Bruce Campbell is probably one of the most unappreciated actors in Hollywood. The man oozes charisma and can deliver a one-liner like no other actor. Sure Campbell is most famous for floundering with the B-grade crowd and taking on such goofy projects as the brilliant short-lived TV series “Adventures of Brisco County Jr.” or the role of the one-armed crusader Ash in the “Evil Dead” series. What’s goofier than that? How about playing a washed-up Elvis who fights a mummy in a convalescent home?
Campbell stars as Elvis Presley who miraculously survived all these years after he switched places with an Elvis impersonator before his legendary death. Now after breaking his hip during a performance, Elvis finds himself at the mercy of some quirky rest home characters including Jack (Ossie Davis), a guy who thinks he is John F. Kennedy even though he’s black.
Elvis and Jack discover that their rest home is being overrun by a mummy who must ingest souls so that he may crossover to our world. The two unlikely heroes are their home’s only defense against this great menace. Does the world have a chance? Who knows?
Brought to the silver screen by “Phantasm” and “Beastmaster” maestro Don Coscarelli from the cult short story, “Bubba Ho-Tep” has that craziness that has made Bruce Campbell a legend in B-cinema infamous among geeks young and old. This is a role not to disappoint his devoted fans. Campbell’s portrayal of Elvis is utterly perfect and an amazing feat for the actor. He seems to play the out of shape, half-crippled, out of luck rock legend with such ease.
Coscarelli’s script treatment really allows both Campbell and Davis to shine. The film has a lot of humor and some really clever bantering between Elvis and Jack but it loses momentum when the heroes are faced with their foe. I loved laughing with the characters but felt in the film’s second half it just takes itself way to seriously and the jokes aren’t funny anymore. The zany premise and moody direction also seems to over-shadow Campbell’s bright portrayal.
This film is a must for fans of Bruce Campbell and B-horror films but that’s about all. It is a shame since Campbell is so good.
3 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer.