Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

A sequel to the classic ‘Barbarian Queen’?  Who knew?  Well actually it’s not a sequel at all to ‘Barbarian Queen’ but with seven years passing and since our star has a skill set which doesn’t necessarily improve with time, somebody somewhere decided to put the late Ms. Clarkson in some inappropriate lambskin and another Sword and Sorcery movie and figured the best way to get their movie noticed was to ride the ‘coattails’ of ‘Barbarian Queen’.  Crazy, I know.  In case you don’t remember, ‘Barbarian Queen’ was awful, but due to a heavy reliance on nudity and suspect action, it was still somewhat entertaining.  ‘Barbara Queen II: The Empress Strikes Back’ is also awful, also features some extremely suspect battle sequences and relies heavily on the breasts of Lana Clarkson to fill in the gaps.  I would like to tell you that this is an awful strategy when it comes to making a movie, but sadly… I cannot tell you this. 

In the Kingdom of Wherever, the great king has died in battle.  Allegedly.  Thus his successor Ankaris (Alejandro Bracho) is ready to take the reigns, but he needs Princess Athalia (Clarkson) to pass over the Staff of Magical Wonder to him.  I’m a little confused about how this staff works.  Apparently the staff makes whomever controls it invincible.  The current dead king controls the staff I guess, and if Athalia says the Magical Poem, thus releasing the power, the king will be dead for real.  But he shouldn’t be dead at all, right?  Regardless, Athalia won’t do this, Ankaris is pissed, his right hand man and King’s Guard Horfax (Roger Cudney) is pissed, and more importantly Ankaris’ phenomenally bratty twelve year daughter Tamis (Cecilia Tijerina) is pissed.  So they are just going to hang Athalia at daybreak, meaning the Amazing Staff of Power will just float until perpetuity. 

Fortunately the king’s guards suck total ass, Athalia breaks free on her way to the gallows, and she joins the outlying rebel army.  Of course not all the rebels like the princess in their midst which results in a fight.  How convenient is it that a big barrel of water got knocked over in the dirt, creating a perfect mush pit ideal for some topless mud wrestling.  Go figure.  Victorious with her bare chest heaving, the rebels have a new leader. 

Then there is the ambitious pretty boy in Aurion (Greg Wrangler) who got left behind at the castle, now slated to marry the bratty twelve year old when she grows up, but who still pines away in love for Athelia even though she doesn’t love him, or so he thought, until with bare chest heaving they consummate their love in the open grass for everybody to see.
The rebels have made inroads, but the evil Horfax has a plan to lure Athelia back to the castle so he can torture her and force her to mumble the Magical Poem to release the Grand Staff of Magical Magic.  In the first Barbarian Queen, Ms. Clarkson was stretched out on a rack topless while some loon palmed her titties.  Why screw with a formula that obviously works?  Heaving bare chests shall ensue.

Awful.  Simply awful.  However… and this is the key… ‘Simply Awful’ was our baseline of expectation for this movie.  So when we adjust it with the baseline in place it’s BRILLIANT!   What makes ‘Barbarian Queen’ awful?  The same things that plagued the first film, but maybe more so since this one seemed to have even lower production, if that’s even possible, a more incoherent story and even worse acting.  But while the acting was atrocious, we must say that Greg Wrangler looked like freaking Marlon Brando in comparison to Frank Zagarino in the first movie, even though he lacked Zagarino’s awesome Man-Boobs.  The fight sequences were pathetic, mostly consisting of folks with swords that seem to made out of cardboard, hitting other cardboard swords around three times, then on the fourth time moving that cardboard to the side so the other person can hit them with their sword so they can fall over and pretend to be dead.  If you were to take the individual components of ‘Barbarian Queen II’ and analyze the separately, you might easily come to the conclusion that this could theoretically be the worst movie ever made.  But fortunately for us it doesn’t work like that.

Combine all the elements, and yes it’s still an awful movie, but the sum is greater than its parts.  Lana Clarkson, topless, strung up on a rack… again… works in this movie.  The awful but chaotic fight scenes work in this movie, medieval mud wrestling… well that probably doesn’t work, but we see where director Joe Finley was going with that, using dirt and mud, often associated with women and menial cleaning duties, but this time used for female liberation, thus lifting female oppression through the use of that often used to oppress!  Genius?  I bet you didn’t see that the first around.  And there’s the lovely Elizabeth A. Jaeger as the clumsy, comic relief character of Noki, probably the hottest woman in this movie, and her sheer brilliance in this movie.  Sadly Miss Jaeger had a short acting career according the Database, appearing only in this movie and some Playboy short back in 1992.  A shame.  Truly a shame.  You would think a tall, good looking woman with long flowing brunette locks and a penchant for getting naked could find work pretty easy. 

So sure, ‘Barbarian Queen II: The Empress Strikes Back’ isn’t a good movie, but if you watch low budget, exploitative, 80’s-90’s sword and sorcery flicks… and you know you do… then this is can’t miss stuff.  And you know it is.

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