Conan the Destroyer movie full length review - The Destroyer Of The Series: Run!
Yes, it is possible to enjoy this movie but you must go into it expecting pure camp and a parody of the original one which was deadly serious. Also, Tracey Walter wipes out the movie as the worst side kick in the history of movies. When I saw this in the theater, people were making loud obscene remarks to the screen whenever he was talking. Yes, as an Arnie fan, I own the movie but, as a movie reviewer, it is my duty to warn you what you are in for if you choose to watch this. It actually has a WWE moment where the wizard body slams Conan and uses the most hilarious move in wrestling, the airplane spin, I S#@$ you not. People were laughing loudly and some got up and left all through the movie. It killed the series because it tried to make a family film out of a very gory but good original movie. Milius' original featured some of the most graphic violence ever seen up to that time with cannibalism and half nude hot babe sacrifices. Here, the tone is much more of a send up of the series. Walters is making very unfunny quips all through the action; yes, Chamberlain was physically awesome to behold but he was a dreadful actor. Don't believe me? Find me another movie he starred in besides this one? Grace Jones is always a treat, here she has some great one liners like her dating technique,"Grab him and take him."
The battles feature just dreadful facial expressions by Arnie and Grace, bugging their eyes out and making what Fleischer thought were 'war faces.' No, Richard, they are dumb ass dorky looking faces that triggered non-stop giggling in the audience I saw this with. There even is a purely parody scene with the wizards dueling it out with door open / door closed complete with elevator noises. If you enjoyed Flash Gordon and Buckaroo Banzai, you may actually enjoy this movie. I own it but it took me decades to get used to it. When it was released, it closed within two weeks. Everyone expected the original and did not like either the comedy or the campiness. Arnie does a good job, except for the facial expressions, I enjoyed Grace but Walter / D' Abo and Chamberlain are awful. Sarah Douglas, while quite stunning, was always a shaky actress. She has but a few scenes at the beginning and the ending but she is like a redwood: wooden. The other point of attack is the finale with Dagoth which has not aged well. Again, Dagoth grabs Conan's arms in the old make a wish hold that provoked more giggling in the cinema.
Yes, the movie is bad but imagine how much better it would have been without Walter who prattles on interminably? He faced universal critical attack for his non-stop unfunny humor and stupid acts like stabbing Dagoth after it was already dead. The best way to review this for you is to warn that it is entirely alien to the original. Those who hate parodies or campy movies will loathe this sequel. The humor is throughout the entire movie even during the climactic battle. There are a few funny lines that work but most fall flat. The sword fights tend to be over the top with constant bug eyed facial expressions or people flying through the air thrown by Conan or Chamberlain. I learned to tune Walter out, enjoy the campiness and appreciate it for what it is. I am in the minority believe me; the majority of the fans of Barbarian or the books just detested this movie. If you are as big an Arnie fan, as I am, all of this won't matter a bit to you. He has some good lines with that deadpan delivery that was his trademark. I love,"Enough talk," yes, he really wasn't much of a conversationalist.
Summary: As a pure dramatic sequel to Barbarian, one of the worst sequels only surpassed by Jewel Of The Nile. As campy, light distraction laughing at itself often, it will grow on you. Be warned, I am one of a handful that liked this movie. The theater started emptying almost immediately, by the end, four other people out of a hundred were left. Take It For What It Is. Q.E.D.