Februrary 2, 2013
2: Duel of the Titans
Terlesky and Monique Gabrielle
Oh how I love when I get to write about movies like
Deathstalker 2. Because this one isn't so much a good movie
(it isn't) as it is a guilty pleasure. This is one of those
movies that I randomly stumbled upon on cable one night around 1990,
and I loved it so much that I have spent of a good chunk of my life
ever since trying to get other people to watch it and fall in love with
Yes, this is one of those rare mission movies. For about 25
years, it has been one of my missions in life to get more people in the
world to know about Deathstalker 2.
What is Deathstalker 2? Well it is not so much a movie as it
is an experience. Because it is simply one of the most
entertaining bad movies of all time. There is NO way you can
sit through this movie and not be amused by it. The actors
are having so much fun, and the director is having so much, that after
about five minutes you don't care that you are watching a pointless
sequel to some no name barbarian movie. No, this movie is so
much more than just "a sequel to some movie called Deathstalker."
Like I said before, this is one of those movies that you randomly just
run across on cable one night and you fall in love with it.
Monique Gabrielle at the top of her game
Okay let me get the plot details out of the way first. Let me
tell you what this movie is about, and then we can get on to the good
Deathstalker 2 is the story of a dashing young swordsman named
Deathstalker. He travels the world from town to town,
plundering treasure. And bedding wenches. And
fighting bad guys. You know, pretty much the same as any good
barbarian movie. Basically Deathstalker is like Conan the
Barbarian, only if Conan was less like Arnold Schwarzenegger and more
like a surfer guy in the 80's. Which, when you look at him,
he kind of is.
Deathstalker on his way to the mall
Deathstalker is played by a smart ass named John Terlesky and, well, he
is clearly having a good time in this movie. In fact at no
point in the movie do I believe that I am actually watching a movie
about a barbarian. No, it is pretty clear that John Terlesky
knew that this movie was a piece of shit, so all he does is mug and
grin for the camera and throw off bad one liners left and right.
It is really funny to watch how little he cares about this
character. He is by far the least barbarianish barbarian I
have ever seen in a movie.
Deathstalker throwing off another one liner
Okay, but that is only half of the movie. The OTHER half of
the movie is Deathstalker's traveling companion, Princess Evie.
She is played by B-acting legend Monique Gabrielle, and as a
character she is just an absolute piece of work. In fact
Princess Evie is the reason that I love this movie so much.
One of the four emotions that Monique Gabrielle is able to convey
Okay, so Princess Evie has been thrown out of her kingdom.
She has been sent to live in exile by the evil wizard Jerak.
And she has been replaced on the throne with an evil twin
version of herself. So she has hired Deathstalker to restore
her to the throne, and to defeat Jerak.
Got all that?
It doesn't matter. You aren't going to watch this movie for
the plot. What you are going to watch it for are John
Terlesky and Monique Gabrielle. Who are basically
comedy duo since Martin and Lewis.
Deathstalker and Princess Evie
Okay I already talked about John Terlesky. I already told you
how much he mugs for the camera and what an amazing smart ass he is.
He is one of those actors who you watch in a piece of shit
movie like Deathstalker 2, and you find yourself wondering, "How come
this guy wasn't in more comedies? He was actually pretty
funny." At the time, he was basically like a third or fourth
tier version of Tom Hanks.
But the real treasure in this movie is Monique Gabrielle.
Who, like I said before, has long been considered to be a
B-movie legend. Ms. Gabrielle must have starred in a hundred
B-movies in the 80's and early 90's, and I can guarantee that you
probably haven't heard of 95% of them. But among fans of low
budget direct to video movies she is kind of a big deal.
And Deathstalker 2 will always be her masterpiece.
Monique Gabrielle as the evil version of Princess Evie
Let's see, how can I say this delicately?
Monique Gabrielle was not a very good actress.
Now she's not the worst actress I have ever seen. I have seen
far worse actresses in Mystery Science Theater movies. But
yeah, in terms of being the lead in a movie she probably wasn't the
very best choice. I mean, she is cute. And she is
certainly likable. There is no doubt about that. I
have had a crush on Princess Evie from Deathstalker for years, and it
is only because Monique Gabrielle was do damn charismatic.
But in terms of being a believable actress? Uh, no.
For starters, Monique Gabrielle was only able to convey about four
Surprised (left), and bitchy (right)
In Deathstalker 2 you will see the vast range of emotions that Monique
Gabrielle was able to pull off. They range from
surprised/confused to scared. And also from happy to bitchy.
