Pros:Lana Clarkson starring in another barbarian film!
Cons:Very, very sad fighting scenes. Quite a bit of poor acting as well.
The Bottom Line: Everything good about the first Barbarian Queen is in this sequel...Lana Clarkson. Fans of the first film rejoice!
Lana Clarkson in a Barbarian Queen sequel, who could ask for a better treat? Those of us fortunate to have seen her in Barbarian Queen pretty well know what is in store for us in the film.
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Barbarian Queen II: The Empress Strikes Back isn't really your typical sequel. Nobody from the first film has returned. Only Lana Clarkson is back, and her character is a totally different one. Still, she plays the same type of role.
Unlike the first film, Ms. Clarkson who plays Athalia (even though her character is listed as Amathea in the Internet Movie Database)is the empress of a city. When the king is 'allegedly' killed in battle an evil relative takes the crown. The only thing standing in his way and his utmost domination of his realm is Athalia. She holds the magic to release a sceptre that gives rulers a type of immortality.
This storyline obviously gives us plenty of chances to see Lana strapped up to a stretching rack much like the first film. Since the rack was the hit scene in the first Barbarian Queen they have given us a few more chances to see her bound and tortured topless for quite a bit more time in the film.
Obviously a semi-star vehicle for Ms. Clarkson, the rack scenes are not the only chances we get to see her in all her glory. Somehow the writers were able to fit in a mud wrestling scene, and a love scene. They were able to get a little of everything in for Lana and it never goes too overboard much like today's b-movie erotica genre.
The film is quite an amusing one really. Almost identical to Robin Hood, we have Athalia as our ex-royal hero that fights for the peasants of the land. We have a mute, huge woman who I like to refer to as Little John. We have rebels that sneak into the city in disguise to save innocent people from being hung. Almost every major detail of a good Robin Hood tale. It reminds me of a great collection of short stories by George Alec Effinger called Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson. In that series 'Muffy' is placed in all types of famous settings. Lovecraft's mythos, Burrough's Pellucidar stories, and even in Asimov's Nightfall world! Check it out if you actually liked the story and genre in between Lana's scenes.
Of course, the one key factor that makes this film good once again, is Lana Clarkson. UGH! Something about her is just so stunning it makes me speechless. Sure she apparently has no qualms against nudity, but that can't be the only thing can it? Hmm, perhaps.
Anyhow, back to the amusing parts of the film. Unlike the first movie that seemed to take itself semi-seriously, Barbarian Queen II subtly feels like a satire. The action scenes (mud-wrestling, sword-fights, bow and arrow shots) are totally ineffective. I've seen more realistic stuff in a Saturday Night Live skit. When there is a mass battle, the sound effects of the swords clashing together sound much like popcorn in a Jiffypop container, butter and all.
One thing this film does remind me of though is how lucky I am not to have any kids. Heck, this movie has almost given me a phobia about spoiled-brat, annoyingly evil children. I like kids as much as the next guy but check out the evil king's daughter. She certainly did her job portraying the spawn of Satan if that was her intention.
One day I hope to see this and the first Barbarian Queen perhaps on a combo DVD. What would be even sweeter would be commentary by Lana Clarkson herself! As it stands, the VHS quality is terribly lacking. It's taped cheaply on SLP (or EP) mode to have a lower retail price. Not a bad idea for this kind of low budget film, but for people who really like it, there should be a better option.
I don't recommend this film to anyone who didn't like the first film. People that should like this film already probably know who they are. It's not the classic the first one is, but it's as close as we'll ever get to seeing Lana Clarkson in a barbarian movie again (cross your fingers for an unlikely third part).
Update Sept 30, 2K2
I just received an autographed copy of Barbarian Queen from Lana Clarkson herself (available for order at www.lanaclarkson.com). They may be a tad more expensive to purchase than at Amazon or some such, but I highly recommend getting them from her site!
Update Feb. 2K3
Oh my God! It's all over the news...Lana Clarkson is dead! Shot to death in Phil Spector's home! Very sad. To anyone who knew Lana you have my condolences. She will definitely be missed by all of us cult film fans around the world. Goodbye, my Queen.
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