Barbarian Queen 2: The Empress Strikes Back (1992)

Barbarian Queen 2

Directed by Joe Finley

Written by Howard Cohen and Lance Smith

Run Time: 80 minutes

Although I typically wouldn’t want to review a sequel without first posting a review for the first of the series, I’m going to make an exception for this movie. Why? Two reasons:

1) It’s not really a sequel: it’s more of a "follow-up".

2) This movie really sucks.

Let’s quickly compare the 2 films, "Barbarian Queen" and "Barbarian Queen 2: The Empress Strikes Back":

Both are low-budget sword-and-sandal affairs featuring Lana Clarkson as a rebel leader set on overthrowing whatever generic eeeeeevil regime that happens to be in power. There are plenty of boobs, lame sword fighting, and bad special effects in both films, yet I found that BQ2 contained a lot less misogyny, a much more lame-brained plot, a copious amount of ludicrous plot contrivances, a mud-wrestling scene, and even worse special effects than the first…

I just had to review it. Duty called. I had to answer.

Let’s just say that BQ2 makes BQ1 look like "Lawrence of Arabia" in comparison.

The title itself, Barbarian Queen II: The Empress Strikes Back, is rather amusing: The main character has a different name in each film…so why the "II"? Clarkson is not an Empress in either film, so I can only assume that the bit about "The Empress Strikes Back" was tagged onto the end in a vain reference to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Since "Barbarian Queen 2" obviously has nothing to do with outer space, and was made 9 years after the aforementioned George Lucas film, I have no idea how any connection could have been made between the two whatsoever…but you have to give then "E" for "Effort".

The beautiful Lana Clarkson is a well known name in the cheese-movie circles. Her first role was as Mrs. Vargas in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). A year later she appeared in a Roger Corman cheapie called Deathstalker. Lana’s performance as "Kaira" in "Deathstalker" convinced Corman to give her the leading role of Amethea in the 1985 production of Barbarian Queen. (Funny enough, she also played a character named "Amethea" in Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II in 1989.) After Barbarian Queen, Lana Clarkson appeared in numerous Corman productions and other B-movies, in addition to garnering a cult following all her own. Lana also appeared in several TV shows, including The Jeffersons, The A-Team, Knight Rider, Night Court, among others. Sadly, and I sincerely mean sadly, Lana was shot and killed by reclusive record producer Phil Spector on February 3, 2003. Spector’s murder trial is still pending at the time of this review.

Writer Howard Cohen is a legendary schlock-meister having penned not a few low-to-no budget films. His opus includes a roller-derby ‘expose’ entitled Unholy Rollers (1972), Vampire Hookers (1978) (starring John Carradine!), the "Star Wars" rip-off Space Raiders (1983), the "Abyss" rip-off Lords of the Deep (1989), and of course, both of the Barbarian Queen sagas, among other sludge. I think you get the idea.

As for the other cast and crew? Nothing of terrible interest. The majority of the lead characters have appeared in various soap operas and sitcoms over the years. Since the film was shot in Mexico, the supporting cast (guards, thugs, peasants and so on) consists of primarily Mexican bit actors who generally get their asses kicked by Princess Athalia.

Oh yeah. Produced by Roger Corman. I love that guy.

Lana Clarkson Princess Athalia (Lana Clarkson)

The beautiful Princess Athalia is often captured and stripped of her top. Not that I’m complaining. In a climatic battle at the end of the film, Athalia leads her band of rag-tag rebels into battle against the numbskull Hofrax and his Legion of Idiot Guards. The outcome, well, read the review…
Alejandro Bracho Ankaris (Alejandro Bracho)

Usurper and Hofrax’s boss, Ankaris has stolen the throne from King Iko. Who? Don’t worry, you never see the King. It feels like we started the movie in chapter 3 or something. Whatever. Ankaris is a wimp and loves to chew the scenery whenever he gets the chance. Which is basically every time he’s in front of the camera.
Greg Wrangler Aurion (Greg Wrangler)

