on September 22, 2010
I've probably seen Army of Darkness a hundred times and on several different formats over the years. When I watched this Blu-Ray edition it was like watching it for the first time. I found myself smiling the whole way through and noticed little details that only hi-def can provide. It's great that they can make old movies people love look brand spanking new. That being said, the disc doesn't contain much else, but none of the other Army of Darkness releases did either. It has the theatrical cut only, which I actually prefer as the directors cut changed some key one-liners. You can watch the Alternate ending seperately, and there is the featurette on creating the deadites which we've seen before. Oh, and the audio commentary.So nothing new except the quality, but thats enough reason to pick this up. Plus it sounds amazing. If you want a bunch of Evil Dead special features then pick up the Evil Dead blu-ray or ultimate edition DVD. It has tons of stuff, but sadly I don't see many AOD extras coming anytime soon, as I dont think much behind the scenes stuff exists. But don't let that get you down you primitive screwheads. This is still one to pick up!
on September 21, 2004
Over the past few years ive introduce my spouse to The Evil Dead films mainly the first two since ive been waiting for them to stop releasing numerous versions of the third one.
So I bought The BoomStick Edition and her and I watched it and she was in tears from start to finish.
She finally agreed with me that yes Bruce is the man.
Army of Darkness is so stupid yet totally watchable even if it does fail to live up to the franchise expectations.
Bruce has allready proven his chops recently with Bubba Ho Tep so im hoping that an allout final big boy finale for the Evil Dead series will follow.
As much as I would like see Freddy vs Jason vs Ash that will not count no matter how good it may turn out to be as the big finale im craving to see.
on August 3, 2011
description is wrong. it is not the director's cut with 15 more minutes. it is the exact same blu-ray as the Screw-Heah Edition that already exist. do not buy
When we last saw Ash Williams, he had been sucked through a time vortex and ended up in the 14th century... where he STILL had to contend with undead horrors. No, not going to give context.
"Army of Darkness" pretty much picks up from there, finishing up the legendary trilogy that Sam Raimi started with "The Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn." This time around, Sam Raimi dials down the horror once again, while dialing up massive quantities of skeletal comedy -- while there's the odd gross-out moment (eyeball in the shoulder!), most of the story is devoted to the increasingly manic Bruce Campbell struggling to defeat an undead horde of skeletons with only his trusty boomstick and chainsaw.
Having appeared in the 14th century, Ash (Campbell) is immediately captured by the arrogant Lord Arthur (Marcus Gilbert), who mistakes him for one of Duke Henry's (Richard Grove) men. He tries to explain that he's not, but ends up tossed into an execution pit filled with iron spikes and demonic Deadites -- and only the timely intervention of the Wise Man (Ian Abercrombie) allows Ash to reclaim his chainsaw and "boomstick," kill the Deadites, and establish that he is a prophesied savior come to free them from the Deadite scourge.
But of course, the entire universe hates Ash. So when he's sent on an incredibly simple quest to reclaim and de-power the Necronomicon, Ash immediately encounters bizarre Deadite attacks that are specifically designed to torment him -- including the formation of an evil doppelganger from his own body, Evil Ash. And when he manages to botch the whole thing, the Deadites prepare to storm the castle and take everything over. Life is hard when you're Ash.
Considering that the series started with a serious attempt at horror, it's a little odd that "Army of Darkness" mostly drops the horror. Of course, there's still some gloriously gross moments (the emergence of Evil Ash, and his decaying face a few scenes later), but most of the movie is played for laughs (including a long sequence where Ash is assaulted by a small army of Lilliputian doppelgangers, who jab him in the butt with a fork and tie him to the floor). Even the grosser moments are played for laughs ("Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the gun").
And that's what makes this whole movie so gloriously entertaining -- it's gross, nasty and violent, but it's presented with the gleeful joy that comes with a cavalcade of one-liners and memetastic moments ("All right, you primitive screwheads, listen up... this... is my BOOMSTICK!"). Nothing is presented very seriously, because... well, how can you take this seriously? It's about a college student/S-Mart employee who gets blasted back in time to fight demonic zombies in a medieval setting. The cheese is thick and gloriously unserious, climaxing as Ash careens through the titular army in a massive armored steampunk-car/tank that easily hacks them apart.
