Film review: Warlock: The Armageddon

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 28 1993 12:00 a.m. MDT

Julian Sands, who plays a wimpy, sadistic doctor in "Boxing Helena," is decidedly more assertive in "Warlock: The Armageddon."

Oh, sure, he removes "Helena's" legs and arms — but it's done off camera. In reprising his role as Satan's son in this "Warlock" sequel, Sands gets to splatter the screen with gore as he rips the hair off a prostitute, turns a businessman into a piece of Picasso-style art, gives a fashion designer a high-in-the-sky view of her own show before dropping her through a skylight onto the runway . . . well, you get the picture.

The film begins with a sect of 17th-century Druids who use rune stones to prevent Satan's son from being born during an eclipse of the moon. If they fail, the warlock will raise the devil himself from the depths of the earth. They succeed but lose four of the six stones.

Over the next 300 years, the stones become scattered, except for the two held by the Druids. These are passed down to survivors of the sect, living in secret.

The plot, such as it is, goes into motion when another moon eclipse occurs and the warlock finds himself "reborn" in modern-day America. The birth scene is particularly unpleasant, by the way, as the adult warlock springs from a human female host, or "mother."

Meanwhile, in a small Northern California town, a pair of teens are about to discover their Druid heritage, that they are "warriors" destined to battle the warlock.

Along the way, they develop long-dormant telekinetic powers and learn how to communicate with trees.

This is all pretty silly, of course, but the campier elements are muted by the over-the-top gore. There are attempts at deliberate humor along the way, but the film is never as funny or ingratiating as the first "Warlock," which had the benefit of a better cast and some genuinely amusing ideas.

"Warlock: The Armageddon" also has a pair of supporting players who are ridiculously underused, two "name" actors — Zach Galligan ("Gremlins") and Joanna Pacula ("Gorky Park") — who are quickly dispatched as victims.

The special effects are pretty good, though it's hardly enough to save the picture.

The saving grace is Sands, who seems to be having fun as the epitome of evil, obviously aware that none of this should be taken seriously. And with all its plot holes, illogical story elements and hideous gore, it won't.

"Warlock: The Armageddon" is rated R for violence, gore, sex, nudity and profanity.

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