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There are very few great films about a man from the real world being “zapped” in to a video game. The Dungeonmaster (aka Ragewar: The Challenges of Excalibrate) ain’t on that list. Heck, it ain’t even in the same time zone.
When a film with a overall run time of about 76 minutes (including credits) starts out with more slow-motion than a season finale of Baywatch, you know yer in trouble. And did I mention Dungeonmaster has seven directors? Well, it has seven directors.
Our hero is computer nerd Paul—the flick starts with his slow-motion dream of waking up in a lab, covered in all kinds of medical scanners and probes. Some may call that a nightmare, but me, I jus’ call that a Tuesday after lunch.
Paul chases a film cliché–I mean a lady in a red dress—through some kind of complex, and ‘bout a minute later, we see her naked. So, I’ll give Dungeonmaster this: they make quick with the boobies. Paul gets ready to do the horizontal mambo with the lady in red, when a bunch of ogres crash the party. Sounds like prom night in Middle-Earth to me. Maybe the ogres were summoned by the lady in red’s One Promise Ring?
With the dream over, Paul, with giant 80s glasses, awakes at his desk. We’re treated to some background about Paul being a super-smart computer programmer as well as his pair of short shorts. No lie. He runs home from work. Or he’s just a show off. Even bet, I guess. If I had his legs, I’d sure as hell show ‘em off—they’d look great over my fireplace. And by fireplace, I mean the crack in the wall of my cell the glowing cockroaches crawl through.
Speaking of computers, Paul has his brain hooked up to his computer—Cal. “She” talks to him, and Paul’s movie screen sized glasses act as computer screens. Computers in you brain? I had a bad enough time with the radio transmitters in my teeth. Never underestimate the value of a good pair of pliers—or spandex. What? Ah, well we’re treated to a scene of Paul’s lady, Gwen, doing aerobics with a gaggle of gals at the gym.
Gwen is jealous of Cal—despite Paul’s wanting to be married. To Gwen. Not the computer. I know, it gets complicated.
And from there, the couple gets zapped into…uh…somewhere, because it don’t look like no computer I’ve ever been in. The evil wizard, Mestema, has taken Paul and Gwen to his realm for, what else, a challenge! Let’s back up though—Mestema is played by TV’s Richard Moll. Y’know, Bull on Night Court? He nails the creepy villain part.
Paul is forced to survive seven challenges—or “levels” if you prefer. Mestema is really into cosplay, because he’s given Gwen a damsel in distress outfit, and Paul some fancy leather armor, with a wrist version of Cal–which pretty much solves all the riddles and blasts all the baddies.
And there are baddies: angry dwarves, zombies, demons, a stone giant—the list goes on. One high point in a later challenge which features Mestema’s frozen rogues gallery, which includes the likes of Jack the Ripper, the Wolf-Man, the Mummy and Einstein. Yep.
And an even higher point is a level in which Paul faces off against the band W.A.S.P. This follows a scene in which Mestema treats Paul to some Phillip Glass-like torture (which is a Thursday for me). Yes, Blackie Lawless and the boys are playing a gig, and Paul has to save Gwen from the wicked ways.
Double horns, baby.
While it ain’t Tron, The Last Starfighter, or even Tron: Legacy, Dungeonmaster does have its moments. It features some fun old school special effects by Dave Allen (Equinox, The Howling), which makes it worth a watch on its own. Plus, there’s boobs within the first two minutes (and a few more scattered throughout the film). Tiger says, give this one a watch.
Check out the trailer for “The Dungeonmaster”