Wimpy bad-guy cum good rebel. We eventually learn that Aurion is Athalia’s ex-boyfriend, so hey, maybe they’ll get together at the end of the film. Gee…you think?
Rebecca Wood Zarla (Rebecca Wood)

One of many hot babes that populate the forests of Mexico. Ooops. I mean the Kingdom of Ankaris.
Cecilia Tijerina Tamis (Cecilia Tijerina)

Being Ankaris’s bratty daughter, this young lass has her eyes on the throne. Unfortunately, a slight miscommunication puts an end to all that as you shall see…
Roger Cudney Hofrax (Roger Cudney)

Hofrax…my dear…Hofrax. You eeeeediot! Head of Castle Security and the Legion of Idiots. This dude is so inept, you really have to wonder how in the hell he reached such a powerful position in the castle pecking order. Still, looking at the other morons that seem to be running this dog-and-pony show, it’s not so surprising after all.

Settling back with a nice cold beer, the film begins.

Open in Athalia’s bedchamber. A doting nurse is doing her best to get the young princess into a set of respectable clothes. "Nobody is going to make a lady out of me!" Athalia shouts while hurling jugs of water against the wall and stressing the break-point of her low-cut shirt to the maximum. Some raw exposition fills us in rather quickly that Athalia’s father, "The King" (nice name), is away. Yes, it’s simply noted that he’s, <ahem>, "away". Well, fine. It turns out that Generic Bad Guy, Ankaris, was ostentatiously left in charge while the King’s "away". Anyway, for some unexplained reason, and most things are left unexplained in this film, Athalia is to appear before Ankaris in the throne room.

Athalia is somehow forced into a white gown and appears before Ankaris. The eviiillll, power-hungry Ankaris and his eviilll chief of security (or whatever they called it back then), Hofrax, are stomping around the throne room waiting for the young princess. (The throne room is so sparsely furnished and devoid of adornments that I’m positive it’s used in other scenes requiring "a room in a castle". I also noticed that the floor of the throne room is tan linoleum. How authentic.) Anyway, when Athalia demands an audience with her father, Hofrax somberly informs her that the "beloved King Iko" was killed in battle. Not wasting any time, Ankaris demands the "Secret of the Scepter" in order to finalize his ascension to the throne. At this point you may be asking yourself "The what of the what?"…Don’t worry. This film will fill you in on the details when it’s ready to.

At this point one of the friendlier "bad guys" (and Athalia’s ex-flame), Aurion, notes that the King’s body was never found. I’ve never been too sure just what the hell Aurion’s role in the new evillll regime is supposed to be. He mopes around all the time, longing for Athalia and doing his best to avoid eviilll duties (i.e., pillaging, etc.). Why doesn’t Hofrax just have him executed Barbarian Queen 2as a potential traitor? Gee, I wonder if Aurion will use his position as, whatever he does, to help Athalia overthrow Ankaris. (Do you hate these names yet? I do. Imagine how much fun I’m going to have spell-checking this damn review…)

Blah. Anyway, Athalia refuses to divulge the "Secret of the Scepter" (why can’t they just call it The Scepter’s Secret?) and she is led away to Ye Oulde Generic Dungeon by a couple of guards that look like they wandered in from a scene from "Monty Python’s Holy Grail".

OK, Athalia is led away to a holding cell where she is sentenced to languish until she reveals the Secret of the Scepter. After a short while the Ankaris’s teenage daughter, Tamis, pays Athalia a visit in the dungeon, ostensibly to deliver Athalia some much needed food. Almost immediately Tamis begins plying Athalia for information regarding the Scepter. This unusual interest in the magical device fails to set off any alarm bells in Athalia’s head, but she still refuses to use the Scepter’s power because if she does, and her father is still alive, "he will die". (I don’t know how that works, nor how she could use the power from her cell even if she wanted to. Don’t bother trying to make sense of any of this. It’s all just a bunch of goofy crap. Just go with the flow, ok?)