And despite the much larger cast and more extensive sets and special effects required, somehow Raimi maintains that rough, low-budget feel -- the stop-motion, tiny Ashes, and especially the battle sequences that are clearly against inanimate Halloween skeletons. It still feels like a cheesy low-budget movie that does NOT care
Bruce Campbell is at the absolute height of his Campbellitude here -- he gives a delightfully hammy performance as a gun-toting, one-liner-spouting Ash. He plays the kind of guy that every guy likes to think he'd be in such a crisis, uttering don't-give-a-dang one-liners, shooting monsters and smooching a wench with extremely good teeth with great relish. And he gives an equally quotable ("Little goody two-shoes!") performance as the Evil Ash, who is just as snarky but... well, his face is rotting off. The supporting actors give good performances, especially Abercrombie as the wise man that nobody ever seems to actually listen to, but this is clearly the Campbell show here.
It may have effectively left horror behind, but "Army of Darkness" instead embraces a gloriously gross brand of comedy, with knights, skeletons, bagpipes and one S-Mart employee with a boomstick and a robot hand. It's hard to find a movie more resolutely fun than this.
Being the final installment to the Evil Dead series, this movie stands up to its precedent stories, although the treatment is different here. Indeed, Raimi, known for his genre-mixing movies, has opted for a comedic and adventurous story in Army of Darkness, as we find Ash fighting his way across hordes of demonic entities while trying to find his way back to the twentieth century.
Although I was surprised to see that the story wasn't set in the Middle-East like in the original ending of Evil Dead 2, but in England instead, the plot really kept me into my seat. Even better, it foreshadowed what Robert Tapert and Sam Raimi would do on Xena and Hercules, mixing dramatic action scenes with comedic situations, and an excellent soundtrack from Joseph LoDuca. If there were times when I felt the comedy was more evident in this movie, there are still some scary situations to endure, like when the Dead spirits, through Sam Raimi's camera, harass Ash and force him to hide in a windmill.
If I had one criticism to the story, it is that the Sheila character was a bit too stereotypical in the damsel-in-distress way that she and Ash interacted. Not only that, I felt their romance was a bit forced upon us and I don't think it would have hurt the story if there hadn't been any romance for us to see.
Technically, the fights and special effects were well done and more impressive. They also included a great use of the stop-motion animation, most notably with the Deadmites army. But my favorite effects were the mini-versions of Ash who torture him in the windmill. Their actions towards Ash were funny and add to Bruce's talent as a comedy actor.
Again on the technical aspect, although there are some shots in the movie that are still grainy and dirty (like a view of the castle at night, or during the fight with the "She-bitch" (says Ash!)), this movie's High Definition is amazing. Indeed, the image is so clear that you can even see the sweat and the pores on the actors' faces. And even though you can see the dirt on the camera for one shot, this Blu-Ray's images make it worth buying this movie. Especially when the excellent Dolby sound effect makes this movie experience great to listen to.
As for the bonuses, I was glad to see the first ending that they wanted to use, and I'm happy that they reshot it and gave the official, and better, finale because it worked better in the comedic tone of this movie, unlike Evil Dead 2 which had a more dramatic tension than Army of Darkness.
In the end, this movie is a treat for those who are ready to kick back from the week's work, and enjoy a good adventure. One that, once again, foreshadows what would be done on Xena and Hercules.
Army of Darkness(released in Oct/92)finds our hero Ash back,played by Bruce don't-call-me-Ash Campbell.It's his film all the way through,as he chews the scenery up,right,left and centre stage.The co stars are really just incidental to the proceedings.
This film finds us about where the last left off.A passage read in the Necronomicon in the last film mentioned a man from the sky that would arrive in 1300 A.D. to help the people fend off the deadites.Well,Ash is THE man of legend,much to his chagrin.He takes care of the initial deadite onslaught and goes into the castle grounds.There he is forced to take care of a deadite down a large well.After this he finds that in order for the wizard to send him back to his own time,he must obtain the Necronomicon from a local cemetery.The wizard gives him the words to speak to get the book safely away:Klaatu,Barada,Nickto(words every film fan worth their salt knows as the self same ones Patricia Neal had to speak to Klaatu in the 1951 film,The Day the Earth Stood Still....and Ash obviously hadn't seen it!).
He arrives at the cemetery,after a brief encounter with deadites in a windmill,only to find not one but three Books of the Dead.He opens the first and gets sucked into it.After he gets out the second bites him and continually flies at him until he is able to subdue it.Of course the last one would be the real one.He starts to chant the sacred words:Klaatu,Barada...Necktie... Neckturn... Nickel... It's an "N" word, it's definitely an "N" word!...".In final desperation he says the first two and substitutes a drawn out cough for the last one.He looks around,nothing seemingly happens,but as he starts to return to his horse skeletal hands begin to rise up through the ground and trip him and try to grab the book.He gets away and returns to the castle.
