The Beastmaster - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Beastmaster Reviews

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September 28, 2014
Eighties Conan retread cheese that only developed a cult following when it reran so much on cable HBO stood for "Hurry Beastmater's on!"
August 30, 2014
If you're a fan of the genre there is a good chance you'll enjoy this.
The effects and some of the camera work are creative plus, and this might be an odd thing to point out but the movie really shows how well trained the animals are, especially the panther!
July 23, 2014
Pese a sus evidentes carencias (que 32 años después son más evidentes), la película sigue siendo muy divertida. Cien por ciento palomera.
July 16, 2014
Beastmaster is an odd case, in that it's one of those movies that's bad before it gets good, but even then, it's not as good as it could be. The plot and characters are fairly weak, and the names for some of these characters are ridiculous, as though their trying way too hard to follow the Conan the Barbarian formula. The production values also look a little cheap, but the special effects aren't bad. There are some areas about the plot that make no sense, even after your suspension of disbelief. For example, how are two ferrets able to use a tree to save the main character from a puddle of quicksand? Though the film has its flaws, this film is about action, and it certainly delivers in that area, culminating in a fiery explosion near the end of the film. Overall, it's silly at times, but it's so silly, that it's actually funny, and that alone makes up for some of the film's weaker areas. I'd watch it just for a laugh. After all, there's nothing wrong with a film that you can poke fun at.
½ July 3, 2014
Don Coscarelli is definitely a favorite filmmaker of mine as his Phantasm is one of my all time favorite horrors. He is very clever and inventive and achieves a lot on a small budget. Beastmaster is the largest budgeted film he has made so far in his career with a modest, even by 1982 standards, $8 million price tag... and maybe that's why, to me it's his least satisfying. The film has a bit of a cult following and I do feel it has it's entertainment value but, it's simply my least favorite of his works and in my opinion his least inspired. Maybe it's because I had seen the bigger budgeted and far more blood-thirsty Conan The Barbarian just a few months earlier and was disappointed by this tame PG rated fare or maybe Coscarelli's off kilter style just didn't fit with a more mainstream 'Hollywood' fantasy production. Whatever the reason, upon a recent re-visit, after not having seen it in literally decades, I find my opinion really hasn't changed that much even with some added 80s nostalgia.

Coscarelli's first film after Phantasm tells the story of a warrior named Dar (Marc Singer) who was prophesied before birth to be the one to bring down the power hungry Jun high priest Maax (Rip Torn). Dar was stolen from his mother's womb by one of Maax's witch servants to be sacrificed but, is saved from death by a traveling villager (Ben Hammer) who then raises him as his own. When he comes to manhood, his village is destroyed by the Jun Horde and only Dar, who has had the ability to communicate with animals since birth, survives. Now the young warrior sets out on a path of vengeance to destroy the Juns and their leader along with a black tiger, an eagle and two thieving ferrets. During his quest he finds human allies in the warrior Seth (John Amos) and deposed king's son Tal (Josh Milrad) along with a love interest in the beautiful slave girl Kiri (Tanya Roberts). But, with his band of two and four legged friends, will it be enough to defeat the sorcerer-like Maax and his horde of vicious warriors?

At almost 2 hours, Beastmaster has a rather moderate pace and despite some inventive touches, from the script Coscarelli co-wrote with Paul Pepperman, the plot is a little too close to the high profile Schwarzenegger sword and sorcery flick released just a few months earlier. And despite the healthy budget in comparison to Coscarelli's previous films, it seems to attempt a little too much on it's modest funds and looks rather cheap like a TV movie or Saturday morning TV show episode. There are some interesting fantasy characters and inventive touches and ideas throughout but, the film on a whole, is slow moving and really doesn't liven up till the final confrontation with the Jun Horde in a battle involving a flaming moat. Till then the action is rather routine and there isn't much excitement in the fight choreography. The acting across the board is also rather flat and the main characters never really become all that endearing or involving except for the animals, especially the two ferrets who steal the film from basically everybody. The FX are adequate but, many look cheesy, especially by today's standards, and the forgettable score by Lee Holdridge doesn't help either. Coscarelli just doesn't seem suited to the Fantasy genre as the film never even achieves that quirky energy or off-beat sense of humor that his horror films are famous for. It's a watchable film and the 80s charm does kick in a bit but, it's a very routine movie from a very inventive filmmaker. Very forgettable from a man whose other movies are anything but.

