MTI // 2008 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 4th, 2008
The healing energy is now a killing force.
Magus = A contagious strain of tropical toe fungus or the technical term for an overly theatrical bald man that shoots red lasers out of his nose?
OK, I think I've got it. For the select few beings on this Earth that can wield magic, most use it for healing purposes. This good magic is manifested a blue special effects (of course). The harmful, bad magic is red. If you're a wizard and you're using the bad magic, then, buddy, you're a "Magus."
The Magus in our tale (Ron Fitzgerald) has just gotten out of the asylum and, along with a leather-clad Amazonian bodyguard (Eva Derrek), begins a mission to hunt down and eradicate the other magic bearers, leaving him a clear path to conquer whatever it is evil warlocks wish to conquer.
Standing in his way will be an old fart wizard named Felix (Bill Steele) and his spunky Jujitsu-trained niece (Lizzy Strain), who has the power of magic deep within her. Can they overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and defeat the Magus before he bores the entire world to death with his half-baked New Age sermonizing?
There's some limited, schlock appeal here, but I don't think it's enough to command your attention. Reminiscent of the Highlander narrative of one gifted bad-ass systematically hunting down and killing other similarly gifted bad-asses so he could take over the world, Magus trades swordfights and Scottish accents for clumsy Jujitsu and Penthouse models in see-through dresses sprawled on a table.
Hey, maybe that floats your boat, and if it does then there are plenty of martial arts and breasts to be found on this disc. Writer/Director John Lechago applies liberal amounts of mortal combat, supplementing the visual effects-heavy magic show. Eva Derrek actually brings an impressive physical presence to her role and is more than capable of making her leather-clad butt-kicking princess believable in her stunts.
Less believable is the copious amount of special effects utilized in the sorcery sequences, but it could have been a lot worse. The dueling blue and red pyrotechnics leave a bit to be desired, but Lechago and his CGI corps find better success with their go-to gag, a little skull-over-the-face overlay trick that kicks in when someone spews the evil magic. It's pretty decent and foreshadows the money shot of the film, a fantastic face-melting death scene.
So fisticuffs, melting faces, what else is going down in Magus? Not much. The central storyline is the relationship between Felix and his niece, which is more or less expository, until it morphs into a corny Mr. Miyagi-type mentorship saga, where Felix preaches "the power is within you" and "you'll be ready someday" and so on and so forth. Pap.
Fitzgerald is far more interesting, thanks mainly to the fact the guy pours his sinister Lex Luthor shtick on with zest. His stuff is usually the most provoking because When he and Derrek are on-screen that usually signifies one of three things is coming: 1) rampant death by magic zapping, 2) an attractive woman in a leather get-up kicking guys in the groin and 3) gratuitous, sweaty female nudity.
The disc is a mixed offering of good and bad. The good: a lively commentary track by Fitzgerald and Lechago and a clean 2.0 stereo track. The bad: 4x3 widescreen is unforgivable these days.
Low-budget, cheesy and often cumbersome, Magus still has enough moments to keep fans of B-movie cinema mildly entertained.
Twenty hours of community service pulling rabbits out of a hat.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R