at this point, but it's not, it just reeks of laziness. I mean, not that the franchise has ever been a paragon of effort and creativity, but sometimes it had to happen out of necessity. Deathstalker IV is having none of that stuff. It's not just the 'man-being-dragged-by-horses-gets-head-smacked-into-tree' scene either, it's also 'pig-face-beats-guy-up-with-other-guy's-arm', 'sidekick-swings-from-chandelier', the whole fuckin' tournament montage and plenty of other clips from the Rape Den scene. All of those scenes, minus the Rape Den, were highlights of Deathstalker, but used over and over and over and over...
like the beating of a dead horse- it's just not funny.

   All of this is spectacularly sad because Deathstalker IV seems promising at times. Rick Hill apparently went to one-liner school, and got a degree. He's just on point with the zingers in this one, and seems like much less of a douchebag than the character used to be. I love the idea that the Deathstalkers in II and III aren't the same characters as Rick Hill's Deathstalker. Which would mean he actually... grew up and matured (somewhat) while we weren't watching! Gasp! Saving a girl and NOT trying to immediately sex her up while she's pinned to a tree? Who is this fucking gentleman? Where's the rape-y meathead from the first movie? Well, he seems to have mellowed out with age. Though he still has that can't-be-bothered expression fastened on his face.

   He just... does stuff. Swings a sword occasionally. Takes his shirt off and flexes a bit. Drinks, eats, and makes out with women. Conan would probably approve of this guy's lifestyle, but there's a serious lack of bloodlust here. Conan would demolish Deathstalker in a fight. Though ideally, they'd team up. Now, why does that idea make me stupid happy? A barbarian team-up? Hell yeah. Old Rick Hill and old Arnold Schwarzenegger as DS and Conan, just roaming the land looking for one last good fight. Neither hero went out on a sterling high note in their respective franchises. I, for one, would've liked to have seen John Terlesky reprise the role just once more- even if it was just a cameo in III or IV.

   Honestly, there wasn't enough blades, boobs, blood or comedy in Deathstalker IV to keep my attention. I was multitasking like a madman trying to make it through this movie. It had a few noteworthy moments though and a handful of good lines. Not to mention a magic mirror security camera system. That was silly but cool.  The best scene in the movie has to be when Rick Hill's Deathstalker is trying to coach another meathead barbarian on how to 'romance' women. It's both moronic, and ironic. Fortunately, the movie, in it's one shining moment actually pulls all the jokes off on purpose, and the scene is pretty funny. Not that it's a reason to watch DSIV or anything, please don't. If you're hankering for some B-movie sword and sorcery shenanigans, watch I and II, and stop there. But, since I'm a chump and can't take my own advice... I still have a whole handful of other low-rent barbarian flicks to watch! Stay tuned!


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