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Red Sonja (1985)

4 out of 5 stars 308 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Red Sonja (DVD)

A family fantasy/adventure epic based on the acclaimed best-seller about a troubled boy who discovers an extraordinary storybook-and the fantastical world within its pages. Bastian is drawn into a timeless and wondrous world of fantastic beings that only he can save from total destruction.

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Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Brigitte Nielsen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sandahl Bergman, Paul Smith, Jr. Ernie Reyes
  • Directors: John McGiver
  • Writers: Clive Exton, George MacDonald Fraser
  • Producers: A. Michael Lieberman, Christian Ferry
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 2004
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (308 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001Z37HM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,216 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Red Sonja (1985)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Based (very loosely) on a character created by legendary sword and sorcery fantasy writer Robert E. Howard, comes Red Sonja (1985), imbued with powers of mystical origin and seeking justice and revenge for the wrongs perpetrated upon her and her family by an evil warlord queen. The film, directed by Richard Fleischer, who also did Conan the Destroyer (1984), stars Brigitte (I was married to Sylvester Stallone once) Nielsen as the title character. Also appearing is Arnold Swarzenegger as Kalidor, a Noble warrior who aids Sonja on her quest, and the lovely Sandahl Bergman (she appeared in Conan the Barbarian as the warrior Valaria) as the evil Queen Gerden. Other notable appearances include Ronald Lacey (you may remember him as Toht from the film Raiders of the Lost Ark) as evil henchman Ikol, and Paul L. Smith (Bluto from the Robin Williams Popeye movie) as Falkon.

The film begins by relating the sad tale of Sonja and how Queen Gerden and her forces wiped out her family, supposedly I guess due to the fact the Queen wanted Sonja in some capacity (girls gone wild indeed) but Sonja refused. Left for dead, Sonja is visited by a spirit of sorts, which gives her literally gives he strength to embark on a quest of justice and revenge against the evil queen. Also, it seems the queen has stolen a powerful, carefully guarded, glowing orb right before it was meant to be destroyed, one that has powers of its' own, allowing for the possessor to control elemental forces and call down storms and earthquakes, if they so wish. Kalidor, one of the individuals in place to oversee the destruction of the orb, joins forces with Red Sonja, as their paths may differ, but they ultimately lead to the same place.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger has been quoted as saying that "Red Sonja" is the worst movie he has ever been in, and has been known to punish his children by making them go to their rooms and watch it. I can see why. The film is good for a campy laugh, but it is essentially a lame follow up to the "Conan" films that were so popular. It is unsurprising to see that Dino De Laurentis was involved with making this film, as it has all his trademarks: grand scale, cheesy sets, terrible over-acting, and amazing plot contrivances.

This is (surprise!) a film about vengeance set in a swords and sorcery background. Brigitte Nielsen is Red Sonja, a master warrior out to avenge her family's deaths. She is pitted against the evil Queen Gedren (Sandahl Bergman) who has stolen the talisman. The talisman (which is a ridiculous glowing orb) will destroy the world in 13 days if Sonja can't recover it. Along the way we pick up the supremely annoying child actor Ernie Reyes, Jr. who plays the arrogant Prince Tarn, and the Prince's aid, Falkon (Paul Smith), who has the patience of Job to deal with the brat.

There is much swordplay and padding, and many wacky characters and situations. I was especially amused by the giant purring tarantula that Gedren kept, and the metal "killing machine" that everyone gets to flop around with in a wet cave reminding me of Bela Lugosi dealing with the horrifying octopus in Ed Wood's masterwork "Bride of the Monster", the prime difference being that Lugosi could act.

Obviously there is a wooden romance between Arnold and Sonja, but lots of swordplay is involved in the courtship process. There are numerous gaffes in this film. I swear that in one ambush scene the bad guys are wearing blue jeans...if they aren't they are certainly the ancient precursors.
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Format: DVD
When I first viewed this video (I won't admit how old I was) it took a long time to realize Arnold was Kalidor and not Conan. Perhaps because his other movies were a long way off from from a Barbarian film or I wanted it to be a sequel. Either way, I enjoyed this film.
Now I don't review films, however after reading some of the other reviews I had to defend Arnold. Maybe people need to be reminded that, although this movie is being released on DVD it still is a 1985 released video. The special effects were nowhere near what they are now. I'm not a history buff as I'm sure most people aren't. The exact clothing worn in an era or weapons used aren't as important as the entertainment being provided (unless they try shooting each other with rifles). I am less harsh on actors/actresses making debuts. I've never done it, but it can't be easy. As far as I'm concerned this is a good movie and I will buy it on DVD when it becomes available (anyone want to buy my video version?)
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Format: DVD
Director Richard Fleischer derailed the Conan movie franchise by making the 1984 "Conan the Destroyer" much more of a campy adventure than John Milius did with the original 1982 "Conan the Barbarian." However, for this 1985 Conan spin-off of a Robert E. Howard inspired creation, the warrior-woman Red Sonja. In the title role is the statuesque model Brigitte Nielsen, making her film debut, with Arnold Schwarzenegger playing Kalidor, the Conan-clone who plays a pivotal supporting role in that he usually only shows up to save the film's heroine. However, given the idea that Red Sonja has been given her warrior strength to avenge the murder of her family and her own violent rape, the idea that a man has to keep bailing her own clearly runs against the character's ideology (and you just cannot ignore that sort of thing when the title character has been empowered by the gods as long as she keeps true to her vows and avoids sex).

Arnold is a more engaging character this time around, which is rather easy since nobody is as sullen as Conan, and this is the first time where you really get a sense of fun in one of his movies (his serious resume at that point was the two Conan films and the first "Terminator"). The problem is that by the time he first shows up the best part of the movie is over, and for every decent moment provided by Arnold there are three or four scenes with Ernie Reyes, Jr. as the annoying Prince Tarn, reducing the movie to something like "Home Alone" with swords. The plot for "Red Sonja" involves a quest for a giant green orb and an evil queen (Sandhal Bergman), which makes it a lot like "Conan the Destroyer.
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