To my non-surprise, Tamis pulls forth a stealthily concealed dagger and gives it to Athalia. Armed with the dagger, Athalia quickly dispatches the (lone) guard outside the door and the duo make Barbarian Queen 2their way through an amazingly understaffed and under-guarded castle to the Scepter room. Floating above a dais in the center of the room is the much vaunted Scepter of Power, or whatever the hell they call it. Closer inspection reveals that it looks like something a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast might have made in a high-school metals class, but hey, let’s be nice and pretend it’s the Scepter of Power, ok? It makes the movie go a lot smoother if we do.

Athalia recites some hocus-pocus and plucks the Scepter from its magical perch. To Tamis’s disappointment, Athalia has not released the Scepter’s full power. Athalia hesitates, noting that there are "more words", but she’s afraid to say them because of her father. Um. OK. Note sure what’s happening here…did I fall asleep for a couple of minutes just then?

Moving right along, the trap is sprung as Hofrax enters the chamber with a couple of guards. As a half-hearted sword fight breaks out, Athalia tosses the Scepter to Tamis, assuming she’ll flee with it. Instead of running to safety, Tamis giggles and nonchalantly hands the Scepter to her father, Ankaris, who has casually descended into the chamber from a long stairway which I certainly didn’t see in the previous shot of the room. Hmmm. Anyway, Despite being faced with execution, Athalia refuses to give away the Scepter’s secret, whatever the hell it might be.

Blah, blah, blah. This is really taking too long. Before being taken to the dungeon again, Athalia surprises everybody by grabbing the Scepter out of Ankaris’ clutches and, through the magic technology of playing film footage in reverse, hurls it back onto its magical position over the pedestal. One guard, obviously lacking in IQ, grabs the Scepter (which if you haven’t already figured out by now is a royal "No-No") and bursts into flame. Well, sort of. Some flames shoot out from the base of the pedestal so we can just assume that he is aflame. Oh, I’m sorry: They’re magical flames as indicated by the guard simply disappearing into a puff of smoke, leaving his empty garments and helmet laying on the floor.

Ankaris finally gets fed up and orders Athalia to be publicly executed the next day. Why not immediately execute her? Because then she won’t have time to pull off a preposterous escape. Tamis starts to whine when she realizes she’s been deprived of having Athalia as a slave, and Ankaris simply grants her Aurion to placate her. Furthermore, Aurion is ordered to marry her when she’s old enough to ascend the throne. Aurion swallows his pride, smiles and agrees to the plan.

The next day Athalia is led through town bound to the back of a horse cart. Now, let’s take a look at Hofrax’s security measures:

Barbarian Queen 2Athalia is loosely tied to the cart around her wrists only.

Three guards ride in front of the cart looking forward.

The only guard actually in proximity of the prisoner is sitting down looking out the back.

In other words, nobody is watching Athalia. Bravo, Hofrax!

Athalia wriggles free of the ropes and kicks the rear guard out of the cart. This fall of a whopping 3 feet is enough to knock the guard unconscious (even though he’s wearing a metal helmet). Taking advantage of the lax security, Athalia quickly kicks another guard to the ground, rendering him unconscious as well. To top it all off, Athalia steals a horse and rides out the front gate…right past 2 more guards who just stand and watch! You eeeeeeediots!

After this ‘daring’ escape, a squad of guards pursue Athalia into the surrounding forest. For some reason, Athalia’s horse stops and somehow topples down an incline. (Maybe it was suicidal.) This bizarre equestrian behavior allows a "tense" moment as a guard catches up to Athalia and is about to dispatch her. Fortunately for Athalia, an arrow flies out of nowhere and sinks into the guards chest at which time he does a somersault (!) and dies.

The source of the arrow is an attractive barbarian woman, Zarla, who is clad in an overburdened leather bikini top and mini-skirt. As Athalia gives her thanks, Zarla strips the guard’s body of valuables and leads Athalia along a dirt road to her hidden rebel village. Did I mention a dirt road? Good. Because you can see the tire tracks. I’m really trying to suspend disbelief but things like that just aint helpin’.

