23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2001
The Hyborian Age, when shinning kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars and powerful sorcerors cast mighty spells, and a man lived by his sword. And on to this, Conan, destined to bare the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow, and who had recently made motion picture history with his previous success "Conan the Destroyer", was hired by director Richard Fleischer, and cast along with Grace Jones, Wilt Chamberlain, and Mako. Hence this rousing fantasy-adventure, with wizards, princesses, and warriors a plenty! Yes, that's right, folks, that sword-wielding, Crom-worshipping Cimmerian is back, and this time, he's on a quest to help a princess retrieve a magical horn (don't worry, it's better than it sounds). Although this is definitely not as good as it's successer, this is still one good movie that will keep you entertained. It does get corny at times, and the acting does get a bit sloppy. But I still stick to my review. Basil Pouledouris does it again, with another great musical score. They should make another sequal, that shows how Conan becomes king of Aquilonia. But that is another story!
32 of 43 people found the following review helpful
The 1982 film "Conan the Barbarian" is the film that gets the credit (or blame) for turning Arnold Schwarzenegger into a movie star, but it should be remembered more as the best Sword & Sorcery film produced to date. The main reasons, besides Schwarzenegger cutting an imposing figure as Conan, flexing his muscles and swinging his big sword, was that director John Milius treated the characters seriously and avoided descending into camp. But for the 1984 sequel "Conan the Destroyer," the key factor seemed to be coming up with casting in a similar vein to the logic that had landed Arnold the role.
The story of "Conan the Destroyer" was by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, a pair of writers for Marvel Comics. Thomas was the writer for Marvel's "Conan the Barbarian," often adapating Robert E. Howard's stories, whether they were originally Conan stories or not. The story is a basic quest story where Conan escorts a virgin princess to bring back a powerful gem from a crystal palace, which will then be returned to a queen (Sarah Douglas), who turns out to be evil and wants to sacrifice the princess so the gem can used to summon an ancient demon, at which point wackiness will ensue.
The problem is not in the story, which certainly allows you to string together a series of Sword & Sorcery adventures, but in the casting. The princess is played by Olivia d'Abo, who simply looks too young (i.e., Conan was forever leaving pregnant princesses behind in his various adventures but there is not chance for that sort of chemistry here). Her body guard, Bombaata, is played by basketball Hall of Famer, Wilt Chamberlain, while Zula, the warrior woman who joins the group is played by Grace Jones, the singer/dancer/model/crazy woman. Comic relif, which was relatively absent in the orignal film, is provided by Tracey Walter as Malak. With such casting the descent into camp becomes inevitable. Besides, there is nothing in this film even close to rivaling Arnold's best moments in the original (especially since the final shot of the old King Conan is recycled from the first film).
Those who have actually read the originally Conan stories will also find it rather distressing that Toth-Amon, the great Stygian wizard who was Conan's biggest enemy in the Howard stories, is reduced to a pit stop on this quest (I remember thinking at the time that this was the equivalent of Darth Vader being one of the guys that got dispatched at the Cantina in "Star Wars"). Thomas and Conway were upset by Stanley Mann's final screenplay, as well as the finished film, and ended up turning their story into the graphic novel "Conan and the Horn of Azoth," with art by Mike Docherty (all the names got changed to avoid any confusion).
Ultimately, "Conan the Destroyer" gets three stars because we round down simply to make sure that it is clear that "Conan the Barbarian" was a better movie. Besides, this 1984 film pretty much killed the franchise, although Milius is apparently preparing a 2005 film "King Conan: Crown of Iron," which there being a lot of speculation as to who will play Conan now that Arnold is Governor of Cal-e-fornia (the hot names are apparently all wrestlers).