He tells everyone that everything is alright,he has the book and now it's time he got returned to his own time.By now the people have thought he would stick around to fight the deadites and they are very disappointed.In the meantime the deadites have risen up from their graves and are marching on the castle.When a girl who had become infatuated with Ash is possessed by the deadites,he vows to stay and fight.It is a pitched battle but in the end good wins the day over evil and Ash is finally returned to his own time.
In the finale we find Ash back at work as he is explaining his exploits to some disbelieving fellow employees.Suddenly a deadite appears and Ash is forced to take action,as he grabs his weapon of choice,a boomstick(a shotgun to you Evil Dead noobs),and blasts the thing back to where it came.The film ends as Ash has a lovely lass bent over,ready for a kiss,as he utters the immortal words"Hail to the King,baby".
So ends the Evil Dead trilogy that really made a star out of Bruce Campbell;and rightfully so.Campbell has got to be the hardest B picture character actor in the business,along with being a very prudent and smart business man.He has written books,along with his movie work and has also directed.A man of many talents our Bruce is,and it shows that you don't have to be a Hollywood suck up to make it in films.We need more Campbells out there.
Technically speaking the print here is beautiful and is shown in its original a/r of 1:85:1.Extras include a featurette on the S/Fx and the alternate ending to the film.
All in all a recommended picture.This is the last of the Evil Dead series and shows Bruce Campbell off in his element as Ash.It is not GREAT film per se',but just a fun,fun romp in the horror genre that will have you laughing as much as jumping scared.
on March 19, 2004
Proving you can't keep a good deadite slayer down, Army of Darkness marks the return of Ash in the third film of the highly popular Evil Dead trilogy. Ash (Bruce Campbell) is no longer confined to the isolated cabin in the woods, now that he's been transported to the 14th century (don't ask), apparently somewhere in England. He's seen as an enemy by the local Lord Arthur, but quickly becomes hero and savior to the people when he kills a couple of deadites. Consequently, and in order to return to his time, he's sent on a quest to retrieve the Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead. What should be a simple task results in the creation of the army of darkness, which Ash must battle to keep evil from spreading throughout the land.
Army of Darkness' plot is pure nonsense, sort of a mix of Monty Python and just about every fantasy movie you may have seen. The entire movie's success is based on humor, and it delivers with consistent comic ingenuity. All traces of horror its predecessors had is all but gone here, those expecting to experience terror with their mirth will be sorely disappointed. Army of Darkness is a silly comedy from beginning to end, and it revels in its silliness.
Easily the movie's anchor and probably the only reason I couldn't stop giggling for all 81 minutes is cult fave and comic genius Bruce Campbell. Roles of this kind are perfectly suited for him, and he doesn't disappoint. Whether it's his sharp one-liners, priceless facial reactions, or general good-nature about making a complete fool of himself, Campbell is hilarious as Ash. This is undoubtedly my favorite performance of his, period.
Director Sam Raimi shows off his usual kinetic style, delivering plenty of zooms and swirling camera movements. Most of the action sequences (and there are a LOT of them) are played equally for laughs and thrills, but probably succeed at the former slightly more successfully than the latter. The only movie I can think of that managed to keep its action completely thrilling while consistently mingled with silly physical humor is Stephen Sommers' The Mummy (which obviously gained inspiration from this movie)(Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade also accomplished the task, but boasted better and less silly physical gags).
As much as I enjoyed Army of Darkness, it's not as if though the movie couldn't have been improved. Some jokes fall flat and the concept of Ash fighting his evil twin hardly lives up to its full potential. While the intentionally cheesy and fun special effects and make-up effects are perfectly suited for the film, I would have preferred more sets. Most of the movie is based around one castle (albeit a very large one), without even a small village surrounding it; kind of gives off that low-budget vibe (though it's easily the most expensive of the Evil Dead series).
The director's cut attaches another fifteen minutes to the movie, most of which neither hampers the movie nor enhances its enjoyment. In fact, I would have welcomed this 96-minute cut if not for the alternate ending, which may be more in tone with the trilogy, but doesn't measure up to the hilarious S-Mart finale of the theatrical cut. As far as comparison with its predecessors, it's different enough in tone to not warrant any comparisons, but what the hell, I'll give one, anyway. Army of Darkness is more consistently enjoyable than Evil Dead 2 (which wasn't scary and only sporadically funny), but not up to par with the original The Evil Dead (which remains one of the most frightening films I've ever seen).
on September 11, 2003
Army of Darkness is easily one of my favorite movies. It's one of those rich, cult classics that whenever you meet a fellow fan, you develop an instant kinship. Why? It's the kind of movie that only a specific kind of horror/cult fan enjoys. It's campy. It's silly. And to be quite honest, it's a heck of a lot of fun.