The village, probably named "Village of the Bad Perms", appears to be populated by a gaggle of sooty faced lads and lasses. The village matriarch, Erigena, a rather down-and-out looking leader with a terrible perm, doesn’t think Athalia has what it takes to be a member of the clan. Yeah, yeah, let’s just get the fight started already so we can see some boobs. After a couple of shoves, a full-out fist-fight breaks out between Athalia and Erigena. As luck would have it, heh heh, Erigena knocks over a barrel of water resulting in the world’s first mud-wrestling match. I kid you not. To add to the fun, both Athalia and Erigena’s tops are torn off in the scuffle treating the viewer to some gratuitous muddy-breast shots. (If you think this is gratuitous, watch the first "Barbarian Queen" film…yowza!)

Barbarian Queen 2

Village of the Bad Perms

Anyway, the two soiled combatants roll around for a while before Athalia lands a solid left-cross on Erigena’s chin, effectively ending the muddy melee.

Cut to see Hofrax and a group of soldiers harassing a pair of peasants in the forest. Why? To facilitate this ridiculous story line. (Note that the peasant’s cart is the same one used to carry Athalia to the gallows earlier in the film.) Anyway, the peasant girl runs off and is quickly overwhelmed by a trio of guards who promptly tear off her top (of course) and prepare to have their way with the helpless waif.

Fortunately for the young woman, a group of rebels lead by Athalia pop out of the bushes and surround the guards. Hofrax demands that the rebels drop their weapons and surrender. No dice. A ridiculous battle breaks out complete with crappy sword fights, rubber arrows, terribly timed punches, and everything that could possibly go wrong in a sword-fight sequence. Many times you can see the square pad under the actors’ shirts into which an off camera stage hand fires a plastic arrow. (These arrows then bend when the victims fall to the ground.) Just as the battle is getting heated, the guards ride off to alert the castle.

With a head-spinning jump cut we return to Rebel Village where Athalia is doing her damnedest to rally the villages to her side. With a luke-warm inspirational speech, Athalia unsurprisingly fires up the villagers’ ire and they pledge their allegiance to their new leader. What Athalia doesn’t know is that Hofrax is leading his own group of soldiers back into the forest the next morning to be rid of the rebels once and for all. Bet you can’t wait to see that battle, can you?

OK, let’s see. Athalia and Zarla are out hunting for food when they come across yet another hot leather-clad barbarian woman. (Where the hell do all these Barbarian Queen 2people hide from each other? And who does their hair?) Anyway, the stranger turns out to be a mute: a victim of Hofrax’s brutality. She pulls down a black scarf to reveal a long (fake) scar across her throat. Yadda Yadda. The trio make friends and Hot Mute Blonde (HMB), hoping for a bit of retribution somewhere down the line, joins the rebels.

The next day we see Hofrax, Aurion, and a group of Mexican bit actors herding a group of forlorn peasants along a forest road for some reason. Boy, it must be hell being a peasant in this district. How do they ever get anything done? Anyway, this time the film crew covered the dirt road in a thin layer of hay in order to hide the tire tracks in the soil, so that was a nice touch. This odd procession of Renaissance Festival rejects is brought to an abrupt halt when they notice Athalia blocking the road. Hofrax and Athalia exchange a few sharp jibes, for example,

Hofrax: "If you’re so fond of [the peasants] maybe you should join them.."

Athalia: "I was just thinking of asking them to join me."

Hofrax: "That’s the last thing you’ll ever ask of anyone!"

(Hofrax then sneers as the actor playing him struggles to get his sword out of the scabbard…and this guy is supposed to be Chief of Security…sure.)

