I said earlier that the original "Wizards of the Lost Kingdom" was one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life, even worse than most of the many other wretched fantasy movies I've seen. What a fool I was. "Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II" is even worse. Arguably, it's the worst movie I've seen. Not even those pathetic Academy fantasies, "Time Barbarians" and "Eyes of the Serpent" can match up. Fortunately, this sequel is also a little more funny-bad than the original was, but even so, the primary reaction is one of astonished disbelief rather than outright hilarity. I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing, and I regret that there is much I couldn't possibly relate in print. Early on, for example, a vision of a dead guy appears in a cauldron (the guy it appears to calls it a "bucket" but no matter), and the dead guy commands him to go on a quest. One shot during this scene has the camera pointing at the live guy with the cauldron in the foreground -- such that you can't see the vision of the dead guy. And for a moment, a perfectly normal looking human hand pokes out of the cauldron and points. The movie treats this as such a natural thing, and it looks so outright bizarre, that it's impossible for me to convey the sheer strangeness of this shot. It's just too weird.
In fact, time and again, scenes that seem to be making coherent internal sense suddenly degenerate into apparent randomness, and it's all I could do to keep my lower jaw from hitting the floor. Lines come out of the blue like, "Oh yes. That's a likely stone." And suddenly what appeared to be a reasonably sane bartender will dump a bowl of grain on someone's head while his wife, who had been entertaining, squats down on a table to, I don't know, tie her sandal or something. "WHAT??" is the word most often expressed while viewing this movie, I'm sure.
Anyway, here's the idea. An opening narration tells everyone about the land being in chaos and the Three Talismans Of Creation being scattered and owned by three evil wizards who rule evilly and all that, and he says that hope lies with this one old good wizard, Caedmon of Nog. At this point, Caedmon overhears the narrator calling his name, wonders who the heck it was, but doesn't see anybody. So the cauldron-hand vision appears to him, and he has to go find a kid named Tyor with a mark in his armpit. "And so," the narrator says, "Caedmon of Nog went forth across the Wilderness of Sin to find, to train, and to inspire the unknown, untried warrior hero called Tyor." So he goes to find the kid and rather than just remembering his face or asking his name, he has to trick the boy into letting him see his armpit.
Caedmon and Tyor go to find The Dark One, a famed warrior who happens to be working as a bartender (yes, the same one). The Dark One is played by David Carradine, reveller in bad movies. At one point he comments to Caedmon, "Your kid's a little high strung -- you know that don't you?" Caedmon nods in agreement. "He cares a lot about conquering evil."
Meanwhile, Tyor, whom I shall dub the Golly Gee Kid, gawks at Dark One's dancing/kneeling wife.
So they go to a random castle and rescue four random people, a muggy hero and three "Oh, Gaston!"-like women from a prison. Also chained up in the prison is a stupid monster costume. Even though he's chained up and can't do any harm, they still feel the need to beat the thing to proceed. Then another monster costume escapes and fights the other one, and the ensuing battle is so...inexplicable...like the hand out of the cauldron thing...that you just have to see it to believe it. The sounds they make are certainly ferocious enough (and annoying), and the sweeping, fast movements they make with their limbs certainly exhibit a high level of energy -- and yet, they don't look like they could possibly be engaged in a fight at all. There isn't even the hope that I could describe this and do it justice. Just see the movie.
At any rate, the monsters kill each other (during their fight they suddenly just keel over). Then, in yet another one of those inexplicable moments, the Tyor kid starts backing out of the room throwing extravagant kisses at the three "Oh Gaston" Girls. I've seldom seen anything that looked more foolish.
That night, Tyor dreams of a scene cut from "The Barbarian Queen," the one where Amalthea's village is burned to the ground. This is important, because shortly after he wakes, he'll meet up with Amalthea, the Barbarian Queen herself, played again by Lana Clarkson. Only this time Amalthea is the queen of her land or something. So they go to reclaim her land from one of the three Evil Wizards, and the rousing, exciting battle that follows was lifted right out of the end of "The Barbarian Queen." That's right. Not only was this movie's budget so low they couldn't stage their own fights, but they couldn't even buy better footage. If you're ripping off "The Barbarian Queen," it's an indicator so obvious it need not even appear on "The Filmmaker's Exam."
So while Amalthea is wreaking havoc in another movie, the Golly Gee Kid is entranced by an evil sorceress. He gets entranced a lot, it seems, and it's so silly because there doesn't appear to be any rules about how this entrancing magic works. Just when Tyor is about to succumb and give up the Magic Talisman Amulet of Magic, a voice comes out of nowhere and tells him to "reject her evil." So he does, and suddenly the kid is back in control of the situation. Huh? If "rejecting" evil were that easy, how'd these evil wizards ever get into power?
During his escape, some guards trap Tyor from all sides, but that's ok, because the guards in this movie don't fight back. Tyor whirls the sword around in perhaps the clumsiest sword handling I've ever seen; he kills two and dodges three, and he's out of there. Yes, this is another "too bizarre to explain" moment, but I'm doing the best I can. Cut to guards running around through the corridors; the camera pans up and we see Tyor hiding in a Hiding Niche above a doorway (what purpose this hole in the wall has other than for people to hide in, I don't know). Tyor gets down, but he leaves his sword up there and has to jump up a few times to retrieve it -- which begs the question -- how'd he get up there in the first place?
