“Dar… the gods have put that mark on you, and someday, you’ll find out why. ‘Til then, this mark will be your guide. My sword and my caber will be your trusted companions. Protect Emur, your home. And if anything should happen to me, look for our enemies, the Juns… and you may search for your destiny in the Valley of Aruk.”
The 1980s was a heyday for Fantasy films bringing such classics as Conan The Barbarian (1982), Ladyhawk (1985), and Krull (1983). One of the franchises that got its start in the ‘80s was The Beastmaster franchise. That franchise spawned three films and a TV show. I have seen all three films but I only saw a few episodes of the TV show. Let’s talk about the films.
Starring Marc Singer as Dar the Beastmaster, and supported by Tanya Roberts, John Amos, and Rip Torn; The Beastmaster is a high-budget fantasy, action film. The plot revolves around Dar, who has the ability to communicate with animals, with his animal and human companion taking on an evil priest and his cult in a quest for revenge for the death of his father and the destruction of his village.
The Beastmaster is a fun ride. Dar sneaks, with the help of his ferret friend, and fights, with the help of his eagle and black lion, his way through the evil priest’s cult. I really liked this film when I was younger and have watched it a few times. I have not seen it recently so I can’t say how it holds up, but it is mostly filled with practical effects and simple sets so I would expect it to hold up reasonably well. I recommend checking it out.
In Beastmaster 2, Marc Singer returns as Dar and is joined by Kari Wuhrer and Sarah Douglas. This was also fairly high budget but is ultimately a b-movie in quality. The plot is pretty simple Dar must prevent his evil brother from bringing a nuclear bomb back from a parallel universe, which just happens to be 1991 America, and turning Dar’s home into a radioactive wasteland.
I don’t remember Beastmaster 2 very well. I have seen it but I can’t remember if I saw it in theaters like I did the first film, or if I saw it on video tape or DVD. It is pretty cheesy but enjoyable. If you like cheesy fantasy with lots of action then you should check this film out.
Marc Singer returns again to play Dar in Beastmaster 3. He stars with Tony Todd, Keith Coulouris, and Casper Van Dien in this made-for-TV movie. This movie was low-budget and pretty rough. The plot involves is fair convoluted but involves Dar trying to save his brother Tal from another empire and prevent that empire from getting control of The Eye of Braxus.
This movie is bad. The story is needlessly complex. The production values are definitely low. And I am of the opinion that this film was made just to generate interest in the franchise again before the launch of the TV series. I can’t recommend it.
So after that is said above, check out the first movie, The Beastmaster, and skip the other two.