Friday, January 10, 2014

Conan the Destroyer (1984)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Writers: Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Stanley Mann, Robert E. Howard

Composer: Basil Poledouris

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Grace Jones, Wilt Chamberlain, Mako, Tracey Walter, Sarah Douglas, Olivia d'Abo, Pat Roach, Jeff Corey, Sven-Ole Thorsen, Bruce Fleischer, Ferdy Mayne, Andre the Giant

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The most powerful legend of all is back in a new adventure.

Plot: The wandering barbarian, Conan, alongside his goofy rogue pal, Malak, are tasked with escorting Queen Taramis' virgin niece, Princess Jehnna and her bodyguard, Bombaata, to a mystical island fortress. They must retrieve a magical crystal that legends say can awaken the god of dreams, Dagoth. Along the way, Conan reunites with the wise wizard, Akiro and befriends the fierce female fighter, Zula. Together the heroes face ancient traps, powerful Wizards, plots of betrayal, and even the dream god, Dagoth, himself!

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I saw this in the theater in 1984.  I hated it.  I'd seen CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982) a few times by then and, being a HUGE fan of that movie, this one was a big disappointment.  The two things that I remember about why I didn't dig it were the comic relief and the lighter, family friendly tone.  See, the first movie had an R rating which allowed them to make a darker, more brutal film that could deliver strong violence and the occasional bit of nudity.  It was a film made for adults although us kids were loving the shit out of it for obvious reasons.  DESTROYER was neutered before it got out of the gate despite Schwarzenegger and director Fleischer's protest to the studio.  That was thirty years ago and I just watched it for the second time...and I liked it.  I still have the same issues with it I don't hate it.  It's still a fun movie with a lot to like even though it's PG and kid-friendly.  The cast is great.  Schwarzenegger has a fun scene where he gets drunk.  Am I the only one who is strangely attracted to Grace Jone?  Sarah Douglas is smoking hot as the villain.  She's a lot of fun, too.  I really dug the special effects, particularly the smoke creature that kidnaps Princess Jehnna (d'Abo).  There's lots of action and sorcery goodness and the pacing moves along briskly so there's little chance to get bored.  And of course you've got another great score by Basil Poledouris.  There were a couple of cues that felt misplaced like where he uses Valeria's Theme when the sorcerer dies.  If you didn't know that theme belonged to Conan's dead squeeze from the first picture you wouldn't think anything of it. Maybe I'm just a dork for noticing shit like that.  Anyway, It's a fun flick even though it's a 'cuter' Conan movie than what we deserved.

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