He meets up with the evil sorceress again and has the following truly inexplicable conversation: "If I take you with me," the kid says, "what do I get?" / "Anything." / "That's what I was afraid of." Then Tyor leaves the room. "Seduced and abandoned," the sorceress laments. What???
At this point, two of the three magic things are retrieved and the Barbarian Queen has her kingdom back. So Caedmon and Tyor go to the third kingdom, and on their way they meet up with the Dark One and his wife again. They bicker a little; his wife says, "My father always said you'd be nothing but a mercenary -- an unemployed dead one at that." Yes, it is truly sorrowful to be both unemployed AND dead.
They come upon the third kingdom ("I used to dance in that dungeon," the Dark One's wife says) which turns out to be the entire set from "The Warrior and the Sorceress," a bad David Carradine fantasy movie from 1984. Yes, you guessed correctly; as soon as they walk in, they splice in footage from "The Warrior and the Sorceress," namely the scene in which Carradine comes upon a well *brim* full of water and disposes of the ruffians holding the thirsty hordes at bay. After the fighting -- cheesy but a vast improvement over the new fight scenes filmed for "Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II" -- the hordes emerge from behind closed doors and charge for the well. And here is where the single funniest scene in the movie shows up. Apparently to help integrate the "Warrior and the Sorceress" footage into this movie, they dubbed in a line of dialogue: "We villagers thank you, Dark One!" It occurs at a point when one of the thirsty mob happens to have had his lips moving. But the sound editing is so cheesy -- it sounds just like it would if you did a voice-over with your home camcorder -- and the line isn't even *close* to matching up with the guy's lips.
Anyway, the Dark One enters the castle, and we cut to new footage in which guards that don't fight back are systematically disposed of. Then we cut to more "Warrior and the Sorceress" footage where Carradine disposes of a tentacle monster and rescues a woman (the sorceress from the title, but we never see her here, nor does she ever show up again -- this scene was just thrown in for the heck of it). Finally, Carradine comes upon a room where the others are held hostage by those guards that don't fight back.
And here is the funniest of the bizarre, inexplicable scenes that keep showing up here. I'll do my best to describe it, but you really have to see the movie to get the full impression. David Carradine enters the room and starts disposing of badguys, and his wife is cheered by the sight. She utters some words of encouragement and then, out of the blue, does a slow ballerina-like spin on one foot. Her other foot grazes a nearby guard, which knocks him down and takes him out. Then she goes back to cheering for her husband. The moment, like so many others in this movie, is so incongruous with what's going on that one can scarcely believe it actually happened. This movie makes "Deathstalker" look like the pinnacle of soundness and consistency. It's frightening, weird, and, after the astonishment wears off, funny.
Then some mention is made of the peasants gathering at the well outside, so David Carradine leaps out a window, and we cut to still more footage from "The Warrior and the Sorceress." This time it shows David Carradine taking out cowled villagers with his sword one by one. It made little sense enough in the original movie, but here it *really* makes no sense. Who's he fighting? The people he just rescued from thirst? Why are they fighting him? Even worse, the sequence has a few cuts to close-ups of a major character in "The Warrior and the Sorceress" but which have no bearing in this movie; hence, the shots make absolutely no sense...not that any of it does anyway.
Meanwhile, Tyor is being entranced again. His "entranced" acting is hilariously bad, and once again the rules are not quite clear. The evil wizards tempt him to give over the talismans he's already collected ("Do it -- unless you think you're too good to be evil," one says). After some meandering through inexplicable staging and dialogue, the kid snaps from his trance long enough to say, "No! You can't kill my father!" before slumping down unconscious again. What??? I missed something. But apparently these are the most powerful magic words ever, because they cause one of the evil wizards to spin around and have light bursts go into his mouth.
At the end, when Good has won over Evil, the worst part of the movie is still yet to come. Everybody just sits around chatting to each other and tries to decide who should be king. The dead vision hand cauldron guy comes back from the dead to help them decide. Carradine finally designates the Mugging Hero to be king and the Barbarian Queen to be queen -- as a result of the decision, the two decide they'd better start kissing and stuff, because if they are to be king and queen, they'd better be paired up. "See ya next quest," the Dark One says to Tyor in parting.
Cut to ANOTHER "ending wrapping it all up" scene. Someone says "Bon appetit." "What's 'bon appetit' mean?" Tyor asks. "Something the French will say," Caedmon says. "Who's the French?" the kid asks. "Only the dead vision hand cauldron guy knows," Caedmon answers. The camera pans down to something on the ground, and the dead vision hand cauldron guy speaks: "And I'm not telling!"
If this movie sounds bad, don't be fooled. It's worse. It's also a lot of fun for bad movie lovers. See it with a gang, so you can share your shocked disbelief with each other. It's fun but less fun watching it alone; either way it's more entertaining and more puzzling than the first "Wizards of the Lost Kingdom," which is no easy feat.
Response From RinkWorks:
I'd like to see these movies, but you've already covered them in such detail that there's no point now. :-) -- Dave. Dave, these movies are even harder to cover thoroughly than Sinbad of the Seven Seas is. In fact I was even thinking I'd like to see them again with you sometime just to see how you react. -- Sam.
Dave, these movies are even harder to cover thoroughly than Sinbad of the Seven Seas is. In fact I was even thinking I'd like to see them again with you sometime just to see how you react. -- Sam.