When last we left our heroes…… a gimpy slave had run away from home, a slutty rogue had stuck around after a roll in the hay went further than expected, a night watch man had a life debt still to pay off and a cleric had settled for the only party she could find. They had fought a dragon and angered the pimps guild all while Kevin Sorbo wandered around lost in the background and an evil guy tried to find all the parts to Exodia the forbidden one. Now the story continues in………………
We open with things going well for the group as adventures have been had, training taken and band names settled upon. Just because they’ve finally settled on a name however doesn’t mean that everything is going smooth for our intrepid adventurers. The fighter is clashing with the Cleric over how strict her vow of celibacy really needs to be, the rogue is getting frustrated that the apprentice with the power to suck out peoples souls is prioritising her training rather than jumping in bed with him and the titular Necromancer is closing in on the third piece of the darkspore. After bailing Kevin Sorbo out of an ambush he rewards our lead with promise of more training if she sits in a bush and waits for him to come back from his thrilling quest against the forces of darkness. Now she would have listened but that would make for a pretty boring movie so she decides to head into town and hide down the pub with her friends. Unfortunately the fighter and the Cleric have just got done doing the nasty and so must be punished by the Gods. This is done through an attack from the guild of prostitutes who whack him on the back of the head and drag him off to torture him for the silly ending to the last movie. The gang bust in to kick ass and chew gum but unfortunately after a pretty good entrance realise that they still have a pack and a half left to go and so they decide to take a job offer instead. Now partnered with ‘the bug whisperer’ they must track down a missing shipment of drugs and thus our “adventure” begins.
From here they must journey to war zones and, yes, whore houses to track down a man called ‘the Eel’. Where does this link in with the titular Necromancer well you’ll have to watch to find out and watch and watch ‘cos it doesn’t marry up till pretty much the end as they drop the rather formulaic rpg adventure module this movie is apparently based upon for a link back to the big epic narrative. Now you’d think I’d be lamenting the run of the mill sword and sorcery heroics instead of the movie focusing on the main plot but in truth this may be the best in the series thus far. Though that is coming from a guy who’se read Conan, Fafhard and the Grey Mouser and generally preferred ‘ The Hobbit’ to the ‘Lord of the Rings’; books not movies of course. The first movie struggled to set things up and get the group together while the second fell on its face when someone told it, it had to be ‘epic’. This one seemed like the first in the series to simply be trying to do its own thing. Now sure if you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what’s going to happen to the world of Mythica and how the evil Necromancer Zork will be stopped once and for all then you may get a bit bored with this tale but personally I found the cod “epic” fantasy a bit of a bore and the more low fantasy questing seemed like a more natural fit for the budget anyway.
Now some of the characterisation seemed a little off like the rogue suddenly deciding to give up his slutty ways while our lead is apparently oblivious that she fancied him to begin with giving the whole thing the faint air of Quantum Leap as Sam tries to piece together just who he is this week to avoid blowing his cover before he manages to put right what once went wrong. But other than that the acting was decent with new comer bug man fitting in well and managing to give a darkness and evilness to the character without coming across as too pantomime. The fight scenes are better handled and it seems they realise this too dropping a few more in this time around rather than going back to plodding walking shots through scenery porn. The effects are still on the same kind of level but handled a bit better than before linking back to the low epic nature of the party on a drug run for a local crime boss. If you’ve seen the last few movies you probably know what to expect though bear in mind that we’re entering the standard middle of any fantasy tale where things get dark and depressing, though it doesn’t over do it, with all the darkness seeming to serve the story. If you haven’t seen them before then we might just have passed the point where you can easily jump on though in truth you haven’t missed all that much and you can probably figure it out if you put your mind to it.
The new director strives a little too hard to leave his mark through slow-mo and the liberal use of transitions that make you think you’re telly is on the fritz though in truth he’s decent and he seems to have freed up the writer to focus a little more on pacing and arc. In short I hope for more of this in the final run down to the end.