Warlock: The Armageddon (Anthony Hickox) 1993

So for Halloween I am doing a horror marathon and I wanted to complete the Warlock series.  I saw the whole series including the first which I already reviewed because I wanted to refresh myself on the story and see if anything has changed.  Maybe time has made me appreciate it more or maybe I am retroactively appreciating it more due to how low the series eventually goes but I liked the original Warlock a lot more.  Now I said I liked it but I found the switches in tone (from comic to horror) rather jarring.  Really it is not that bad seeing it again.  This is a film by its very premise is rather ridiculous: a Scottish highlander travels through time to 1989 to battle an evil warlock.  The movie never takes itself too seriously and you honestly appreciate that.  The horror elements work to add that tension to drive the action along, but mostly we are having a good time following this odd couple on their adventure.  Its kind of that same blend which makes Gremlins work.

Going into the second movie I had a real bad feeling as to how it would turn out.  As I said, much of my enjoyment was with the Redferne story line and how that comedic plot line elevated this above a bland horror movie.  David Twohy returns to write part of the screenplay, however sequels usually do not do as well as the original and I had a bad feeling a lot of the charm would be lost in Armageddon.  I had no idea how right I actually would be.

Warlock: The Armageddon doesn’t mention anything that happened in the previous movie and instead almost reboots the story before people had a name for it.  Now the Warlock (Julian Sands) is not just some warlock in a world of magic looking to seek favor with Satan, but now he is The Warlock who is Satan’s son destined to do his bidding.  Every 600 years or so the Warlock is born during a lunar eclipse and he has around six days to collect six magic rune stones so he can use them to summon Satan to Earth during a solar eclipse.  Young Kenny (Chris Young) finds out from his father that is destined to be a mystical Druidic warrior with magical powers and that he is the only one that can kill The Warlock (again, despite what we learn in the previous movie).  Kenny must learn to control the Force and become a Jedi Knight in six days in order to kill the Sith Warlock blah blah blah.

Warlock: The Armageddon is one of the most boring movies I’ve seen lately.  Like I said before, I don’t just use the B word without justification and I will happily explain why.  It is because nearly half of this movie is entirely pointless and doesn’t need to be in the movie.  Okay, so the plot is Warlock has to track down these six rune stones which means travelling all across America to get them.  You may think this would prompt our protagonist into also tracking down the stones to either pursue the Warlock to kill him or to get the stones first in order to prevent the summoning.  Wrong.  Kenny and his father have one rune stone and their plan is to hold onto it, train Kenny’s powers in order to fight the Warlock, and when the Warlock comes to town to collect the stone, Kenny will fight him.  That’s fine, but the writers needed to realize that there is no point in following the Warlock on his stone quest because there is no tension, suspense, or interest in any of it.  We know that the Warlock cannot be killed or even harmed by ordinary humans.  We are all confident that he is going to show up in town like clockwork on the sixth day in order to fight Kenny.  Yet for half the movie we are following the Warlock as he kills anonymous asshole after anonymous asshole for the stones.  I don’t care!  All of the stone holders are unknown jerks so we don’t care that they are being killed and like I said before, there is no tension at all because we know nothing can stop him until he gets to our protagonist.  This movie should have just been about Kenny training his powers and occasionally cutting to the Warlock to remind the audience of the impending dread that is coming.  There is a difference between occasionally cutting to the Warlock, and spending half the movie with him.

I say that, but Kenny’s plot line is just as uninteresting as anything else in this movie.  We aren’t told the rules of this universe or what Kenny’s powers specifically are so we have no idea what Kenny has to do to train to prepare himself for the final fight.  I joked about him being a Jedi, but that is basically what he is.  We see him sitting around floating baseballs with absolutely horrible visual effects.  I don’t know how floating baseballs helps him out but that is the go to effect for the majority of this movie.  Kenny is not even an interesting character.  He is a blank slate with no personality in a town of blank slates.  Kenny has a relationship with his father who is also not interesting and their relationship is not put to the test.  There is also a romantic subplot which is also boring because they are already in love at the beginning of the film.  The thematic arc of this movie is as straight as a level.  The dialog isn’t interesting and the movie takes itself too seriously as I feared.

I know the original Warlock could have been picked apart with plot inconsistencies and holes, but you forgave it because of its sense of humor.  When you get rid of it, you are left to stew about all the bullshit of this movie.  For example, they imply that the Warlock can’t simply kill the owners to get the stones.  He has to make bargains with them to get the stones willingly.  Of course, these are all Faustian deals which means they all end badly.  Okay, that is at least somewhat interesting.  So you would expect the Warlock to try to make some deal with Kenny for the stone right?  No, he just tries to kill him.  So what the hell is it?  If you can just kill them, then why waste time and dick around with the others when you could just punch their face off and take the stone?  Why is Kenny the only one that can kill the Warlock?  In the previous movie the Warlock was powerful, but there were ways he could be hunted and two humans ended up killing him.

Warlock: The Armageddon is a dreadful sequel.  It doesn’t advance the story in any way from the original, the humor is removed leaving you with a blandly written horror/adventure film, and most of the movie is pointless as it is spinning its wheels until we get to the climax.  There characters are dull, the dialog is uninteresting, and there is nothing in the training or the characters that we find compelling enough to go along with.  I almost feel bad for admitting there were a few good effects shots and one halfway decent joke because that would imply there is SOME reason to watch this movie.  There isn’t.  There is no reason at all to recommend this movie to anyone; not even to the most die hard Warlock lover.  And the worst isn’t even over because there is another sequel to this franchise.


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