ARMY OFMOVIE REVIEW
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JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
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A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
All right! Listen up you primitive screwheads!
Universal Pictures, so proud of their hoary old monster line-up, had an odd reason for letting this one go back to Producer Dino De Laurentiis. It wasn't making any money, so Dino bought it back. Pretty stupid move and that's not a slam against Dino, mind you, but against Universal Pictures. They never figured out a way to sell ARMY OF DARKNESS in the home video market.
Well, Universal's short-sighted loss is Dino's - and Anchor Bay Entertainment's - gain. Because ARMY OF DARKNESS is selling computer games, comic books, and various collectable dolls. Moreover, like all the THE EVIL DEAD movies, it's been released several times over in DVD, often as a consecutive release: just choose your favorite cover art and go. Or maybe buy every cover copy for the completist in you. And here's something else to consider: Though the film doesn't belong to the Raimi brothers or Campbell, they've appeared on every one of the various THE EVIL DEAD DVD versions to relate this or that anecdote for the DVD Special Features section and thus, pick up another check. If Bruce Campbell's autobiography is to be believed, Director Sam Raimi and his brother /co-writer Ivan, are certainly mercenary enough to pull such a scam and would have no hesitation that they were foisting this plot on their most loyal of fans.
Possible, possible, but since this version calls itself the "Director's Cut" and an "Official Bootleg Edition" (the audacity!) to boot, we'll consider this one the final word on ARMY OF DARKNESS. Especially since I'm tired of holding off on getting this disk, waiting for the special "Coffin Case" ARMY OF DARKNESS promised back in 2000, that never came to be.
The thing is, this is not the ONLY Director's cut. There are at least two.
Now as we all know (the more rational among us at any rate) "Director Cuts" are often piles of unforgivable crap and one has but to watch such a beast to realize why the Hollywood money men, who have final commercial say, keep their jobs. Just watch the mediocre "Director's Cut" of BLADE RUNNER or ALIENS: Special Edition. Can I have the standard issue edition back please? All you have to do is watch a Ridley Scott film when he's free of the boardroom's directive to know that he's a ploddingly dull director. I'm thinking LEGENDS and HANNIBAL most specifically. 90 percent of HANNIBAL was a boring, overlong, unkempt mess and then on DVD they release a "Director's Cut" with additional footage???
Just remember friends, we watch the crap so you don't have to.
Now then: ARMY OF DARKNESS, the D.C., starts with expositional voice over, so the whole flick is off to a ruinous start.
Yet this IS ARMY OF DARKNESS, the film that launched the stunning career of Sam Raimi (DARKMAN, SPIDER-MAN), the indifferent career of Bruce Campbell, and enough crazy comedy lines to make a wild success out of Duke Nukem 3D. The character of Ash exudes machismo and elan and has the kind of snappy comebacks that James Bond could only dream of. One of the hardest boiled mugs to ever appear on the screen and he's one-handed yet!
Ash is but a S-Mart employee who is captured by the Evil Dead aka The Deadites. They kill his girlfriend, possess one of his limbs (forcing him to saw it off), send him back in time and the next thing you know, all kinds of Merry Mishaps are occurring. This all happens in the first 3 minutes gang: I spoil nothing!
This Director's Cut (ugh! I hate to even write the filthy phrase), adds an additional 15 minutes to the film, making it 91 minutes long. After all this time, ARMY OF DARKNESS is finally a feature length film (IMHO, no movie is feature length unless it's at least 90 minutes long. What the hell am I paying my good money for anyway? A music video?)
At least with this longer version, we finally get to see actress Embeth's Davidtz (MUTATOR, FALLEN, TH13TEEN GHOSTS, THE HOLE) lovely naked breasts!
HA! In your dreams!
Bruce Campbell calls this ARMY OF DARKNESS the "Real" film, complete with original ending. You would think that with a Director's Cut, we would see Davidtz naked breasts - but no! Sheesh! What the hell am I paying my good money for anyway?
For those women in the audience out there who may be offended by my desire to see more nudity in one of my favorite all time movies, SHUT UP! I don't EVER hear yall complaining when Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, or Mel Gibson show their young naked butt on screen! In fact, you often cheer like screaming banshees (I don't know if Denzel Washington has ever shown his naked butt on screen, and I don't wanna know). And I've had to sit through those kind of movies many times but never once got to see Embeth Davidtz naked breasts!
Maybe they'll have more nudity on the special "Casket Case" DVD (Ha! Yeah, sure they will).
Anyway, all the fun of the original movie is here as well as some additional stuff
that you'll barely notice (except for the appalling
lack of nudity. One brief PG nearly bare breast scene in passing? What
am I paying for anyway? In the first, more ballsy THE EVIL DEAD movie, an
actress gets raped by a tree! It was too ridiculous to be offensive!).
Did I say "All the fun"? Well, okay, not really. Some of my
favorite Ash lines don't make the D.C. Most notably the
The Duke of Red aka Mr. Fancypants (Richard Grove: SCANNER COP) is here, but if his part was extended, I didn't notice. Though the character showed a lot of strong promise in a few early scenes, nothing is ever really done with him. Truly a missed opportunity, as the clash between the Duke and Ash is one of the more memorable moments.
"Well, hello-o-o Mister Fancypants! Let me tell you something, pal: The only thing you're leading around here is Jack and Shit. And Jack just left."
DVD extras include voice over commentary by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell (thanks guys, here's your check), production stills, and a few extra scenes that remain deleted.
As with most Director's Cuts there are a few seconds worth of footage I'm glad to see, but overall the additional 15 minutes are more bloat than bite. Also, it has a whole new ending which you may or may not like. I didn't like it, but maybe I'm just an old stick in the mud.
So minus 2 Shriek Girls, leaving 3.
And I'm still waiting for that "Coffin Case" DVD edition you bastards!
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