Thursday, May 26, 2016

Red Sonja (1985)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Writers: Clive Exton, George MacDonald Fraser

Composer: Ennio Morricone

Starring: Brigitte Nielsen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sandahl Bergman, Paul L. Smith, Ernie Reyes Jr., Ronald Lacey, Pat Roach, Terry Richards, Janet Agren, Donna Osterbuhr, Sven-Ole Thorsen

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Heroes of their time. For all time.

Plot: A vengeful woman sets out to retrieve a magic orb from an evil queen whom she vows vengeance upon after the evil queen slain her family and her loyal warriors raped her.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

I watched this a dozen years ago for the first time and I hated it.  Last night I gave it another chance and it's not as bad as I remembered.  It's made by the same team behind the other Conan movies so the production values are pretty good.  The matte paintings and sets are great. Schwarzenegger isn't as fun as he was previously but he's not given much in the way of a speaking role.  His fight with Nielsen is fun and it gets better as it goes and they both tire and eventually give up to exhaustion.  Bergman (who played Valeria in the first CONAN picture) does a great job as the villain.  Her costume is neat.  There are a lot of familiar faces in this one and that adds to the fun.  Morricone's music is pretty good but there's a theme that's a little action-hokey and it gets played a few too many times.  So what's the problem?  Well, you can't completely blame Nielsen in the lead role.  Her look and acting aren't what they should be.  She's 6'1 but she looks too thin and lacks the build you'd expect for an expert warrior.  That aside, she's putting her all into the sword fights.  She really slings that sword like it's heavy and she aims to kill.  The swordplay in general is very good.  Even the women in the temple fight near the beginning are all hacking and slashing like they were made for it.  That was impressive. The story doesn't move as fast and it's not as fun as (I'm sure this had a much lower budget than) the two previous Conan pictures.  Don't pass it up because of the bad reviews but don't go in with raised expectations. 

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