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2000
And on to this Conan, sword in hand, came back for a lackluster sequal. Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his classic role in a hardly classic film. Richard Fleischer takes over from previous director John Milius and basically fails to live up to expectations. Conan is now a notorious thief and a queen(Sarah Douglas) hires him to guide her niece(Olivia d'Abo) to find a sacred horn that will reincarnate a god. If Conan is successful the queen will bring back Conan's lost love from the dead. And that is basically it. Throw in a bunch of odd characters and some obstacles to overcome along the way and that is Conan the Destroyer.
Conan the Barbarian is a masterpiece. Conan the Destroyer is not. In fact it doesn't even hold a candle to the first film. It is hard to believe this is the best script Universal could come up with. It just isn't that good. Director Richard Fleischer basically had to cover for the script by using specticle such as casting Grace Jones and Wilt Chamberlain, having Arnold barely wear any clothes, wizards, monsters, etc. Additionally there is much more action is this film than in Conan the Barbarian, but again this is because the script was so thin if it was turned sideways it would disappear. That being said the strong point of this film is good action. Although it is a little toned down from the previous film(most likely for the PG rating) it is well directed and entertaining.
People looking for a good film should stay away from this and see Conan the Barbarian. However this film was unfortuatly banked on mindless action and there is plenty of it so action buffs may enjoy it. Because of the simple plot and funny characters it is a film parents could enjoy with their kids. If you saw the first film and looking forward to checking this one out I'm sorry.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2003
First of all, let me just say I've read probably 45 to 50 of the Conan novels put out by the now defunct Tor Publishing company, read quite a few of the comic books when I was younger, and so, while not the most knowing in Conan lore, I do have some ideas of what a Conan movie should be like. And this wasn't really it. Conan the Destroyer was close, but didn't quite make it. The first movie was excellent, even with the few minor liberties that were taken with the character, but this movie just seemed more goofy and silly, and rated PG? How in the world can you have a Conan movie rated PG? Whatever....
In this movie, we find Conan lured into a mission to retrieve the sacred horn of whatever, with the promise that he will get his Valeria back, who died in the first movie. He's inconviently saddled with a fairly lame group including a greasy little thief/comic relief (Tracey Walter), a somewhat over enthusiatic Amazon type warrior (Grace Jones), the Asian wizard from the first movie (Mako), a princess (Olivia d'Abo), and her protector (Wilt 'the Stilt' Chamberlain). Now the set up and such is fairly standard with the Conan stories, a quest frought with all kinds of peril an such, but the movie is lacking a lot of what was in the first movie, violence. I am not a gorehound by any means, but to lighten up on this aspect, most likely to get the PG rating is really a rub the wrong way to the fans and anyone who loved the first movie. I am not saying you have to have entrails and such flying about, but the amount of blood letting was extremely toned down. The same could be said for sexual content. In the first movie, Conan had three encounters with women, which is par for the books, but in this one there is none of that. I thought for sure they were going to throw in a liason between Conan and the princess, as such a big deal was made in the beginning of the movie that she remain pure (a virgin), but she was kinda young, so I am glad that didn't come about, as it would have been creepy. If it were a story from a book, Conan would have shagged her rotten and that would have set up for the whole ceremonial sacrifice to be [messed] up. They did have the princess show her attractions to Conan, but that never led anywhere. Well, they finally complete the quest, and Conan and most of his group find out they've been had, and decide to go and rescue the princess. This sets up a climatic battle between a funky lizard god-man.
While they took out or lightened up on the sex and violence, they added in more comedic elements, which isn't all that bad, but got to the point of being ridiculous at some points. Too much levity in this type of movie is not a good thing. I would have rather seen a smaller group and more action than what we got. I liked Mako from the first movie, but what was the deal with him and anytime he performed magics in this movie he had to make grunting noises? That got really annoying...can't he perform magic without making all those silly noises? The first movie did have Conan join with a small group, but all the main action focused around him, and the rest was secondary. Not so in this movie. I felt like this was more like Conan Lite than a real, honest to goodness sequel. Something else this movie lacked was a really strong villian type. In the first we get Thulsa Doom, played wonderfully by James Earl Jones, but in this movie we have no real villian until the end of the movie. You could count Bombatta, but they didn't really mix it up until the end. You could count the evil Queen Taramis, played by Sara Douglas, but she's only in like 10 or 15 minutes of the movie.
