Conan the Destroyer (1984)
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Not as good as the first, but fairly entertaining if you check your brain at the door. There are some nifty special effects, plenty of action, the charisma of Arnold Scwarzenegger, swords & sorcery, imaginative fantasy settings and a great monster bashing climax. What is there not to like? Well... I can think of a few cons, but overall it's a decent popcorn flick and sometimes that's all we want. I feel sorry that this movie killed off the francise. A series of Conan movies staring Arnold in his prime would have been a great cinematic treasure today. There is so much potential in the material and the 80s would have been the perfect time to exploit it whith the perfect star and the perfect visual effects. Those cheesy 80s effects are ideal for this kind of fantasy moviemaking. The CGI of today would just have ripped the magic out of it.
Conan the Barbarian originally got an X rating (what is now the NC-17) for sex and violence, so the PG-rated sequel, Conan the Destroyer, is a bit of a eunuch in comparison. I'm ok with it, but the amount of blood is ludicrously small. Though Barbarian is of course the better movie, I prefer Destroyer as a casual entertainment. Though both films have a structure that feels a little like a game of D&D, especially in the way characters join the adventuring party, Destroyer at least doesn't make me think the gaming table is populated by hormone-crazed teenagers. Ironically, this is the only Conan those teens would have been allowed to see in theaters. Destroyer's straight-forward doesn't ask much of its audience, but I do like Grace Jones' turn as a warrior woman quite a lot, and there are goofy monsters to defeat. It's no surprise the story was written by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway. It's very much a comic book. Ultimately though, it's far less memorable than the original.
Rewatched the first one recently, and then this one for the first time. I liked this a lot better! I think it's the pacing. The original was very slow going. This felt like a more straight-forward adventure flick.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #36 in Butler's Fantasy Cinema: Impossible Worlds on Screen
This movie ranks #150 in Marshall Julius's Action! The Action Movie A-Z