And really, that is really about it. Those are the
Monique Gabrielle big four.
Oh, and here is the great thing about this movie. Monique
Gabrielle doesn't just get to play one character. No, she
gets to play TWO characters!
Monique Gabrielle with her four emotion range gets to play a dual role.
Not even Meryl Streep gets to play a dual role!
And that is why this is the kind of movie you will always treasure.
Happy? Frightened? Who knows.
and right back to bitchy
So anyway, that is the movie. That is Deathstalker 2.
It is John Terlesky and Monique Gabrielle trying their best
to have fun with a movie that everyone who is making it knows is a huge
piece of shit. The movie sucks, the script sucks, the
dialogue sucks, they don't have a budget. Hell the army that
Deathstalker has to fight consists of only three bad guys.
Seriously, listen to the DVD commentary of this movie
sometime. They only had enough money to pay for three extras,
so every time Deathstalker fights bad guys he always fights three guys
in masks. They are just the same three actors
been dressed up every time in a different mask. On the DVD
commentary John Terlesky and the director (Jim Wynorski) just start
giggling about that.
The movie is just an enormous low budget piece of crap, but everyone in
the cast clearly KNOWS it is an enormous low budget piece of crap.
So they just have fun with it. And it turns into
one of those movies that is so bad, and is so ridiculous, and is so
over the top and fun because it knows it is ridiculous, that you just
have to admire it.
Oh, and at one point Deathstalker has to fight the famous 80's female
wrestler Queen Kong
Like I said at the start of my review, Deathstalker 2 is one of those
movies that I just randomly ran across one night on cable around 1990.
I remember I was just flipping through the channels around
midnight one night, and I happened to tune in to USA Up All Night.
And their late night movie that night was something called
Hmm, I thought. Deathstalker 2? What is this?
It's not like I had ever actually seen Deathstalker 1.
So why would I care about seeing Deathstalker 2?
Well then the first five minutes of the movie came up. Or, as
I like to call them, the greatest lead in to a credit sequence in movie
history. And I was immediately transfixed.
Seriously, watch this
clip at Youtube (it is 28 seconds long) and tell me you don't
want to see this movie. This is the opening to Deathstalker
2. The evil sword woman actually says "I'll have my revenge.
And Deathstalker too." And then the theme song
comes up and the title screams "DEATHSTALKER 2"!
Tell me that isn't a bad movie that doesn't know it is going
to be bad. Okay, so I guess we are just going to go tongue in
cheek and have fun with it.
Oh and also, midgets
I sat there that night and I watched Deathstalker 2 and I was just
fascinated by it. Wow, I had never seen a movie like this
before. Because the whole movie is just like that title
sequence. It is just pun after pun after pun. And
bad joke after bad joke after bad joke. And John Terlesky and
Monique Gabrielle clearly not even trying to give a shit. In
fact at one point in the movie the actors blow a take and crack up at
the end of a scene. And THE DIRECTOR ACTUALLY LEAVES IT IN
THE MOVIE. Yes, the actors deliver their lines and they break
character and crack up. Yet it stayed in the movie.
That is what you are in for when you watch this masterpiece
of nobody giving a shit. Deathstalker 2. The movie
where the actors and the directors just said "I don't care."
Seriously, at one point in the movie the camera pans over the scene of
a barbarian village. And if you look closely you can see the
director's car parked off to the side. Seriously, it is
obvious in the movie. I am not making this up.
There is a fucking car parked in a barbarian village.
Emotion number five?
I really can't say enough about how much I love this movie. I
just randomly ran across it one night in 1990 when I was sixteen, I
fell in love with how goofy and how ridiculous it was, and I quickly
developed a crush on the phenomenon known as Monique Gabrielle.
Oh and I also thought the music in the movie was cool.
You can kind of catch a glimpse of it in that Youtube clip I
linked to, but it is like that all throughout the movie. In
fact, it is actually a pretty catchy little score for a movie that was
so forgettable and unimportant. I hate to admit this, but I
actually have the theme to Deathstalker 2 on my ipod. Please
don't judge me.
Oh, here is the main Deathstalker
2 theme on Youtube. See, I told you it
was catchy. Now you can have it stuck in your head
too. You're welcome.