Hofrax charges Athalia and suddenly, and most mysteriously, he becomes ensnared in a rope loop around his arms which yanks him off his horse and leaves him dangling from a tree limb. Unfortunately for the special effects crew, you can easily see the rope going into the back of his shirt and into a harness around his chest. In fact, the rope that he’s ostensibly hanging from is so loose that it eventually wriggles up and lays limply around his shoulders and neck. I really can’t over-emphasize how shoddy all of this is.

Oh boy. Another ludicrous sword fight between the peasants and the royal "guard".

Fight High Points:

Comedy Relief Rebel Woman (CRRW): a clumsy rebel who falls a lot and mumbles, "I’ll never get used to this," while dusting dirt off her rear end.

Lots of guards begin "impaled" by swords where you can plainly see the sword simply being shoved up under the actor’s armpit. I mean, it’s not even close!

Did I mention some of the profoundly worst choreographed swordplay I’ve ever seen?

Anyhoo, Aurion is knocked out and a captured, because, you know, he’s Athalia’s old boyfriend and all. Oh gee, Hofrax is captured as well. Why they simply don’t kill him is beyond me. Well, I guess the movie would end and we wouldn’t want that, now would we.

Back at the rebel village a victory celebration takes place where you can glimpse almost every Medieval movie cliche in the book. Over in a corner we see that Hofrax has been bound to a post where he awaits his fate. Athalia strolls over to the prisoner and asks him why he’s so afraid of women.

"I’m afraid of nothing…women are a waste of time," Hofrax snarls.

"Everyone has something that can destroy them," Athalia snaps back, "One night with me would be the end of you!"

Boy, if I had a dime for every time a woman said that to me…I’m telling ya.

After setting the record straight with Hofrax, Athalia has a few words with her ex-flame Aurion, who Barbarian Queen 2 has been released from his bounds and is strolling around the camp in slacks and button down shirt. (!)

To make a long story short: Aurion tries to convince Athalia that she should return to the castle. Athalia tries to convince Aurion that her cause is just. Aurion takes off Athalia’s bikini top and they have sex in woods.

After that touching scene, the two love birds return to the village square to see that the villagers have humiliated Hofrax by stripping him down to his underwear. Yeah, I guess that makes up for his regime’s years of brutal oppression, kidnapping, and murder. That’ll teach him a lesson. (If you listen to the laughter, you can easily discern that it’s the same 3 second audio clip looped over and over onto the soundtrack. What? Was it too expensive to have the extras actually laugh?) Ok, Aurion and Hofrax are tied up anew, sat atop a pair of horses, and sent back to the castle as a warning to Ankaris to stop the oppression.

Once again, just kill Hofrax when you have the chance! I hate this ‘Just Give Him A Warning This Time’ crap. Furthermore, they sent Hofrax back without even being blindfolded, so now they’ve just given away the location of their base camp! Stupid rebels.

Back at the castle we see Hofrax wrapped in a blanket getting his ass chewed out by Ankaris for being a numb-skull. (A justifiable ass-chewing if there ever was one.) In the course of the discussion Hofrax brings up the fact that Aurion seemed a bit too ‘kissy-kissy’ with the traitor Athalia. Aurion plays it cool and defends himself by noting that a prisoner has to do what is commanded. (Not always true, but we’ll let it slide Aurion.) Sensing Ankaris’s suspicion, Aurion reassures his lord that his allegiance lies with the kingdom. To test the jelly-spined Aurion, Hofrax "rewards" him by allowing him to carry out the first executions of rebel prisoners.

So much for the Send-Him-Back-And-Tell-The-King-To-Stop-Oppressing-Us plan, Athalia! Gee, the first thing they do is start executing rebels. Nice one. Well, the whole stupid thing is simply a trap to lure Athalia into the castle so she can be captured…so she can be tortured and show her breasts some more…so she can escape…so she can win in the end. I hope I’m not revealing too much here.

Well, since the rebels are pretty much a bunch of morons, they show up in the castle’s town square just as the execution’s are about to commence. Now, you’d think that the rebels would try to cover their identities just a bit since Hofrax was able to see their faces while being held prisoner at their camp. But do they do that here? Noooooooooo. They just show up in the town square as casual as ever. Needless to say, Hofrax spots them right off the bat.

