In a quest to unleash his father upon Earth, Satan's son (Julian Sands) returns in search of seven scattered runestones. A reign of terror is left in the Warlock's wake as he acquires the rocks from their hapless, present day owners. The final stone rests in the hands of the Druid descendants of the original keepers. The family's warriors, a teenage couple, are the only ones that stand between the Warlock and a Hades reality with their newly discovered ethereal abilities.
Steve Miner's Warlock (1989) was a genuine surprise. A fluid genre picture with a welcomingly heavy reliance on its creative fantasy aspects that never once becomes boring. Unfortunately, Anthony Hickox's retread strips much of the quaint mythology in favor of a straightforward "horror" follow-up to its own detriment. That doesn't sound too bad, but it's obvious the increase in blood was an easy-way-out response to a budget several million less than the first. In fact, the first scene featuring the Warlock, in which he's forcefully reborn from a woman who possesses the "birth stone", features way more gooey grue than in all of the first film. Warlock's inventive use of ancient lore is also handicapped here and usually acts another excuse for some blood.
Julian Sands is back in the titular role, again turning on the cold menace, just to lesser impact given the more show than tell of his evil deeds. The reliable father of Crispin, Bruce Glover, shows up in another priest role helping the young Druids in their combat. Everyone else is the usual muddling talking wallpaper for such a production; although George "Buck" Flower and Zach Galligan of Hickox's Waxwork have one line walk-ons.
Though the actors don't worsen the bloody ho-hum; the painful lack of funds often distracts. The town that the protagonist Druids inhabit, an obvious "western town" studio backlot with a wide main street and large wooden buildings, is appropriately redressed to look modern. There's even a bit of gun standoff with the Warlock at the climax as a wink to the set's real purpose. The scant optical effects are solid like in the prior film, but the introduction of some clunky early '90s CG is an eyesore. Ulitmately, Armageddon is merely a passable time waster despite lacking that fun spark that made the Miner/Twohy film perpetually entertaining.
As stated before, Trimark's Warlock DVD features a poor unmatted full frame transfer. The now Lionsgate merged distributor boosts the specs of Armageddon with an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen presentation. Problem is the image is so relentlessly soft and drab that objects kinda "clump" together. A great example of a weak 16x9 transfer from the DVD format's early days. The film's trailer and "hidden" trailer for Vincenzo Natali's Cube (where's the Blu-ray?) are the only extras. Don't expect a new edition of Armageddon, the sealed copy I viewed was in one of those recent and annoying reduced plastic, eco-bullshit cases.