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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 8 October 2008
I know what you're thinking - this classic film starring Bruce Campbell has been released so many times already (and it has)... but whether you're a long-time fan or newcomer, it's worth getting this movie on Blu-Ray. Essentially, it's the HD-DVD version transferred to the Blu-Ray format, but what a difference HD makes - the quality of the picture is the best I've seen of this film. One thing worth mentioning, as it neglects to tell you under EXTRAS on the box cover: This Blu-Ray edition is the U.S. theatrical cut with the S-Mart ending - but the Director's Cut appears as an "extra" in standard definition. Incidentally, the DVD release (with the same box art and extras information) is the Director's Cut! All in all, worth £14 of anyone's money. Hail to the king baby!
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Army of Darkness is the third chapter in director Sam Raimis 'Evil Dead' trilogy, and takes hero Ash (played by Bruce Campbell) from the cabin in the woods, dumping him in 13th Century England with nothing but his boomstick, a chainsaw, and the wreck of his 1973 Oldsmobile. Out of time, surrounded by evil, and low on gas.....

Of course the half-witted Ash endears himself to the primitive locals as only he can, and soon finds himself in chains and facing certain death in a deadite infested pit. One gore-splashing encounter with a demon later and it dawns on his medieval hosts that Ash just might be the 'promised one', the one that was prophesised to fall from the sky to deliver them from evil.

Naturally Ash is the absolutely least qualified person to be the savior of the world. He's crass, sexist, idiotic and cowardly - all attributes he displays in full when he manages to unleash a terrible evil on the world whilst trying to do the exact opposite, all because he's too bone-headed to remember three little magic words.

Theres one thing that Ash does excel at though, and that is fighting deadites and kicking ass which - having created the whole mess they find themselves in to begin with - he has ample opportunity to endulge in. A groovy mechanical hand later, a run in with a dozen tiny versions of himself resulting in the birth of his evil alter-ego 'Evil Ash', one kidnapped princess, a Rocky-style training montage, and an army of the dead on your doorstep, and the scene is set for one hell of a showdown.

Army of Darkness is without doubt my favorite movie of all time. I watched it at the cinema in 1992 having been enthralled by images on the back of my comic book of a man with a shotgun and a mechanical hand punching-out skeletons, and the poster for the movie sits on my wall to this day. To be honest it is a movie that suffers from terribly low production values and has a cast made up entirely of actors you are unlikely to have ever heard of, but is all the better for it. Animation is of the Harry Hausen stop-motion style, and director Raimi abandons the much more traditional horror of the first two movies for a film that is played mainly for laughs. Its also one of the most deliberately quotable movies of all time, and I defy you not to try and introduce at least a couple of Ash's one-liners into your working day! in short, its a brilliant little B-movie that in the more than 20 years since its release has deservedly gone on to gain a massive cult following.

This version of the DVD provides you with a completely remastered version of the original cinematic release including the 'S-Mart' ending. Also included on the DVD is the Directors cut with a slew of additional scenes as well as an alternate 'Planet of the Apes' ending. You can also watch the Directors cut with commentary from director Sam Raimi and producer Robert Tapert.

My only complaint is that you cannot watch the Directors cut in remastered HD, which is a shame as this was by far the most entertaining version of the film. Other than this however you are holding perhaps the single greatest cult movie of all time in your hands - a very groovy purchase indeed!
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on 1 December 2008
Finally a decent DVD version of Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness! I was ecstatic originally when the first Director's Cut of the film came out on a 2-disc edition (the second disc being the US Theatrical Cut - I wasn't so bothered about that version). Of coarse, as I'm sure many of you came to realise as I did, that "edition" wasn't so special after all. It just felt like Anchor Bay released someone's bootlegged version (a title the Americans had used) from some cheap VHS cassette. The picture was poor for the extended scenes and even the sound on the final battle was extremely ropey. I fobbed the DVD off rather rapidly afterwards.

Right, anyhow.