Oh wait. It was only some of the rebels who showed up sans disguise. Athalia, Zarla, and Barbarian Queen 2HMB have disguised themselves as nuns. Apparently nuns in this region dress up in light-blue bed-sheets with pointy hoods…sort of like powder-puff blue Clan members.

"The sisters want to bless the prisoners," a knuckle-head guard reports to Aurion. Glancing down at the, <ahem>, nuns, Aurion realizes that it’s Athalia and the others incognito. Since he’s really a good guy at heart, Aurion allows them to pass through the perimeter and approach the condemned prisoners. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. One of the guards asks the "sisters" to bless his sword. (!) Athalia obliges but says that she can’t bless the sword unless she’s holding it. (Oh lord.) The guard hands his sword to Athalia and is promptly stabbed in gut for his troubles. (Do they have IQ requirements to be a member of the Royal Guard?)

Somehow everybody in the town square is suddenly armed with swords and they immediately commence to dispatching the hapless Guard left and right. The continuity in this battle scene is appalling. Guards appear and disappear on the gallows from scene to scene. Bodies appear on the ground where there were none just a second ago, and so on. As the rebels scramble out of the castle, a guard at the gates (who wasn’t there a second ago!) actually stands with his arms in the air waiting for the rebels to run up to him and stab him in the gut. This movie makes Python’s ‘The Holy Grail’ look like a National Geographic documentary! Ridiculous! Anyway, the rebels flee the castle but due to the lame script, Athalia is finally overcome and taken prisoner again. What I mean is, Athalia does everything possible to be captured so the story can continue. My head is starting to hurt at this point in the film.

Anyhoo, Hofrax imprisons Athalia in a dungeon and straps her to a rack. In order to give her a "taste of what’s to come", Hofrax grins and twists a wheel which presumably lengthens the rack and sends shock waves of agony down Athalia taut body. Well, this is how it’s supposed to work. In the film, the wrack doesn’t move an inch, and you can see that Athalia’s arms are bent nearly 90 degrees at the elbow, so I can’t really see how she’s ‘stretched’ at all. In fact, she looks more bored than anything. True to form, Hofrax also takes this opportunity to rip off Athalia’s top and treat the viewer to more boobage.

Despite this excruciating, <cough> torture, Athalia refuses to divulge the Secret of the Scepter. (Yes, remember that from the first 2 minutes of the movie?) Hofrax takes his leave and goes up to eat dinner, giving Athalia some time to ponder her fate. Apparently the village idiot was responsible for tying Athalia to the rack because she wriggles her hands free in about 2 seconds and quickly slips out of the dungeon. Needless to say, since it’s one of Hofrax’s dungeons, the door is unguarded.

With a brand new leather bikini-top safely in place (where the hell did she get that from?!), Athalia makes her way through the unguarded castle hallways to the Scepter Chamber. Alas, Athalia is afraid to use the Scepter’s power to save her skin because of the idiotic side-effect that the power will kill her father if he’s still alive. (!) (That has got to be the
lamest plot device I’ve ever heard of. OK. One of the lamest.) After agonizing over what to do for a few seconds, Hofrax bursts into the Scepter Chamber and recaptures the desperate rebel. (And the point of this scene was…?)

In a hilarious edit, we immediately jump cut from the Scepter Chamber to see Athalia rebound on the rack…bare breasted yet again. Man, I will say that they do give you a lot of eye-candy in this film.

Moving right along…Hofrax has had enough BS and tells Aurion to dispatch a group of soldiers to the rebel camp to deal with them once and for all. This mighty military force consists of 4 mounted soldiers and 8 soldiers on foot. (What, they couldn’t spare 8 more horses for the poor soldiers that now have to jog behind the horses all the way to the rebel encampment…while wearing full armor?) Note that the number of soldiers being sent out this time is the same as it was the last time the guards got their asses kicked, so you would think that Hofrax would send, oh, I don’t know, a thousand soldiers this time. But no. I guess they couldn’t afford the extras. Don’t worry. Aurion is a good guy, so he sends the guards to wrong location.