Well, anyway, that's my rant. I did enjoy this movie somewhat, but I was disappointed in what it could have been. Instead of using what made the first so good and popular, they changed the formula and missed the boat. I really felt if this one had done well, we could have seen a couple more Conan movies. I have heard rumors about a third Conan movie, so who knows...and anyone seen the Conan television series from 1998 with Ralf Moeller? Probably not, as it didn't last too long. I think I saw one or two episodes and thought it was too goofy and riduculous, as I think did many other viewers and it died a quiet, yet thankful death.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2008
Conan The Barbarian stands as one of the best epic movies of all time. Conan The Destroyer is what Batman and Robin is to the Batman series. The whole dark atmosphere and seriousness of the first movie is traded for a children-friendly approach that ruined the whole appeal of Conan.
The Plot: The wicked Queen Taramis(played by Sarah Douglas) dupes Conan to escort her princess niece (played by Olivia D'Aba) on a quest for some sacred horn in exchange to bring back Conan's lost love, Valeria, from the dead. Conan embarks on the trip with the princess accompanied by Bombaata(Wilt Chamberlain) who is secretly ordered to kill Conan. On the way they befriend a fierce captive Zula(played by Grace Jones) and trouble ensues.
Opinion: Conan The Destroyer is laughably bad. The actions scenes are hilarious and you know it's a problem when someone getting decapitated provokes laughter. Each head that gets lopped off and each sword in the gut seem so cartoonish plus you have to deal with the third rate acting. Sarah Douglas and Olivia D'Aba are both wooden and Wilt Chamberlain(RIP) and Grace Jones both seem out of place in this picture. Arnold is his usual self so dont expect much. Not only is the plot weak but the score is redundant also. Conan The Barbarian had a great score to accompany every scene. Here the score is monotonous and weak. I can only reccomend this to you if you want to complete you collection other than that skip it.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2000
Conan the Destroyer is a much less malignant sort of animal than the original, carnivorous, and ultimately bleak original film. This sequel was done with tongue firmly in cheek, and no pretenses to otherwise. On that level, it works quite well as mindless, macho entertainment, with so many visual gags that at times it comes close to becoming a full-out comedy.
Grace Jones easily steals the movie as the athletic, feisty Zula ("toothpick"), and Wilt Chamberlain makes a good physical counterpart to Arnold Schwarzenegger's Conan. I read somewhere that Schwarzenegger was actually asked to put on more muscles for the role than before, and it shows.
Conan the Destroyer also evokes much more of a sci-fi/fantasy element than the original Conan, which had a much more occult, primitive tone to it. The sequel piles on a one-horned monster and a wizard living in a crystal palace and ups the action further. The swordplay in Destroyer is faster-paced than in the first film, and less bloody -- though still violent enough to make its PG rating a gross misrepresentation.
All in all, well executed "male" entertainment, with a top-flight score and good casting.
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Following the phenomenal success of both the original "Conan The Barbarian" movie as the following record-breaking smash with "The Terminator', Schwarzenegger found himself reluctantly under contract to film the first of three originally planned sequels to the Conan movie, "Conan the Destroyer". Yet this time it would be quite a different movie, more of a comic book approach to the pulp-fiction hero, with the emphasis on special effects and attempting to appeal to younger viewers. Indeed, the director of the original movie, John Milius, was not brought back to reprise his oversight, and the new director had very different ideas about how to interpret the character and the storyline. Arnold had come in a little lean yet muscular, and the director was less than thrilled. He insisted Schwarzenegger bulk up to more huge bodybuilding proportions, and delayed filming while Arnie quickly bulked up more than 30 pounds by training like a madman for three months or so.