Now, Optimum has stepped in and finally done something about it and what we have... is another DC of the film, yes, but with better sound and picture quality, well as better as it can get for AoD. This is it; this is the version that is a definite keeper. The extended scene in the mill doesn't add much to the film admittedly, just a couple more giggles but the final battle has changed considerably and, to my mind, is a little more exciting with a few more antics in it. Plus they have kept the much favoured "apocalyptic ending". All in all this is the version of the film (since the European Cut) I'm going to stick with, and hope all you fellow AoD fans can enjoy just as much as I have. My only tiny gripe really is the lack of special features (which include the rather stupid "happy ending" - sorry to those who liked it, hail to the king baby!), but it's the film that matters.
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on 28 January 2013
Bruce Campbell is the absolute king of B Movies and in this movie he's in the absolute prime of his career. He's got such screen presence doing all the corny and off the wall hilarious jokes and physical humor in what is the third movie of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy. The first movie was pretty much a straight up horror movie and a cult classic, then Evil Dead 2 while it still had a bit of true horror in it was very much a fantastic comedy/horror film also, in Army of Darkness they go all out with the comedy. But the comedy is done tastefully and doesn't make the movie into a parody of the previous films like a lot of bad movies like Scary Movie do. Plus it doesn't hurt that they time travel back to medieval times instead of being a modern day cabin like the previous two movies were.

We find our hero Ash (Bruce Campbell) sucked into a vortex which sends him back in time to 1300 AD. The Wiseman John knows that Ash is the one written about in the Necronomicom , "he who is sent back to deliver them from the evil deadites". But King Arthur suspects he's one of Henry the Red's men. After doing battle in the pit, we get a glimpse of Ash's sensitive side. He is able to strike a "deal" with Arthur that if he retrieves the book, they will send him back to his own time. He is instructed that he must say three little words before retrieving the book. If said wrong....he would release the Army of Dead.

While traveling to retrieve the book, he has a little run-in with his evil side. When he finally happens upon the book, he tries to say the words right, really. But, as you can probably surmise from the title, the dead march. Along the way, Ash must do battle with his possessed medieval girlfriend, the Army of Dead, and even himself (as Evil Ash and little Ashes). The end battle scene is a laugh a minute. This film has great effects and the best performance by Campbell in the series with some of the funniest writing I have ever seen. I cannot really say much for these films because they are movies which aren't meant to be critically analyzed or meant to be taken seriously, they are just to have fun with. Army of Darkness was one of the best comedy/fantasy/horror films out there, check it out.

Optimum's Blu-ray transfer reveals an impressive color-scheme where reds, yellows, and blacks are practically perfect. Army of Darkness really does look quite exceptional in 1080p, you also have the alternative ending but again like with ED2 on blu-ray not that much as far as special features.
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on 9 December 2013
Ash finds himself stranded in the year 1300 AD with his car, his shotgun, and his chainsaw.

Soon he is discovered and thought to be a spy for a rival kingdom and is taken prisoner. After proving his merit in The Pit, he decides to help the kingdom retrieve the Necronomicon, which will also help him return to his own time, which they need to battle the supernatural forces at play in the land.

Ash accidentally releases the Army of Darkness when retrieving the book, and a fight to the finish ensues.....

A word of advice, if you really want to enjoy the film for what it is, try not to see the first two movies in close proximity to this, it really does tarnish the overall effect of the film.

It can be seen as a standalone film, because the film really has no continuity with the first two, other than he gets sucked into the past, and he has a chainsaw.

But it's fun, and this was when Raimi was getting a too clever for Hollywood and when Campbell started self parody, so by no means expect a horror film. It has parts that are slightly eerie, like the pit scene, but its laugh out loud funny all the way through.

It's as if Raimi doesn't care what people think of his trilogy, he's doing this for himself and his friends, and the love of the film is evident, even though one feels we are being left out of most of the joke.