There is a swordfight in the movie that is actually pretty badass too
I could easily talk about Deathstalker 2 and why it is so fun and why I
love it so much for about twenty more pages. But I
know you are busy and that you have things to do, so I will end it
here. I probably wrote too much as it is.
All I will say before I sign off is this. Monique Gabrielle
is an atrocious actress. Yet she plays two roles.
One of which requires her to just wander around and pout and
scream "Stalker!" every ten seconds. Yet despite all this
she somehow manages to be likable. I don't know how she
manages to do that, but she does.
John Terlesky was like a fourth or fifth rate Tom Hanks. He
never really made it big as an actor, but for one movie he was
surprisingly perfect. In fact I'm not sure Tom Hanks could
have played a better smart ass Deathstalker.
There is a really cool sword fight scene at the end of the movie.
There is a really kickass music score. The DVD
commentary is just funny as shit.
Oh, and I have to end by saying that Deathstalker 2 has one of my all
time favorite things you can ever have in a movie. It has a
blooper reel. After the movie ends, don't turn off the DVD
because over the credits you get to see all the bloopers. You
get to see Monique Gabrielle choke when she is drinking a potion.
You get to see John Terlesky miss his mark when he is falling
for a stunt. You get to see Deathstalker burning his hand on
torch. I wish every movie had a blooper reel. It is
the perfect way to end a movie like this, because the entire movie was
I wish there were more movies in the world like Deathstalker 2.
Track it down and watch it for yourself. I
guarantee you will
favorite IMDB user reviews about Deathstalker 2:
GREAT PRE XENA ROMP. - 7
ever a movie failed to take itself seriously it is this one. A delight
from beginning to end, "DEATHSTALKER 2" has a personable lead in John
Terlesky who plays the title role with aplomb, handling the humour and
action with tongue in cheek finesse. A supporting cast who are in on
the joke helps immensely as does the pseudo epic score which
accompanies the sometimes thrilling action sequences perfectly, a lot
of people wouldn't touch this movie with a barge pole and a lot of
people would be wrong.
Hilarious! - 6
This has to rank alongside Roger Corman's best as one of the great cult
acting is atrocious and the direction is primitive at best. But there's
plenty of action and bare bosoms, which is what such movies are all
Terlesky seems to be getting by in Hollywood nowadays as
a writer, director and actor in mostly B-movies, but D-2 represents the
best of his early days.
"Is Deathstalker your first name or your last?" You gotta love lines
A classic of sorts.
So what's to analyze? - 9
is easily the best of the Deathstalker movies. John Terlesky isn't the
musclebound hulk that Rick Hill was, and certainly not the musclebound
hulk in the Boris Vallejo painting they used for the poster, but he
doesn't have to be. This is a Deathstalker who knows perfectly well
that he's in a campy, B-grade sword-and-sorcery flick, and is
determined to have as much fun with it as he can. He takes nothing
seriously, and almost everything is done with a wink at the audience.
He wonders aloud at one point where the cliche Spikey Trap O'Death is,
and when the spikes immediately pop out of the walls he just rolls his
eyes, says, "Son of a bitch!", and deals with it.
John Lazar as
the villain Jarek knows it too. He's gleefully, manaically evil, but
when he learns his adversary's moniker he can barely suppress the
giggle as he repeats, incredulously, "Deathstalker?!"
Gabrielle takes her parts seriously, and it's just as well. She's the
one who's always in need of a rescue, and I suppose that *someone* has
to put up a show of genuine peril. She also fills out admirably the
part that's absolutely essential in films of this quality: she supplies
the main set of on-screen boobs. It wouldn't be a proper B-grade
sword-and-sorcery flick without them.
Sit back, have a beer or
5, and enjoy Deathstalker II. Laugh; you're supposed to. And stick
around through the end credits for the outtakes. Those are funny too.
Sure it's cheesy, but
it's deliberate... - 22 July 2004
this is a sequel with nothing to do with the first one, and yeah, it's
no Conan, but it doesn't try to be. Just remember who the
writer/director is (the esteemed Jim Wynorski), take your mind off the
hook, and go with it!
The premise (soldier of fortune helps a
princess in disguise regain the throne) is classic, but it's all told
with such a goofy tone that comparison with a more serious film is,
If you have the DVD edition with the director's
commentary, you'll see where Wynorski was going when he made the film.
The script is full of in-jokes from other movies in the genre, jokes
from television, and more than enough one liners to fill a dozen old
Bob Hope movies. You also get John LaZar (from Beyond the Valley Of The
Dolls) as the evil sorcerer, Monique Gabrielle (of a zillion b-movies)
as the damsel in distress, and Toni Naples in black leather as Sultana,
who swings a mean sword.