As stated, the human cast are very flat. Marc Singer is a well-built enough hero but, he never really exudes the kind of charm or intensity that a hero of this type of film needs... especially when compared to Arnie's Conan or Lee Horsley's Talon from The Sword And The Sorcerer which also came out a few months earlier and had far more fun with the genre and it's story. Roberts is very pretty but, again, really doesn't give her Kiri much life or make her memorable other then some brief nudity in a bathing scene. The usually reliable Rip Torn is a completely generic and dull villain with his Maax never exuding much threat especially when we can't get past his unnecessary prosthetic nose and the cute skull beads in his braided hair. A strong villain would have helped here a lot but, Maax is simply lame and never appears imposing or all that dangerous. The rest of the cast including TV vet John Amos don't fare much better and some lively performances of a delightfully over the top manner would have helped greatly. Coscarelli got good work out of villainous Angus Scrimm and delightful Reggie Bannister in the Phantasm films so, not sure what happened here. The animals out perform the humans in every scene.

So, I respect those who honor this as an underrated cult classic and I can't say the film is not worth a look. There are some entertaining sequences, especially during the last act but, the film just simply lacks the quirky energy and devious fun of Coscarelli's other movies and it sure could have used either Conan The Barbarian's intensity and blood lust or The Sword And The Sorcerer's over the top, tongue in cheek approach. It's now got some 80s nostalgia to help it along but, best scenes still involve the beasts and the film simply takes itself a bit too seriously and the PG rating really holds back on the more exploitive and fun elements it could have used. Possibly the least unique film from a filmmaker whose career is filled with unique and entertaining flicks.
April 23, 2014
Every bit as amazing as I remember from the hundreds of times I watched it in the 80s and 90s.
January 29, 2014
42%? Fuck you Rotten Tomatoes! The Beastmaster is an awesome fantasy adventure based off the sci-fi works of Andre Norton! He's Conan The Barbarian with the power to talk to animals! It is a great sword and sorcery movie! But I guess unless Peter Jacksons or Harry Potter are involved, critics don't like fantasy fims. Eat a dick Rotten Tomatoes!
½ January 15, 2014
I enjoyed it more when I watched it as a kid but it's a pretty good movie!
November 20, 2013
Purely for the name.
August 9, 2013
What this adventure lacks in big-budget production it makes up for with heart.
July 25, 2013
yo thats ma favouritete movieous i give all
May 21, 2013
This is a movie i grew up with and was terrified of that pregnant scene as a child
½ April 16, 2013
Granted, the plot is not always the most complicated one around. But hey, it's sword and sorcerers! Who cares about unexpected plot devices? This movie has beautiful damsels in distress, it has love, it has a bit of horror, it has fast paced action, it has a good score with a catchy theme. All that is needed in this genre.
½ March 31, 2013
This movie has got it all. You have Marc Singer in a loin cloth and tiara, Rip Torn throwing children into a pit of fire, and a tiger dyed black. Unfortunately the tiger died two years later from skin complications. Members of PETA might wanna skip this one.
This movie was played so often on TBS and HBO that they were dubbed "The Beastmaster Station" and "Hey, Beastmaters On".
A must watch for any fantasy fan.
February 11, 2013
Ridiculousness. Spoiler alert, it all ends with baby ferrets.
½ February 9, 2013
Reminds me of growing up during this reintroduction of the sword-and-epic adventure fantasy movies. It is completely ridiculous in nearly every aspect that director Don Coscarelli (PHANTASM) has at his disposal, which is confounding b/c you clearly can see how they geared this for a younger audience (8 - 15 year old males probably) and at times does so astonishingly well enough considering this was the early '80s and clearly not a huge budget production, but there are enough production dollars there....though at times you can't tell what they spent it on. Rip Torn is in this. Um...yeah that's good. Lots of bad aspects that also get real weird at times such as seeing John Amos get geared up in bondage for a fight scene on a pyramid and a tar moat that explodes during the climax. Oh and the hero walks around with telepathic powers between an eagle, a black tiger and two ferrets. I don't understand how you could not want to watch this so-bad-it's-good movie based on that previous sentence alone.
½ December 12, 2012
I enjoyed it, even if it was a bit too long.
½ November 21, 2012
Really great actually!!
October 29, 2012
I want a black tiger
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