Effects are intentionally cheesy, as is the script, but its short, exciting and never once gets boring.
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on 11 November 2004
I bought this in the hope that I'd see more Bruce Campbell wise cracks. What you get is the theatrical feature with ungraded cuttings from the editing room floor glued in with chewing gum and paperclips. The original film is one of my all time favorites and this version proves that editors do a very good job by removing anything that is unneccesary, misleading or of poor film-making quality. This DVD is basically everything that is great about Army of Darkness with added unneccesary, misleading and poor quality footage.
Hail to the Editors baby!
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on 13 October 2002
Army of Darkness continues were "Evil Dead II" left off with Ash (Bruce Campbell) falling from the sky into a medievil world. Some may consider this film to be the weakest of the Evil Dead trilogy but surprizingly the story line was much better than Evil Dead I and II with some great action scenes and lots of one-liners. This is definitely an entertaining movie with many very original moments. If you are looking for a good horror/comedy spoof, then this is well worth checking out!
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on 13 November 2002
As a big non-fan of both the horror and the spoof genre this film should have been rubbish to me, but it was without doubt one of the best films I have ever seen!
Army of Darkness has the most incredible one liners and cheesy lines ever; almost every line is quotable and will leave you laughing for ages!
Bruce Cambell's acting is brilliant both as good Ash and as evil Ash and his crazy style never stops being entertaining, especially during the two end sequences. The video is great because you get the two end sequences which are both as brilliant as each other.
Also Sam Raimi's directing is amazing and his traditional stylistic traits are seen throughout including "the car" that appears in every film he makes!
All-in-all I would recomend this film for anyone who wants to have a good night in. The film has semi-scary bits and plenty of jokes to keep you entertained!
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When we last saw Ash Williams, he had been sucked through a time vortex and ended up in the 14th century... where he STILL had to contend with undead horrors. No, not going to give context.

"Army of Darkness" pretty much picks up from there, finishing up the legendary trilogy that Sam Raimi started with "The Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn." This time around, Sam Raimi dials down the horror once again, while dialing up massive quantities of skeletal comedy -- while there's the odd gross-out moment (eyeball in the shoulder!), most of the story is devoted to the increasingly manic Bruce Campbell struggling to defeat an undead horde of skeletons with only his trusty boomstick and chainsaw.

Having appeared in the 14th century, Ash (Campbell) is immediately captured by the arrogant Lord Arthur (Marcus Gilbert), who mistakes him for one of Duke Henry's (Richard Grove) men. He tries to explain that he's not, but ends up tossed into an execution pit filled with iron spikes and demonic Deadites -- and only the timely intervention of the Wise Man (Ian Abercrombie) allows Ash to reclaim his chainsaw and "boomstick," kill the Deadites, and establish that he is a prophesied savior come to free them from the Deadite scourge.

But of course, the entire universe hates Ash. So when he's sent on an incredibly simple quest to reclaim and de-power the Necronomicon, Ash immediately encounters bizarre Deadite attacks that are specifically designed to torment him -- including the formation of an evil doppelganger from his own body, Evil Ash. And when he manages to botch the whole thing, the Deadites prepare to storm the castle and take everything over. Life is hard when you're Ash.

Considering that the series started with a serious attempt at horror, it's a little odd that "Army of Darkness" mostly drops the horror. Of course, there's still some gloriously gross moments (the emergence of Evil Ash, and his decaying face a few scenes later), but most of the movie is played for laughs (including a long sequence where Ash is assaulted by a small army of Lilliputian doppelgangers, who jab him in the butt with a fork and tie him to the floor). Even the grosser moments are played for laughs ("Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the gun").

And that's what makes this whole movie so gloriously entertaining -- it's gross, nasty and violent, but it's presented with the gleeful joy that comes with a cavalcade of one-liners and memetastic moments ("All right, you primitive screwheads, listen up... this... is my BOOMSTICK!"). Nothing is presented very seriously, because... well, how can you take this seriously? It's about a college student/S-Mart employee who gets blasted back in time to fight demonic zombies in a medieval setting. The cheese is thick and gloriously unserious, climaxing as Ash careens through the titular army in a massive armored steampunk-car/tank that easily hacks them apart.

And despite the much larger cast and more extensive sets and special effects required, somehow Raimi maintains that rough, low-budget feel -- the stop-motion, tiny Ashes, and especially the battle sequences that are clearly against inanimate Halloween skeletons. It still feels like a cheesy low-budget movie that does NOT care

Bruce Campbell is at the absolute height of his Campbellitude here -- he gives a delightfully hammy performance as a gun-toting, one-liner-spouting Ash. He plays the kind of guy that every guy likes to think he'd be in such a crisis, uttering don't-give-a-dang one-liners, shooting monsters and smooching a wench with extremely good teeth with great relish. And he gives an equally quotable ("Little goody two-shoes!") performance as the Evil Ash, who is just as snarky but... well, his face is rotting off. The supporting actors give good performances, especially Abercrombie as the wise man that nobody ever seems to actually listen to, but this is clearly the Campbell show here.

It may have effectively left horror behind, but "Army of Darkness" instead embraces a gloriously gross brand of comedy, with knights, skeletons, bagpipes and one S-Mart employee with a boomstick and a robot hand. It's hard to find a movie more resolutely fun than this.
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on 26 November 2011
Army Of Darkness continues where Evil Dead 2 finished, with Ash going back in time through a portal to 1300 AD. He is immediately captured by Lord Arthur and his men, and accused of being one of Henry The Red's men. He's taken back to the castle and thrown into a pit, where he defeats a couple of Deadites and wins the respect of the people. He demands that the Wise Man send him back to his time, when he's given the bad news that only the Necronomicon aka the book of the dead can send him home. Ash must then begin a journey to retrieve the book, where he must say the three words Klaatu barada nikto to safely claim the book. In typical Ash style, he forgets the words and awakens a skeletal army of darkness. It's now down to Ash and what remains of Arthur's men to protect the castle and book, and to try and defeat the army of deadites.

Bruce Campbell is fantastic as Ash, he always has a sly or sarcastic remark on hand. He plays the role like he did in Evil Dead 2, with much more bravado and slapstick than the original. There's some pretty good support from Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert, Ian Abercrombie and Richard Grove, but the movie is all about Campbell, so much so that the opening title actually says Bruce Campbell vs Army Of Darkness. Bridget Fonda has a very small role as Linda, his girlfriend in the earlier films in a brief flashback. Ted Raimi has a few small parts, and for any huge horror fans, Patricia Tallman who played Barbara in the Night Of The Living Dead remake appears under heavy make up as a possessed witch.

Sam Raimi did the much more commercial Darkman after the first two Evil Dead movies, after that was successful it allowed Army Of Darkness a much bigger budget than the other two. It's clear to see this had a much bigger budget. Where the first two movies were set in a cabin in the woods, this film is more of an adventure film. I assume alot of the budget went on the special effects, and for a film from 1992, most of the effects work really well. The skeleton army look fantastic, and most of the make up looks great, especially the make up on the lead deadite.

I wasn't expecting much from the blu-ray, but i'm delighted to say that for most of the film it looks amazing. From the moment it started, I could instantly see a huge difference in quality between this and the standard version. The first thing you see when the film starts is sand, on the blu-ray, you can see all of the individual pebbles and grains of sand, on the standard version it just looks like porridge. Virtually every close up on Bruce Campbell's face shows remarkable clarity and detail, every pore on his face is visible and looks much better than some new films I have on blu-ray. The colours are now much more vibrant and the whole film looks like it was made last year instead of 1992 on a modest budget. There are moments when the film does drop in quality, the odd scene here and there is quite grainy but still holds good detail behind it, it just seems out of place when 90% of the film is grain free and looks magnificent. On two or three occasions the picture goes quite soft and looks dvd quality, but it's rare and this is just about the best blu-ray of a catalogue title that i've seen.

The problem that some people may have with the blu-ray, and it's the reason i've give it four stars instead of five, the blu-ray version is the theatrical version of the film which runs at 81 minutes, the director's cut which runs fifteen minutes longer at 96 minutes is on the disc but it's in standard definition. The difference in quality is massive, and I for one would have loved to see the longer version that Sam Raimi intended us to see in blu-ray. It's nice to have both versions, but I already had both versions on the 2-disc special edition which also had a few more extras on it than this. The 2-disc dvd wasn't packed with extras, but apart from the 2 versions of the film and the commentary from Campbell and Raimi, there's very little else here.

Army Of Darkness has always been my favourite of the Evil Dead films, probably due to the fact that I saw this one much more regularly as a kid. It does feel like more of a spin off from the first two, and relies much more on slapstick humour where the first two were very dark and had lots of gore. Anybody that enjoyed the humour of Evil Dead 2 should really enjoy Army Of Darkness, but with it being so different to the other films, you don't really need to have seen them to enjoy watching this one. If you're already a fan of the film, but wasn't sure if it is worth the upgrade to blu-ray, then I suggest you shop smart, shop S-mart and buy this as it looks absolutely amazing.
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