Sunday, 2 January 2011

Film Review: CONAN THE DESTROYER (1984)

Director: Richard Fleischer
Running time: 103 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK release date: 19th October 1984

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 2nd January 2011.


I remember this film from my youth and I remember it being a much more fulfilling experience than the one I just had. I guess I’ve seen so many better films by now that it just doesn’t cut the mustard like it did back then. But more of my thoughts later, here’s a brief summary first (summary haters please wait outside the fortress and guard the horses).

Conan is grieving for his lost Valeria (from the first movie) and, when he’s offered a chance to bring her back from the dead, he jumps at it. Queen Taramis needs him, by now a skilled warrior, to take Princess Jehnna, who has been gifted with special sight and her bodyguard, Bombaata, on a mission to retrieve a magic crystal from an enchanted fortress. He also takes Zula (a skilled fighter), Akiro (The Wizard) and Malak (a thief). This mission proves very perilous and Conan has enemies all around him. I don’t want to say any more, just on the off chance I might give too much away.

Although this film had a bigger budget than the first one, I think it fails to hit the mark by quite a long way. The script is terrible and some of the effects look very dated by today’s standards. Although nobody stood out, performance-wise, I will give honourable mentions to; Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan, Grace Jones as Zula, Wilt Chamberlain as Bombaata, Mako as Akiro, Tracey Walter as Malak, Sarah Douglas as Queen Taramis and Olivia d'Abo as Princess Jehnna.

I guess all fantasy adventure films will be weighed against the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and older films, like this, are never going to come out well. It’s clear that the filmmakers put most of the money into the effects and forgot about the script, unfortunately. It’s a shame because the first Conan film, Conan the Barbarian (1982), and the subsequent one, Red Sonja (1985), were so much better. I just hope the new Conan film, out later this year, doesn’t fall into the same trap. This one, unfortunately, is NOT recommended.

My score: 5.2/10

IMDb Page:

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