I Suppose Nothing Hurts You. Only Pain.
The inevitable continuation of reviewing Conan the Barbarian is Conan the Destroyer. When I went into Conan 1, I was well aware of what I was getting myself into. I had watched the movie again not long before I started reviewing movies, so my memory of it was pretty clear. Going into Conan 2, I wasn’t even sure that I had ever seen it before, even though I owned it as part of a two pack with the first movie. But, as it was part of Chris’ request, I sat down to see if I had ever seen the sequel. And that is today’s review. Conan the Destroyer was based on characters created by Robert E. Howard, written by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, directed by Richard Fleischer, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia d’Abo, Sarah Douglas, Wilt Chamberlain, Tracey Walter, Mako, Grace Jones, Pat Roach, Jeff Corey, and Andre “The Giant” Roussimouff.
Conan the Cimmerian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), and his travelling companion Malak the thief (Tracey Walter), are praying at an altar when they are attacked by the guards of Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas). After they pass the test of their guards, the Queen offers a quest to Conan. If he accomplishes the task of escorting her niece, Jehnna (Olivia d’Abo), and the Queen’s guard, Bombaata (Wilt Chamberlain), to retrieve a magical horn that only Jehnna can touch, Conan will be rewarded by having his love, Valeria, brought back to life. But, before they leave, the Queen privately instructs Bombaata to kill Conan once the horn has been retrieved so that he won’t be around to stop them from sacrificing Jehnna to awaken the dreaming god Dagoth. Also, he’s going to have to keep an eye on her because she needs to remain a virgin and Conan would most likely knock the bottom out on that girl. The group sets off, making a pit stop to save the life of a crazy Amazonian chick named Zula (Grace Jones), who then joins them on their quest.
This movie’s really not a whole lot better than its predecessor. It’s a different story, and a fine one, but it’s not the greatest thing ever. Much as with the first movie, it never really feels like the writers were able to keep focused. They have the one driving plot of the princess getting the horn, the side plot about the secret sacrifice, and then a couple of other things that seemed like distractions. Finding Zula was a scene that took about 15 minutes longer than it should have taken given its relative lack of importance to the main plot. The part with Conan getting drunk and chatting with the princess didn’t need to happen, as did the part with the princess trying to learn how to fight. But it wasn’t nearly as distracted as the first movie seemed to be. I did wonder about the whole part with Jehnna’s virginity. They made a big deal about how she needed to return a virgin or the sacrifice couldn’t happen. So big a deal was made about her virginity that I was sure there would be a part where Conan breaks her off a piece and that is what causes the ceremony to go wrong, but they never went for that. There was never even a moment where there was a chance that Conan would hit it. I don’t know why, as she was perfectly fuckable and seemed to dig on him. I guess credit could be given for them not being too predictable. Speaking of predictions, why did they have to tap the wizard Akiro to find out where the princess had disappeared to when she was taken by the wizard Thoth-Amon? There was literally one place in 100 miles and they were looking right at it, but they still had to ask him and have him do the silly thing with his fingers he always did to say, “Oh! She’s in that big castle we’re all looking at. I guess that makes sense.” I get the feeling that the actors in the movie used the time between the movies to practice with their swords because the action scenes had improved. They seemed like someone actually choreographed them this time. The settings in the movie were also very nice. I liked the inside of Thoth-Amon’s tower a lot, and the room full of mirrors where Conan fights the invulnerable creature with the red hood. It was really reminiscent to the room of mirrors scene from Enter the Dragon. The creature he fought there wasn’t particularly well done, being fairly obviously a guy with a mask on. In contrast, the creature at the end of the movie was pretty good looking and came off as pretty intimidating even though its mouth and neck looked like a loose vagina.
The cast did fine and suited their parts, but their parts were not always that appealing. Schwarzenegger was still Schwarzenegger and did not put on that much of a performance, but it seemed like his English was better in this movie than in the last. His part basically just required him to be a big pile of meat, and he’s good at that. Olivia d’Abo bummed me out, though. She was pretty hot and her boobs always seemed right on the verge of escaping her clothing, but it never happened. Fuckin’ tease. Her hotness came in stark contrast to Grace Jones. This chick was supposed to be a model at one point, right? I have no idea what her appeal is supposed to be. She looks a lot like Tommy Davidson from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. I liked Mako as an actor, but by this point I had gotten sick of how ineffectual his character was. In the first movie, he did next to nothing beyond narration. In this movie, he had maybe one or two scenes where he used the magic that he was known for wielding. Also, Tracey Walter’s character replaced Subotai as his partner. But Subotai was usually pretty stoic in the first movie, whereas Malak was clearly just there for comic relief. And he was just as annoying as any other comic relief person that can’t produce comedy. I also would’ve liked a mention to what happened to Subotai from the first movie to this one. Did he die in the same contract negotiations as Sandahl Bergman?
Conan the Destroyer is only barely distinguishable from Conan the Barbarian. They’re both pretty basic stories that seem very distracted from their goal, the looks of the movies are fairly good for the time period, and the action has actually been choreographed, to this movie’s credit. Both are decent enough movies that still hold up fairly well for their age, and I can recommend both for some fairly mindless action. Conan the Destroyer gets “Enough talk!” out of “A fine magician you are!”
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