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He's back... or not
on 24 February 2014
If you've never seen "Warlock"... then don't worry. This movie has nothing in common with "Warlock" except magic, a warlock, and Julian Sands.
So enjoy "Warlock: The Armageddon" for what it is -- a splashy, campy mess that can't quite settle on one plot. Julian Sands is deliciously evil and incredibly charming ("But I'm not a man. I'm a witch"), and he is quite easily the best thing about this movie... which is otherwise a fairly mediocre magical-teen-coming-of-age flick.
Many centuries ago, a group of druids used their power to keep Satan's son from coming to Earth... because yeah, druids apparently believed in Satan. Who knew? They succeeded, but the magical rune crystals were scattered when a bunch of clueless Christians barged in on it.
Present day: a woman makes the bad decision of wearing a rune crystal for a date... and instead gives birth to a freaky blob-thing that grows into the Warlock (Julian Sands). He immediately goes off to find the other crystals, which are conveniently all located in the continental United States, and kills the owners in various ironic ways.
Fortunately for the world, three older druids happen to be living in a small town, and two of them conveniently have whiny teen children (Chris Young and Paula Marshall) who are destined to be Druid Warriors, who are allegedly the only ones who can stop the Warlock... although it's never clear why, because they're kind of ineffectual. They are killed, resurrected and trained in magic, but they still may not be strong enough to stop the Warlock.
The only thing you should pay attention to in "Warlock" is Julian Sands. He rules this movie just by sheer force of presence -- his Warlock is charming, sinister, cruel and a massive fan of irony. He's not the same Warlock as in the previous film, though -- this guy is the actual offspring of Satan, and possesses nearly godlike powers (he turns a man into a Cubist sculpture, using his thumbs).
The problem is that the movie isn't entirely about the Warlock. About half of it follows him on his little road trip, killing people in amusing and irony-filled ways. This is easily the best part of the movie, especially since he provides plenty of nightmare fuel -- such as when he traps a man in a mirror dimension, or zombifies a cab driver to chauffeur him around.
But the other half is about a bunch of middle-aged druids trying to educate their annoying teen kids in the ways of magic... really cheesy, poorly-green-screened magic. And there's a teen romance subplot that is so boring that I won't even bother describing it. It feels like this movie is two unrelated films smooshed together -- one is a "Warlock" movie, the other is a sort of slow-moving magical coming-of-age story. The second plot only becomes interesting when Julian Sands swooshes into it, firing invisible bullets from his fingers.
Anthony Hickox gives his own odd, somewhat campy spin on the Warlock material, and at times he's really spot-on with the horror. It's gruesome, gory and sometimes wickedly funny... and then we get thrown some nonsensical plot twist -- the "Druid Warriors" are pretty useless, there's no rhyme or reason to any of the magic, and Hickox's knowledge of ancient druids is comically unconvincing. And the weepy self-stabbing scene is just... silly.
As mentioned before, Sands completely rules this movie -- he has a sort of sinister elegance even when he's wandering around naked and goopy. The elder druids are kind of fun, but Young and Marshall are intensely annoying. He is always whining and complaining, while she always acts as if she's on the verge of bursting into tears.
"Warlock: The Armageddon" is definitely a downgrade from the previous "Warlock" film, but Julian Sands' brilliant performance should be seen at least once. Too bad he isn't in the third one.