Warlock 2: The Armageddon
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Two California teens fight a warlock for control of six Druid rune stones from the 17th century.
This follow-up to Warlock boasts more sophisticated visual effects, slicker production values, and bigger (and bloodier) action, but fans of the original's dry wit and tight story may be disappointed. It's really more a rehash than a sequel. The Devil is up to his old tricks again, sending his favorite son (the title character) on a mission to recover six runes--ancient stones that will allow His Satanic Majesty to escape Hell and once again walk the Earth. Leading the forces of good are a group of modern-day druids and a pair of teenage lovers who have no idea they've been selected to save the world. There are some genuinely spooky moments, a few laughs, and some nice visual touches, but the scattershot script keeps throwing out one cool idea after another, hoping something sticks. On the other hand, if watching Julian Sands writhe on the ground spewing black blood sounds like a good time, this may be just the ticket. Gremlins star Zach Galligan has a cameo (as the boyfriend of the Warlock's mom!) --Geof Miller
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Director Anthony Hickox (Waxwork, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth) opens this sequel with some on-screen text providing the exposition that the writing and direction evidently could not. Allow me to paraphrase: “Druids have protected us from evil forever…blah, blah, blah…and once every thousand years they perform some magic ritual to prevent the birth of the son of Satan.” In the subsequent scene these druids align their rune stones or whatever and—don’t panic…relax! They stopped evil from overtaking the world.
But now, with another thousand years behind us, the threat resurges. The moon eclipses as a young woman puts on a rune stone necklace preparing for a date. Gazing at the dwindling moonlight, she is overtaken by a spectral force (as in the entirely non-consensual The Entity), her abdomen erupts in instantaneous pregnancy, and a brain-like creature is messily birthed. The mass of slime-covered organs pulsates, kills the woman’s Pomeranian, and from it—as if from a cocoon—emerges a naked newborn witch (Julian Sands; Warlock, Gothic) fully grown, exposing his man bits, and covered in goo. The effects remind me a bit of Wishmaster 2 (1999) or when all the gremlins are melting in Gremlins 2 (1990)—it’s awesomely gross and the most memorable part of the movie.
The medieval action scenes were so not good; boring, in fact. But it’s just here to set the stage for present day, when things get appropriately gory. The birth scene was pretty cool if you like sloppy gory messes—which I do! Our male witch also inserts his hand into a woman’s head, cooks a map onto his unwilling mother’s flesh and peels it from her stomach, tears the entire scalp off a hooker, and causes some gory death scenes. Unfortunately, most effects-driven scenes fall flat except for the birth scene. Brief cameos by Zach Galligan (Gremlins 1-2, Waxwork 1-2) and Joanna Pacula (The Kiss, Virus) add some entertaining turns to this ride, perhaps asking some forgiveness for the weak kills.
Much as how our spellcaster sought the pages of the Grand Grimoire spread across the country in Warlock (1989), in this sequel the Devil tasks him with finding the six rune stones in six days. Naturally we’ll need some protagonists, so Samantha (Paula Marshall; Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, Nip/Tuck) and her boyfriend Kenny are destined to save the world.
Kenny’s father Will (Steve Kahan; Lethal Weapon 1-4, Predator 2, Demolition Man) senses that something is amiss after witnessing an omen, and gathers his local buddies (R. G. Armstrong; Children of the Corn, Predator; and Charles Hallahan; The Thing, The Twilight Zone: The Movie) who are all apparently part of some modern druid society that expected the Warlock’s arrival and has the magical cockroach-powered compass (from part 1) to hunt him.
Quite self-aware, the movie playfully mentions Merlin and Faust. But these cheeky moments, not even in combination with the aforementioned cameos, in no way compensate for all the bad that was jammed into this hokey sequel. At times this movie is trying so hard to be serious, but more often than not it fails. But please be reminded, as a “bad horror movie” I rather enjoyed it.
The rushed pacing diminishes the effect of many death scenes and gore. They may draw grins, but they won’t impress (except for the opening and closing gore scenes). Many of the kills were totally phoned in, and with no real build-up or sense of consequence. After all, this witch intends to bring about the Armageddon. I feel like the movie forgets this apocalyptic ambition after the first few scenes. Warlock (1989) had a story to tell, but this sequel seems to add far more silliness than substance. It has its gory victories, but overall this not a good film (I’d go so far as to call it a B-movie). Quite bad actually, and more so towards the end.
Ultimately the warlock, the Armageddon and the Devil himself were thwarted with a Jeep’s floodlights (yes, I’m totally serious and it’s easily as boring as it sounds), followed by an unspeakably bad magical duel involving a CGI dagger (not exactly the most exciting way to prevent Armageddon). Lame! But at least we close on a gooey gory note as the Warlock rots and melts away.
SIDEBAR about Franchise Continuity: Did this movie completely ignore that the events of part 1 even happened!?!?!?! They seem 100% unrelated. The first Warlock (1989) was sent to the future to assemble a book that would provide access to Earth for Satan. So where did this new Warlock come from? Also another time? Was this just a second time travel attempt from 1800s Salem that went unmentioned? And if so, why now crystals and druids instead of the pages of the Grand Grimoire? Or is this more like the Leprechaun franchise theory that each movie featured a completely different Leprechaun (despite being played with the same personality and by the same actor)? Perhaps, and if so, then there are numerous different prophecies which can bring Hell on Earth and for each prophecy a Julian Sands look-alike to expedite it. Seems farfetched.
The sequel to Warlock, this movie features the return of the evil warlock (Julian Sands) who is on a quest to search out and obtain a set of six magical runestones needed to summon the Devil to Earth. However, a group of powerful druids have become aware of the sinister plans afoot, and it is up to them to defeat the warlock and prevent Armageddon.