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MOVIE REVIEW : Ill-Advised Sequel to ‘Beastmaster’

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The original 1982 “Beastmaster,” a modest but effective sword-and-sorcery epic, starred Marc Singer in the title role as Dar, a disenfranchised prince who possesses a strange power over animals. Now Singer’s back in a silly, ill-advised sequel, “Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time” (selected theaters).

The first time out, Dar’s nemesis was an evil priest (Rip Torn) who kidnaped him from his mother’s womb.

Now it seems that Dar has an equally evil brother he never knew named Arklon (Wings Hauser, who wisely tongue-in-cheeks it), a tyrant who enforces his rule with his nasty double-beamed magic ray, the Key of Magog.

Nonetheless, Arklon is tempted by the sorceress Lyranna (Sarah Douglas), who comes on like a hard-as-nails stripper, to pass through a portal that will whisk him to present-day L.A. where he intends to get his hands on a portable nuclear detonator.

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Dar soon follows in pursuit, passing through the portal himself. But the sight of a couple of refugees from antiquity battling out in our fair city is not really all that hilarious.

Not helping matters by a long shot is Dar’s California girl friend, a spoiled, obnoxious and instantly tiresome senator’s daughter (Kari Wuhrer).

Singer still combines a bodybuilder’s physique and a boyish face, but his likable presence, along with his animal pals, Ruh the tiger, Sharak the eagle and Podo and Kodo the ferrets, isn’t enough to keep the film from seeming ludicrous and contrived.

Sylvio Tabet lacks original writer-director Don Coscarelli’s deft, light touch, and “Beastmaster 2" (rated PG-13 for standard action-picture violence) is pretty much a bust, clearly not benefiting from five credited writers, including Tabet.

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‘Beastmaster 2:

Through the Portal of Time’

Marc Singer: Dar

Kari Wuhrer: Jackie

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Wings Hauser: Arklon

Sarah Douglas: Lyranna

A New Line Cinema release of a Republic Pictures presentation. Producer-director Sylvio Tabet. Executive producer Stephan Strick. Screenplay R.J. Robertson, Jim Wynorski, Tabet, Ken Hauser, Doug Miles. Cinematographer Ronn Schmidt. Editor Adam Bernardi. Costumes Betty Madden. Music Robert Folk. Production design Allen Jones. Sound Craig Felburg. Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes.

MPAA-rated PG-13 (standard action-movie violence).

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