Conan the Destroyer is the PG-rated sequel to Conan the Barbarian, and Arnold Schwarzenegger fans typically hate it. Is it that bad?
1984’s Conan the Destroyer was an attempt to soften Arnold Schwarzenegger’s titular barbarian into a PG-rated fantasy film hero. The result was a movie that was only a middling success in theaters, being overshadowed by Arnold’s other big 1984 movie, James Cameron’s The Terminator. Conan the Destroyer proved to be the last time Arnie would play Robert E. Howard’s Cimmerian icon, and in the decades since its release the movie’s reputation has been pretty atrocious. Hardcore fans prefer John Millius’s darker, R-rated Conan the Barbarian to Richard Fleischer’s lighter, family friendly version which seemed to owe a lot more to eighties fantasy movies like The Beastmaster than Millius’s original. It’s a deeply silly film, and one of the cheapest Schwarzenegger’s films of the eighties, with him essentially forced into making this and the following year’s Red Sonja to fulfil a contract with producer Dino De Laurentis.
But is it really that bad?
In this episode of Fantasizing About Fantasy Films, we take a look at this divisive sequel and try to find a few things about the movie worth salvaging. This includes the eccentric supporting cast, which includes basketball stud Wilt Chamberlain, Superman villainess Sarah Douglas, Tracey Walter, Mako, Olivia D’Abo, Grace Jones and even Andre the Giant under loads of latex. It also has a good score by Basil Pouledouris, even if much of it is recycled from the first film and excellent cinematography by DP Jack Cardiff.
Do you like Conan the Destroyer? Let us know in the comments!