Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Conan the Destroyer

Conan the Destroyer; adventure / fantasy, USA, 1984; D: Richard Fleischer, S: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia d'Abo, Grace Jones, Wilt Chamberlain, Mako, Tracey Walter, Sarah Douglas

By promising to resurrect his dead girlfriend Valeria, Queen Taramis tricks Conan into searching for a magical horn, accompanied by Taramis' niece, the teenage virgin Jehnna, who will help find the horn. Conan, Jehnna, and the company - thief Malak, wizard Akiro, Amazon warriot Zula, Bombaata - thus go to a castle, where they have a clash with a wizard and obtain his gem which leads them to an underground city where the horn is located. When Bombaata tries to kill them, Conan finds out that Taramis wants to sacrifice Jehnna and use the horn to resurrect a statue demon, Dagoth. Conan manages to kill the demon, and save Jehnna.

The sequel to "Conan the Barbarian", Richard Fleischer's "Conan the Destroyer" is actually that what all the critics were complaining to the first '82 film. While "Barbarian" walked on a thin line between art and trash, it managed to outweigh to the former thanks to director and writer Milius, who wrote some lines so beautiful they seemed as if they were poetry, and enriched the simple story with some deep philosophical questions. "Destroyer", on the other hand, handles the source material at face value: it never attempts to be anything more than a dumb, banal and trashy adventure 'sword-and-sorcery' B-story, and thus it contains not a single memorable line or quote. At best, it tried to surpass the 1st film by being funnier, and thus several jokes appear here (Conan meets the camel he knocked out from the first film and appologizes, but the animal just spits on his chest; Zulu trying to teach Jehnna how to fight with a bo, but Conan interrupts, saying: "If you want to teach her how to fight, do it the right way, and not with that tooth-pick!"). Unfortunately, except for the aesthetically pleasant image of a castle standing in the middle of a lake, there is too little to see here, and numerous characters are just wasted without having almost anything to do in the storyline. The scene where the hooded mutant is holding Conan by his legs and swirling him around the castle chamber seems almost as if it came from "Airplane!", whereas the only highlight is the finale where the title hero fights a demon that came to life from a statue, even though it is only a 'highlight' in this edition, but for some other occasion it would be deemed too trashy. Overall, a watchable film if one does not take it too seriously, but it cannot compensate for its numerous flaws and omissions, especially when compared to the 1st film that got it right.


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