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Thursday, February 25, 1993
Army of Darkness splashes
across the big screen
Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil.
by Rick Kastan
The Dark Ages. Plague and
poverty rule the days. Even
worse, darkness rules the night.
An army of darkness, leagues of
the newly risen undead (Deadites)
out to destroy the living and take
over the world. But as certain
doom approaches, a leader from
another time and place suddenly
materializes with a magic all his
His name is Ash. His
Excalibur: an unreliable chainsaw
strapped to his arm where his
hand used to be; his lance, an
aging 12-gauge shotgun; his
steed, a 1973 Delta 88
Oldsmobile badly in need of a
tune-up; his sanity, nonexistent.
Hence comes the long awaited,
much delayed third entry in
director Sam Raimi's series of
Evil Dead films; and if you are a
fan of either of Raimi's previous
dead films like me, then you
shouldn't be at all disappointed
with Army of Darkness.
The original Evil Dead came
out in 1983, at the tail-end of the
unrated gore-horror trend of the
early 80's. It was fast, funny,
cheap, gory, indescribably scary,
and featured a unique visual style
unrivaled in films of those days.
The Evil Dead fast became a cult
Five years later, Raimi and
Untamed Heart stretches credibility
to the breaking point
by Eric Kesseiring
Let me admit that I have a
certain bias when reviewing
Untamed Heart, the new
Christian Slater movie. My
opinions are slanted horribly
because I do not worship Slater.
When his name appears in the
pre-credits I am not overcome
by a sudden urge to go "Woo!"
Call it a guy thing. Please
don't report me to the Christian
Slater fan club.
I must also admit that I do
expect a lot from Slater. His
powerful charisma helped make
Heathers a dark masterpiece and
Pump Up the Volume a
thrilling reality. Then again
there was that nasty !Cuffs
incident. In any case I was
hoping Untamed Heart would be
both endearing and romantic.
I am still trying to figure out
what went wrong. The basic
concept /is a bit silly but
Caroline (Marisa Tomei) is a
waitress in a Minneapolis diner.
She appears to be outgoing,
ambitious and street-smart. She
company returned to the horror calculations, should NOT have very hip, very fast paced, very
genre with Evil Dead 2: Dead by worked but did; a sequel of the funny satire of both sword-and-
Dawn. It was half-remake, half- same merit as the original, yet sorcery flicks and action heroes.
sequel and all different. Ash for different reasons. Ash is back, way back.
(Bruce Campbell), the dim-witted Now comes Army of Darkness Sucked back into the Middle
first film, was back to fight the
undead, but this time Raimi
opted for a more comic, less
horrific tone for the film. The
result, a completely original and
hilarious tour de force that, by all
chats with her customers and is
constantly gabbing with her co
worker and best friend Cindy
(Rosie Perez). But her air of
confidence is only a front.
Slater plays Adam, a silent
busboy in the diner for which
Caroline waits tables. Caroline
is the typical movie young
woman. Her romantic life is
active but unrewarding because
of the horrible men who do riot
appreciate her. Adam is an
orphan with a heart condition.
His traumatic life has left him
introverted, virtuously naive,
and sort of messed-up.
When Caroline is assaulted on
her way home from work, Adam
beats off her assailants and
carries her to her home.
Unavoidably she falls in love.
Adam was already in love. He
has been following Caroline
home every night. Their rising
romance makes for enjoyable
viewing. Adam is the sweetest
thing since gumdrops. Slater's
role is essentially part man, part
child, and pan wounded puppy.
Untamed Heart is undeniably
romantic. Adam brings a live
Christmas tree into Caroline's
effectively kept the moniker Evil
Dead /// away from it to not limit
it's appeal to just the ED cult),
and while it is not quite up to par
with the other entries in the
series, it stands up by itself as a
room while she sleeps. On
Adam's birthday he gives
Caroline a present. The beauty
of innocence does grab at the
viewer. I am not convinced that
Untamed Heart reaches far
The other night my roommate
was writing a paper refuting the
idea that chivalry is dead. He
had an easy time observing
chivalrous activities. The
problem was if the spirit behind
chivalry still means something.
The problem with Untamed
Heart is if the romance actually
The movie definitely contains
romantic actions, but lacks the
feeling needed for true romance.
To really enjoy a good romance,
you have to fall in love
yourself. It is tough to fall in
love in less than two hours if
you are distracted. Between
Caroline's inability to be even
slightly independent and her
incessant giggling, I felt the girl
was a dip. Adam is Similar to Untamed Heart has some Untamed Heart tries to get an
Slater's shy role in Puinp Up merits, but it tries too hard. If emotional response by doing
the Volume, but lacks the angry the plotline were toned down, traditionally emotional things.
soul that made the character a the movie would be far more There is more to love than wine
person. believable. You sense that and roses.
he is beat-up, out of place,
pissed-off and quite insane. For
the citizens of these midieval
times, Ash represents the only
hope to destroy the Deadites - and
neither the villagers nor our hero
Low on gas.
is too happy about it. But for
him to return to his own time, he
must first help the villagers by
obtaining the fabled Book of the
Dead and destroying the evil.
The movie moves at a
breakneck pace (sometimes so
fast it's hard to understand what
exactly is going on), and is full
of spectacular special effects, tired
macho one-liners (courtesy of the
insane Ash) and Three Stooges
One moment, Ash is being
attacked by hordes of little Ashes,
then he's splitting in two
(creating a good-Ash and a bad-
Ash), and next he's being
stretched by wind tunnels and
eye-poked by skeletons. The
action is non-stop and the special
effects (while not terribly gory)
Campbell is still very good in
the role he created, and is
successful in bringing the
slapstick humor of the second
film to a boiling point here.
Is Army of Darkness a good
movie? No. There is no
characterization and no real point
in the film. Is it a good time?
Definitely. The action is fast and
funny, the monsters scary, and
there's not a lot of plot to get in
the way of the violence.
All in all, Army of Darkness is
a very good time (although a bit
too short at only 77 minutes),
and well worth the money.