In case you live under a rock, Army of Darkness is part 3 of Sam Raimi's zany Evil Dead trilogy. The first film was straight horror. Evil Dead 2 was a kind of horror-comedy. Army is a straight comedy. The transition from the first film to the third is fun ride to behold. If you watch them in a row, you can't help but wonder how such a transformation takes place. Raimi becomes more and more comfortable injecting his special kind of "Three Stooges" humor into each film. It's a treat to watch Raimi's growth from the low-budget independent director of this series to his mainstream success in Spider-Man.
Picking up at the end of Evil Dead 2, Ash has been tranported back in time to the Medieval Ages. His only hope for getting home is to find the Book of the Dead, protect the world from the legions of the Deadites, and remember the incantation to keep the book from destroying the world. Knowing Ash, this is easier said than done.
You can't take this kind of film seriously, and if you do, you're not going to enjoy it. Don't look for logic, don't look for flaws; just relax, laugh, and enjoy yourself. Allow Raimi's visual talent and humor to work its magic.
Sample lines: "You found me beautiful once," says Ash's possessed girlfriend. Ash replies, "Honey... you got REAL ugly."
Bruce Campbell pulls his tour de force as Ash. Ash has cycled from full-fledged coward to a inspiring hero who dispatches Deadites with a manic glee. Many of his one-liners in this film have become classic and were used in the "Doom" games.
The Boomstick Edition includes both the director's cut of the film and the shorter theatrical cut, making this edition the definitive Army of Darkness edition to own. This is one you have been waiting for folks. Then again, who knows what the NEXT edition for Army will have on it. Seems like they put a new one out every 6 months.
The DVD extras are plentiful. The Raimi/Campbell commentary is as good as ever. Sound is great; ditto picture. This leaves us with only one question: "Hey, what's that on your face?"
on September 6, 2003
Among the reviews you'll see here is one for the Official Bootleg Edition of this film by me. I was happy with the movie, no doubt, but my edition of the DVD wasn't satisfying when I discovered this edition.
As of yet, "Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness Boomstick Edition" is THE definitive DVD version of "Army of Darkness." While Anchor Bay may very well release another (there are 5 other editions already, this one compiling everything from all of them,) I can't see what else they would add to it.
The Boomstick Edition contains the Theatrical Release on one disc and the Director's Cut on the other. Each has their own endings, and dispersed between them are various pieces of information, documentaries, and even commentaries on the Deleted Scenes. The Director's Cut version of the movie still has scenes that look shabby, like in the Bootleg Edition, but it's nice to have extra stuff, as well as the option to see different versions and scenes in various ways.
The movie itself is as funny and enjoyable as it ever was, parodying horror and itself. Some of the comedy is a little slapstick, but it's easy to see where certain homages lie, as well as intentionally over-dramatic scenes that don't play out in any other way than entertainment and hilarity.
Ash, housewares clerk at S-mart and hero of the Evil Dead series, has been transported to the 1400s. AFter being captured, then being freed with the aid of a wiseman who gives him back his chainsaw, he is sent on a quest to retrieve the Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead that started all his problems back in the first Evil Dead movie. After a few mishaps (and a very enjoyable 1st person creature attack that goes on far too long) he retrieves the book wrong, causing the dead to rise, including Evil Ash, whom he had just buried after a brawl. Ash must bring his 20th century know-how to the mideval knights in order to defeat the Army of Darkness and get home.
If you ever intend to own an edition of "Army of Darkness," this is it. This is the best edition of the movie you will be able to find as long as Anchor Bay doesn't release a 7th edition (but who knows.) Until then, hail to the king, baby: The Boomstick Edition.
on July 31, 2003
This is the third and (so far) final entry in the "Evil Dead" series directed by Sam Raimi. There seems to be a definite progression from one entry to the next: the first one is more or less a "serious" horror film, the second one is more of a horror-comedy, and "Army" pretty much abandons any pretense of being scary in favor of cheesy humor and campy action-adventure antics. That said, this is a very entertaining movie if you have a taste for the weird. Bruce Campbell is very effective as Ash, the average guy who spends half the movie being a braggart coward and the other half being a hero. It's this wacky character who really brings the movie to life, although this also means that the second half (where the character is submerged under numerous battle scenes) is rather inferior to the first. All the same, "Army" is a unique and enjoyable experience. There have been several DVDs of this movie and the "Boomstick Edition" is the biggest package. It features the U.S. theatrical cut on disc one, with the "director's cut" (which is longer and has a different ending) on disc two, along with the requisite commentaries, a special-effects featurette, and more. Now, if only Raimi and Campbell can put together a fourth episode...