Meanwhile, back in the dungeon, Tamis the Brat puts a poisonous spider on Athalia’s arm. (A tarantula, of course.) Now things get a little hard to follow. The spider supposedly bites Athalia’s arm, so I guess she has just a few days to live. We cut to the throne room to hear that Athalia’s father, the King, is returning…so that’s, uh, a bad thing for Ankaris because he can’t be ruler anymore or something.

Oh gee. Jump cut to outside the castle to see Comedy Relief Women, Hot Mute Blonde, Zarla, and a couple peasant dudes hiding in plain sight (literally), trying to figure out how to break into the castle and rescue Athalia.

Barbarian Queen 2

You can’t see us: we’re hiding.

Anyway, the rebel rescue squad manages to sneak into the dungeon and release Athalia. Oh yes…Aurion tags along too because, you know, he’s really a good guy and loves Athalia. We never get to see the rescue scene, of course, simply because it’s so implausible that the writers just decided to skip over the whole mess and simply cut back to the rebel camp.

Hey, Ankaris…maybe you should review ‘Ye Oulde Security Procedures’. Dipstick.

Tamis, heart-broken that her future husband Aurion has defected to the rebels, casts a spell on herself that transforms her into a grown woman. Swearing to avenge Aurion’s betrayal, Tamis heads out to the rebels in her new body. (You know what I mean. Please don’t ask me to go back and re-watch that sequence. Please.)

Moving right along, we go back to the rebel camp. (Back and forth, back and forth…la la la dee da dee da…) Athalia has partially recovered from the spider bite and Aurion tells her the news that her father is in fact alive and heading back to the castle. (Where was the King? How long has he been gone? Why was he away? How about a little back story…anybody? Hello? Can anybody hear me? Is this thing on?)

OK, I think I have to move this along a bit. Athalia recovers with the aid of some good food and a little lovin’ from Aurion. We now learn that Comedy Relief Woman is named Noki. Thanks.

Unfortunately, a group of the King’s soldiers pulls into the camp and reports that Athalia’s father is actually dead. (Oh brother…whatever.) When you recover from the trauma of hearing that news, you can rejoice in the fact that Athalia has accepted her duties as the new Queen and is to lead the rebel forces in Barbarian Queen 2battle against Ankaris the very next day. (In a hilarious bit you can see that one of the extras in the crowd of rebels pumps his hand in the air and begins to cheer before Athalia finishes her speech. The other extras mumble something to him and he embarrassingly puts down his arms. I really love catching screw-ups like that. Makes all the pain worthwhile.)

The next scene shows the rebels practicing their sword skills in preparation for the upcoming battle with Ankaris’s forces. Athalia notes that the rebels are "growing stronger every day." I think that’s rather odd since in the previous scene she said they would be marching against the castle "at dawn". Nice continuity.

Later that night we see that Tamis has infiltrated the camp. Even though Athalia was supposedly cured of the venom, she is now back in bed and delirious with fever. Because of the venom she unwittingly mutters the final stanza of the Secret of the Scepter, which, unsurprisingly, Tamis just happens to overhear. Fortunately, Aurion recognizes Tamis (don’t ask, please) and she is captured. Instead of killing her (won’t they ever learn?!), Athalia orders Tamis to be dressed up in rebel garb (i.e., leather bikini-top and mini skirt) and forces her to accompany the rebels on the assault.

Later that day, the King’s guards approach the castle while the rebels hide in the woods. After showing Hofrax the King’s body, the gates are opened so the body can be brought inside the castle. Of course, this is all just a ruse, and the rebels immediately storm the gates and, due to Hofrax’s continued lack of any common sense, gain entrance to the castle without a single casualty.