The result is a movie in which Conan is reduced to a comic book type figure, and all of the dark and brooding nuances of the character as depicted in the original film are absent. That much said, Arnold looks absolutely terrific, very big and quite muscular, and some of the action scenes, especially in the beginning and toward the end, are quite reminiscent of the first film. The special effects are quite good in spots, although some of the sets and dialogue are a bit wooden and unrealistic. There is a lot of good humor in the film, and the supporting cast has luminaries like Grace Jones, Wilt Chamberlain, and Olivia D'Abo cast well for some interesting hijinks along the way. The plot seems silly and contrived, and the only saving grace seems to be the final confrontation with the creature summoned up from Hell by the sorceress to conquer the world. The ensuing struggle between a mere mortal like Conan and the supernatural creature seems right out of the Robert Howard novels, and serves to redeem the movie in the lat moments.
This is not something I would recommend for children, as it is quite frightening at points, and it also has a lot of dialogue referring to "D'Abo's "virtue" or chastity, which gets to be a bit much as it is repeated again and again. But any chance to see Conan seemingly come to life as only he can through the magic of movies is worth all these quibbles, and I have turned this on for some rather mindless action entertainment perhaps more often than I want to discuss publicly. It isn't a particularly well-made film, and it has a few plot holes that even an idiot could think his way through. Yet it also has the saving grace of giving us Arnold playing the part of Conan as only he could, after all. And as the character says in one of Howard's most famous stories about him, "Who dies first?" Enjoy!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2004
With this cheap sequel, the epic grace of the original Conan itself sinks to the level of all the B movies that sought to imitate it. An utterly pathetic sequel that Schwarzenegger should have shunned.
Although the plot was fine, it was the screenplay itself which ruined this film. The whole script was riddled with bad dialogue and stupid action scenes. In contrast to the original's cast of solid characters, the sequel has Conan accompanied by a pack of totally unappealing characters. The worst character is the sidekick thief, Malek, whose only purpose is to utter bad one-liners and act as the buffoon. As for Chamberlain, I'm sorry but the guy can't even act well in a low-grade 'B' film and should have stayed with basketball.
Don't waste your money either buying or renting this film: it's not worth a dime. The only time I saw this film is when it was originally released on the big screen: I don't care to ever watch it again.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2004
This is an absurd and hastily made sequel to the far superior Conan the Barbarian. Swartz is back as the big hulking paleoanthropic warrior who has more muscle than brains. This time around the landscape looks like something out of a cheap fantasy movie and nothing ever clicks or feels like the original. The difference with this is that the first film had a believability to it and this one just oozes out vacuous emptiness. The plot concerns a princess who must fight an evil sorceress. . . not much there to begin with. Along the line there are more absurd characters including Grace Jones who resembles a twig and beats men 8 times her size with a stick. Chamberlain is even more lackluster as a personal guard to the spoiled princess who has special powers to defeat darkness. Look for the awful 'non-moving face' monster in the hall of mirrors that is about as scary as a dead fish. Even as a kid I hated this movie.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 1999
"Conan the Barbarian" is obviously the best of the two, a film that blended action with an allegorical quest, but "Destroyer", although full of campy moments which are every true fantasy fan's nightmare and were continued in 1985 with "Red Sonja", has it's moments which shows that possibly the screenplay was much better than the resulting film. Features some exceptional sword fighting ala the first film and truly outstanding Conan imagery as Arnold battles the monster at the end. But the big letdowns of course are the story and some of the acting, MOST notably Tracey Walter as Malik, Conan's puny and somewhat inept sidekick. Whatever happened to Subotai from the original. Walter is just annoying and embarrassing in this role. Grace Jones and Wilt Chamberlain do as well as expected and I've never really had any qualms about Sarah Douglas as the evil Queen. Remember her in Superman II afterall? Not the worst fantasy film ever made ("Sword and the Sorcerer" or "The Beastmaster" anyone?) but certainly not as good as the original.