How does Roger Corman follow up on epic sword and sandals movie DeathStalker? Simple he takes the sequel DeathStalker II: Duel of the Titans in a completely opposite direction.
This 1987 follow up to the first Deathstalker replaces Dick Hill (yes I know it was really Richard Hill, but how often do you get to type Dick Hill?) with John Terlesky as the titular (giggling to self now) hero Deathstalker. At his side is Monique Gabrielle as Reena the Seer and Princess Evie. This entry into DeathStalker lore will set you back 85 minutes.
Deathstalker steals something from Sultana in a cold open that manages to break the fourth wall by having the female antagonist turn to the camera and say the effing title of the movie…and so begins this romp, lark, steaming pile of donkey crap that is Death Stalker II.
DeathStalker meets Reena the Seer, portrayed by softcore actress Monique Gabreielle, who is as inept an actress as she is a seer. She convinces DeathStalker to help her before we are treated to our first of many reused scenes (pig man eating a pig’s head). It is clear that DeathStalker is thinking with his little head and follows the seer to save the kingdom of Jzafir (sounds like Jizz so Far) which was taken over by Jerak.
Jerak is such a jerk he practices his sword fighting to the death with his own troops, but he is not a man of singular talent. He has created a magical doppleganger of the Princes Evie, portrayed by Monique Gabreielle…Wait, what the frack. One, she is really 80’s hot and two she can’t effing act so you gave her two rolls? Damn it Corman, you evil bastard.
We get it. You can’t have the innocent Seer protagonist be the sexy one so you let the porn star out with the evil clone. It’s a smart move since she is the eye candy of the movie and the love interest for DeathStalker, but damn get her some acting lessons.
Ok stuff happens, sword fights are had (but they are not as gory) and we sort of get a plot that we can’t care about. Somehow we get Amazon warriors thrown into the mix and DeathStalker gets freaky with a clone.
In the end Princess Evie gets to kill her doplleganger, Deathstalker has a good sword fight with Jerak and the story wraps up with a well-placed fern blow job…sorry wrong movie. Deathstalker gets his princess.
What to like
- This entry into the DeathStalker lore pretty much did away with the rape aspects of the first movie. It did reuse some scenes, which isn’t ok, but it tried very hard to downplay that aspect of the movie franchise.
- The tone of this movie is actually very good, it is in the vein of Moonlighting and the lighter fare comedies of the time. John Terlesky is a budget Bruce Willis at a time when you didn’t really need a budget Bruce Willis; you could have gotten the real thing.
- To his credit, Terlesky knows how to handle a sword and the sword fights are an actual improvement on the first movie. It can only go downhill from here.
- There is a lot of tongue in cheek, and we are not talking ass cheeks. Believe it or not despite the painful delivery of some of the lines the comedic elements work.
- We would be lying if we did not say that Monique Gabrielle is the best looking of the DeathStalker women, and despite the tortured script delivery we are willing to forgive the casting decision of giving her two rolls.
What not to like
- Monique Gabrielle as the Seer is annoying. It is hard to believe she is actually a stronger performer as the slutty Princess Evie clone.
- The plot is so thin you could write it on a piece of dental floss. It really is just 85 minutes of excuse to show breasts and sword fighting. What’s wrong with that? Well you sort of notice there is absolutely no plot.
- John Terlesky is no Dick Hill. (what do you know, I got to write that again) Here is the problem, Rick Hill is what you think about when you think sword and sandals, John Terlesky is more like the smart ass kid who gets himself out of trouble by quick talking the dumb thugs he has to fight. DeathStalker, by his very name is going to kill you. In fact Deathstalker is going to kill you so hard that your grandparents will be killed in the process, DS is a major effing badass who doesn’t care. Terlesky’s portrayal is more like if Eddie Haskal picked up a sword and started talking. Sure you will die, but just barely.
Despite its flaws, of which it has many Deathstalker II actually manages to keep a 3 out of 5 and is much more enjoyable because of the reduction of the nonconsensual sex. It is also a very different movie, a mix of swords and sandals and comedy. It is a completely different sort of movie that somehow managed to work.