Add to that a gazillion extras (all
masked so they can be used over and over in other scenes), lots of
wooden swords painted silver, a fight to the death with Queen Kong
(featuring Amazon ring girls holding up the round number painted on
cardboard). Yep friends and neighbors, this one leaves no cliché
unheard. Do I recommend it? Wholeheartedly. Genre fans won't be
Monique Gabrielle is
adorable. - 10 July 2002
second part of the "Deathstalker" series has a spirited beginning, a
fun score, and is overall entertaining because of its campiness, but
it's not to be mistaken in any way as a good film. The big surprise
here is that, unlike most former models, Monique Gabrielle CAN act: she
plays two roles and she manages to give each one a distinct personality
(intensely likable/intensely bitchy), and she's the best reason to see
this movie. As for John Terlesky, he flashes a smile that is comparable
to Tom Cruise's.
Superb tongue in cheek
sequel - 10 June 2005
first Deathstalker was a rather sombre, dull affair featuring a
distinctly immoral and somewhat unlikeable 'hero' who thought nothing
of forcing himself upon women and killing for the sheer hell of it.
of the film felt hideously disjointed and made little or no sense
(other than to show busty topless maidens...erm...OK, so it wasn't all
bad in other words) Overall, the film could only really be described as
a sub par Conan rip off at best. Certainly not a movie that warranted a
sequel......but, I am in fact very glad that a sequel came along, as
what we have here is one of those rarest of cinematic phenomena, a
sequel that actually surpasses the original. Although to be truthful in
this case it doesn't merely surpass it, but totally eclipses it!
2 is effectively the polar opposite of the first film. Whereas the
original Deathstalker seemed to take itself deadly seriously (which was
a grave mistake) this sequel actually plays more like an out and out
Now I know that genre purists may scoff at the idea of a
Sword & Sorcery comedy, and if it's any consolation, I
(before viewing the film) did to, but believe me, this movie works so
In fact, EVERYTHING works so well in this film!
actors are all clearly having a ball with the material (especially John
Terlesky in the title role), the ladies are all universally gorgeous
and mostly seem more than happy to wander around topless (a staple
ingredient in the genre), the main villain hams it up perfectly,
there's a really great, catchy music score and the final climatic sword
fight between Deathstalker and his nemesis is very well staged!
What more could you ask for?
I recommend this awesome movie wholeheartedly - its fun is more
infectious than VD in a brothel!
Tongue in Cheek at its
Best - 16 April 2010
not too much point writing a whole lot here as most people have said it
already. Looking closely at the actors reactions and nuances you can
tell wholeheartedly that this project was a lot of fun to make. Jim
Wynorski not only gave us an enjoyable sword & sorcery film in
own right but DSII simply knows what it is and doesn't take itself too
What we end up with is a great movie that is a hidden
gem in the plethora of '80's garbage. You can watch again and again
because you always pick up a great line that you missed in the previous
viewing because you were laughing so much.
And yes the two
Australians that watch the movie religiously every week that they talk
about in the commentary is me and my friend :)
If you don't
crack a smile at least a dozen times watching this film there is
something wrong with you and whats more important in life than someone
or some thing that can make you involuntarily smile!
* My favorite quote in Deathstalker 2:
You have to get up pretty early in the morning to catch the prince of
[An arrow shoots into a tree right next to them]
[Monique Gabrielle attempt to portray shock and surprise]
Princess Evie: IT IS EARLY IN THE MORNING!
favorite scene in Deathstalker 2:
Oh let's just say the whole movie. Any scene in Deathstalker
2 just makes me happy.
2: Duel of the Titans
at the IMDB
2: Duel of the Titans
SPECIAL NOTE *** THIS IS IMPORTANT! ***
If you try to buy a copy of Deathstalker 2, do NOT buy the one that is
part of Roger Corman's SWORD AND SORCERY COLLECTION on Amazon.
is the approved director's cut and about 15 minutes of the movie has
been cut out or edited down. Which, sadly, seems to be most
of the funny stuff. No, if you want to see Deathstalker 2 in
all its original glory, you can either watch it on the internet or look
for one of the original standalone DVDs (like the one below).
Again, do NOT buy
the one in the Roger Corman Sword and Sorcery Collection four pack.
This is the one that you want:
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