Army of Darkness (R)

Action/Adventure 81 February 19, 1993
By Rob Nelson
Albeit slightly better funded, this third chapter in director Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy is another whiplash display of bargain-basement technique, combining makeup, miniatures, stop-motion animation, and gallons of Karo syrup in a breathless manner that turns budgetary constraints into virtues. As before, plot isn't just secondary to the action: It scarcely matters at all. After a frantic recap of the first two films, Raimi literally drops the series' befuddled Ash (Bruce Campbell) into the barren wasteland of 1300 A.D., where, armed with a chainsaw, a double-barreled Remington, and his old beat-up Ford, our hero once again wages war against a nasty crew of pale-faced, bile-spewing undead. What follows is a nonstop orgy of cheesy one-liners and slapstick monster madness, driven by Raimi's fondness for gratuitous zooms, carriage-return whip pans, and herky-jerky handheld mayhem. The major innovation this time out is Raimi's army of sword-wielding skeletons, which march against Ash and his scruffy band of dimwitted knights in a stutter-step style straight out of Jason and the Argonauts. Surely, modern movie technology could have made these ghouls appear more fluid, but Raimi charmingly retains the Sixties-era imperfections to complete his loving homage to the campy Saturday matinee aesthetic. (Rob Nelson)
Sam Raimi Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert, Ian Abercrombie, Richard Grove, Timothy Patrick Quill, Michael Earl Reid, Bridget Fonda, Patricia Tallman, Ted Raimi Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi Robert G. Tapert Universal Pictures


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