Movie Recap: The Beastmaster (1982)

The Beastmaster was a TV fixture in the early 90’s. I remembered beefcake and ferrets but forgot the storyline. Turns out the plot is basic good versus evil with a dose of animal cruelty and misogyny. If you can stomach that you’ve got a decent sword and sorcery film with tense battles and a clever hook. Marc Singer and his animal friends have the charisma to carry a grim story. Things get goofier in the sequels. Read on for spoiler filled recaps.

Act One: Coming of Age

Scene One: Palace
CRONES: The King’s baby will kill you.
VILLAIN: Not if we kill him first.
(A Crone smuggles the baby out of town inside a cow (?) and attempts to sacrifice it. A passing Farmer stabs the Crone and takes the baby home.)

Scene Two: Forest. Years Later.
BEAR: Roar! (Bear attacks a villager.)
BOY: ‘Sup.
BEAR: Roar?
BOY: We cool?
BEAR: Roar. (Bear walks away.)

Scene Three: Farm. Years Later.
(Marc Singer is introduced sliding down a rope in a short tunic and leather briefs.)
MARC SINGER: You’re welcome.
DOG: Woof!
MARC SINGER: What’s wrong?
(Barbarians ransack his village, killing everyone. Even the dog. Singer is unable to save them.)

Act Two: Animal Friends

Scene Four: Forest
(Singer strips to a loin cloth.)
MARC SINGER: You get what you paid for.
(Ferrets steal his loin cloth leaving him in… a smaller loin cloth. He saves the Ferrets from drowning in quicksand.)
FERRETS: How many ferrets died filming this scene?
EAGLE: Caw.
MARC SINGER: Caw?
(Eagle leads him to a Puma being hunted. Marc kills the hunters.)  
ME: If I recap this film, am I endorsing animal cruelty?
PUMA: You’re drawing attention to it. Besides, I know you’ll keep watching for Marc Singer’s thighs.
ME: I could recap that stripper film Singer did instead.
PUMA: It’s not currently online. And the plot was re-used in Magic Mike.
MARC SINGER: Folks, can we get back to Beastmaster?

Scene Five: Waterfall
HEROINE: You’ve had your beefcake. Now for some cheesecake.
(She swims naked in a pond. Marc has Ferrets steal her clothes and Puma frighten her.)
HEROINE: That’s pretty gross Marc.
GIANT BATS: Surprise! We’re going to eat you!
EAGLE: Caw!
GIANT BATS: Let them go? Okay, if you say so Eagle.

Act Three: Big Battle

Scene Six: Palace
VILLAIN: The movie’s getting boring. Let’s skip ahead. I’m going to sacrifice the royal family to a demon!
ROYAL FAMILY: Help us Marc Singer!
KING: Forget him. He’s a freak who speaks to animals. Freak.
MARC SINGER: Stop that. You’re making me cry.
VILLAIN: Marc Singer? You should know the King is your father.  
(Villain kills the King. Ferret pushes the Villain into a fire pit.)
VILLAIN: I guess the King’s Baby didn’t kill me after all. So much for prophecy. (Dies.)

Scene Seven: Anticlimax
BARBARIANS: We’ll help you Villain! Oh, we’re too late. Kind of disappointing.
(Marc Singer leads the Royal Family, Heroine and Animals in battle. They kill half the Barbarians. Then get surrounded.)
GIANT BATS: Deus ex machina!
(Giant Bats eat the remaining Barbarians.)
PRINCE: I’m 14 years old. Why am I wearing a thong?
PUMA: Because child protection was as lax as animal protection in 1982.
PRINCE: Dark. So, Marc Singer’s my big brother?
MARC SINGER: I guess so. But I’ll leave you in charge. I’ve got sequels to film.

THE END

Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time (1991)

EVIL KING: I’ll go through a time warp and steal the weapons of the future!
(Marc Singer and Evil King warp to Los Angeles, 1980-something.)
VALLEY GIRL: Gnarly! Tubular! Bodacious!
MARC SINGER: L.A. is cool!
SASSY GAY CLERK: Yaaas Evil King! You’ll look faaabulous in some modern clothes!
EVIL KING: Thank you stereotype. I’ll take a jacket and a neutron bomb.
MARC SINGER: Evil King, you’re my brother. Not the one from the first film. Another one.
EVIL KING: Whatevs.
(Marc Singer and his Animals kill the Evil King. Valley Girl’s Dad disarms the bomb.)
VALLEY GIRL: I wish I’d gotten do that. Instead I just drive Marc Singer around.  
ANIMALS: We didn’t do much either. This is barely a Beastmaster film.
MARC SINGER: Rock and Roll!
(Marc Singer returns home through the time warp.)

Beastmaster 3: The Eye of Braxus (1996)

PRINCE: It’s me! Your little brother from the first film. Only now I’m played by Casper Van Dien.
SORCERER (David Warner, slumming it): I’ll kidnap the Prince. His amulet can summon a Dinosaur God!
MARC SINGER: I’m getting tired of this. But I can still fill out a loin cloth.
HUNKY JESTER and LADY THIEF: Beastmaster? We’re big fans! We’ll help you sneak into the palace.
SORCERER: Summoning a Dinosaur God was a bad idea. (Dinosaur God possesses him.)
DINOSAUR GOD: I’m Braxus! But I look like Earl Sinclair from the Dinosaurs sitcom.
(Marc Singer and his animals kill the Dinosaur God and save the Prince.)
ANIMALS: These stunts still don’t look very animal safe.  
MARC SINGER: Come with me Lady Thief?
LADY THIEF: No.
HUNKY JESTER: I’ll come with you Marc Singer. I love you!
(Marc and the Hunky Jester ride a horse into the sunset.)

The Beast Inside

“When ‘The Beastmaster’ begins, it is very hard to tell what it is all about. An hour later, it is very hard to care what it is all about. Another hour later, it is very hard to remember what it was all about.”

Variety

Part two is bad comedy. Part three is just bland, till the silly dinosaur shows up. A television series, cashing in on the Hercules / Xena craze, managed to run from 1999 through 2002. The actors were new but the tropes were the same. A new Beastmaster and a new ship-able sidekick traveled the world righting wrongs. Marc Singer eventually returned to play a supporting role. After that the franchise went to rest.

Did you watch the films or the show? Do you think it worthy of a reboot?