Deathstalker II (1987) – Film Review

deathstalker ii film review

Director: Jim Wynorski
Cast: John Terlesky, Monique Gabrielle, John La Zar
Certificate: 18

By Roger Crow

Shot a few years after the first Deathstalker, yet using the same Argentinian sets, around 100 miles from Buenos Aires, there are more sword fights, beautiful women not wearing much, and generic villains.

Deathstalker film review coverFollowing a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style opening, there’s the obligatory bar room brawl, which gives local wrestlers a chance to show off their skills. The tone is about as serious as an episode of The Simpsons and it’s all as credible as one of those US restaurants themed in a medieval style.


Director Jim Wynorski makes the most of the modest budget; wisely the same three bad guys have their mouths covered so dialogue can be dubbed. And yes, there is a load of re-used footage from the first movie.

John Terlesky is the eponymous hero this time round, while Monique Gabrielle plays the heroine.

There are horse-riding scenes at night with smoke and backlighting while a theme reminiscent of an eighties video game plays with incessant regularity.

The comic tone helps gloss over the gaping plot holes and papier mache sets. Oh, and there’s a scene in an actual wrestling ring with rope that looks like it was made circa 1975.

As fun as it all is, the law of diminishing returns is rather apparent. It feels more like a Zucker brothers spoof of Conan the Barbarian, but not as funny.

Again there’s a commentary from the creatives, who poke fun at their own movie. Years before Xena, this was engaging enough, but if you’ve never heard of it, that’s hardly surprising.

deathstalker ii film review movie


As it’s a Roger Corman production, there’s a nod to his classic take on The Pit and the Pendulum, as well as a tip of the hat to Goldfinger.

Naturally there’s a big end battle, a great final sword fight, and a solid turn from John La Zar as the villain, who gave an unforgettable turn in Russ Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls – a must-see for any fan of great cult cinema.

It’s mercifully short at 77 minutes, but given the tiny budget, it’s again far more enjoyable than an A-list car crash like Red Sonja, not least because of the closing credits blooper reel.

Special Features:
• Commentary with director James Sbardellati, special makeup effects artist John Carl Buechler, and actor Richard Brooker
• Theatrical trailer
• Photo gallery
• English subtitles

Deathstalker II Special Features:
• Commentary with director Jim Wynorski, and actors John Terlesky and Toni Naples
• Theatrical trailer
• English subtitles
Deathstalker & Deathstalker II are released on Blu-ray by 101 Films, £18

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