By the way, a quick cut-away shot shows Tamis has slipped her rebel guards and makes her way into the castle’s keep. Since she possesses the Secret of the Scepter this could spell doom for the rebels. So, if I may ask..why the hell don’t they kill prisoners that can irrevocably tip the balance against them? I hate hate hate hate this crap!

Imagine the lamest sword-fight sequence you’ve ever seen. Now multiply it by one thousand. You’re getting close to Barbarian Queen 2.

As usual, the castle’s keep seems to be wide open and unguarded. But shit, Hofrax, maybe you’re right…why not leave it unguarded? Why start guarding critical areas now, eh? Athalia and Aurion make their way to the Scepter Room with only token resistance. For some reason most of the guards they encounter are Barbarian Queen 2carrying spears which don’t seem very useful when fighting in a corridor which is 3-feet wide. But then again, Hofrax is in charge, so I guess it makes sense.

Oh brother. The final sword battle between Athalia and Hofrax. Yes, it’s just as lame as the others. The only redeeming factor is that one of the combatants is Lana Clarkson in a leather bikini.

Ah yes. Tamis finally reaches the Scepter Room with the Secret of the Scepter. Unfortunately Tamis’s father, Ankaris, is also there (why?), and mistakes her for a rebel because she’s still in adult form. Before she can reveal the truth, Ankaris cuts her down with his sword. According to the rules of magic, Tamis reverts back to her child form and Ankaris realizes what he’s done. (Oh…the irony, eh?)

Almost done, folks.

Athalia kills Hofrax. Big surprise.

In the Scepter Room, Athalia discovers that Ankaris has killed himself out of grief, so yes, ok, I guess Barbarian Queen 2the Scepter is hers now. Yea. She takes the mighty Scepter, ascends a castle wall and addresses the victorious rebel army. (Huh? Did they win? When did that happen? Oh…never mind.)

"It has always been magic that has kept our rulers in power, instead of the grace of those they rule. But that is the real magic. When the people believe in someone enough to trust their lives to them. That is the only magic that rule this kingdom from this day on!"

To top off this rousing speech, and to prove her point, whatever that may be, Athalia tosses the Scepter to the crowd. So, I guess her point is that all power, no matter if it is the power to do good, is bad? What the hell is the point, Athalia?!

To be honest, I don’t give a rat’s ass because this stupid movie is over and I’m going to have a couple of beers and try to get over all this.

Dennis Grisbeck (Feb 2011)

Afterthoughts

OK, I know that the makers of this film weren’t out to win an Oscar.

Still, c’mon. This was bad.

Lana Clarkson is of course beautiful and a damn good sport about the whole thing.

Still, c’mon. This was bad.

No. That wasn’t a "cut and paste" mistake.

This movie is bad.

Read more about Barbarian Queen 2: The Empress Strikes Back at

IMDB

6 comments to Barbarian Queen 2: The Empress Strikes Back (1992)

  • Guts3d

    Wow, this sounds like a stinker to look for in the bargain bin. Nice review! I too have noticed tire tracks in barbarian times, I guess aliens didn’t have U.F.O.’s back then they used cars to spy on us.

  • Good review of a bad movie that I’ve been unable to sit through. :)

  • So…not even Lana Clarkson could make this movie watchable for you?

  • Sadly, no. Now if it had been Sandahl Bergman, well… that’s another story altogether.

  • Guts3d

    Still no luck in the bargain bin… I wonder if it is on one of those 50 movie compilations that are so popular now…

  • GAPeach

    Good Lords! I watched this one AFTER I read your review, Dennis. (Yes. Self flagellation is alive and well around these here parts.) Anyhow, let me tell you, it was awful, awful, awful. Even Lana Clarkson wasn’t enough to carry me through it. And I swear, if I hear the oft repeated laugh track (“haaah ha haah, haaah ha haah”) ONE more time, I’ll just go ahead and “publicly execute” the telly. Oh, wait… That’ll only mean said telly will make this daring escape, find a leather bikini top to wear, go join the rebels in the forest… Never mind.

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