torsdag 30 maj 2019

35 Years Anniversary Review Of Conan The Destroyer

I remember going down to our local comic book store, between 1990 and 1994. The store was shut down later on in the 90´s, so i think i visited the comic book store the last time around 1994. I used to buy both comic books and CD albums, since the owner tried to sell other stuff as well ( even some VHS films that no one seemed to want ). But one of the comic books i really loved to find in this comic book store was Conan The Barbarian. I loved the original film from 1982, based on the character, created by writer Robert E. Howard. The film managed to capture the character of Conan, and perhaps we have to thank legendary actor Arnold Schwarzenegger also for doing a classic performance. The original film by director John Milius ( who also directed the classic 1984 film Red Dawn with Patrick Swayze ), felt like a worthy adaptation of the character. I have to mention that James Earl Jones as evil Thulsa Doom, a great evil character for a film like this. You could say that this was the first big break for Schwarzenegger in Hollywood before The Terminator. When a sequel was going to be made, another director stepped in to continue the story of Conan. And this turned out to be a sequel known as Conan The Destroyer, released in 1984. This film is directed by Richard Fleischer ( who you might remember for his 1973 sci fi film Soylent Green ) and had a smaller tone of violence than the first film. Another detail that this film had compared to the first film, was more of a comedy tone. I remember seeing both films on VHS and i always loved the first film more. But when i looked around what films would turn out 35 years old this year, i noticed that Conan The Destroyer was on the list. I have not seen this film since 2005, on DVD. So i thought it would be a good time to go back and see how i feel about the film now. Is this Conan sequel better than i remembered, or have this sequel become worse over the years ?

Conan ( Arnold Schwarzenegger ) and his companion, thief Malak ( Tracey Walter ) are confronted by Queen Taramis ( Sarah Douglas and her men. She ask Conan to help her, and if he agree to do so she will help him ressurect his lost love, Valeria. The mission that Conan needs to do, is to bring Princess Jehnna ( Olivia d´Abo ) to the castle of wizard Thoth-Amon ( Pat Roach ), who is destined to restore the jeweled horn of the dreaming god Dagoth. On this journey they bring Akiro The Wizard ( Mako ) to join them, and the female warrior Zula ( Grace Jones ) to help them. But this journey is not about to be as easy as it seemed to be. Queen Tamaris have some other plans for Princess Jehnna.

Going back to watch this Conan sequel after so many years, i can appreciate certain things they tried to do with this film. The characters are not as serious as in the first film, you also get a different approach by the story this time, you could say this is a more simple film. In some ways, Conan The Destroyer is the sequel that tried to go in a different approach, with a more humoristic tone. Let´s be honest and say, this is not a film you want to see because of the acting. In fact, the acting here is not good, not even from Arnold. But that´s ok, this is the kind of film you want to see just to see sword fights, monsters, bad dialogue and bad special effects. Back in 1984 you did not have CGI or green screen, so you can tell a lot of locations were built for the film, and the costumes were specially designed to fit into the world of Conan. Let´s talk about the characters for a while. Schwarzenegger as Conan is of course the best part of this film. He may not act very good, but his sword fighting and his brutal personality fit with this character. Nice to see legendar actor Mako back as Akiro The Wizard. He is one of the characters that made the first Conan film special, and he works well in this sequel as well. Actress Olivia d´Abo as Princess Jehnna may not be the biggest highlight of this film, but actually one of the few performances i enjoy of her film career. Legendary NBA player Will Chamberlain as the character Bombataa is actually a character that works well, an old school warrior that have no problem with combat situations. One of my favourite characters in this film is Zula, played by legendary actress / artist Grace Jones. She is rough, shows no respect and especially one scene is funny when Princess Jehnna asks :- How do i get a man ? and Zula answers :- Grab him, take him. Even if the make up effects are sometimes bad, and the special effects are not top quality, Conan The Destroyer is a film for fans of this genre. This is not the sequel we were hoping for, since the original film is such a classic. But this is still an entertaining film for other reasons. Director Richard Fleischer made a sequel that fans of Schwarzenegger and Conan will appreciate for many generations ahead. Even if this sequel have problems, i still see the entertainment value in Conan The Destroyer.

Rating: DDD

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