Army of Darkness (1993)
US (dir. Sam Raimi)
Cast: Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert
Synopsis: “Army of Darkness” is a story about a man who goes through a time warp and finds himself in England in the 1300s. With fighting going on all around him, he must locate the Book of the Dead in order to return to the present day.
Review: “Army of Darkness” is the movie that cemented Bruce Campbell’s “Ash” persona. Evolving from the atypical nice guy to the womanizing, one-liner dropping, badass is something that took a trilogy to master and perfect. It’s not my favourite installment in the “Evil Dead” trilogy, nor is it the scariest, but it certainly is funny and contains the most quoted, most memorable Bruce Campell/Ash quips/catchphrases/monologues/one-liners ever.
I didn’t really expect the “Evil Dead” trilogy to complete itself by having Ash sent back in time to the middle ages to find the necronomicon, kill an army of undead skeletons, and then go back to his own time, but I guess it was a break from the whole “cabin in the woods” setup. According to the ending of “Evil Dead 2”, Ash gets stuck in some sort of time warp that sucks things from one time into another (therefore explaining the reason Ash is stuck in the middle ages). This is the only time there is ever any consistency in the storyline between two “Evil Dead” movies (there is no consistency between “Evil Dead” and “Evil Dead 2”). Ash ends up in the middle ages and stays there for pretty much the whole movie. There’s a great scene in the beginning of the movie where Ash is thrown in a pit to fight a deadite, and then victoriously emerge from the pit in order to scold (to put it gently) the medieval villagers who threw him in. That pretty much is it for memorable scenes, until of course the finale where Ash rides a shopping cart while shooting off a shotgun at a deadite.
What makes the movie great is not the acting, the storyline, nor the art direction. It’s all about Bruce Campbell, his style, his image and his amusing (often misogynistic) quips. It has enough elements of horror to make it a horror movie, although the comedy might convince you otherwise. What it lacks in quality, it makes up for with Bruce Campbell… lots and lots of Bruce.