A retired elite Black Ops Commando launches a one man war against a group of South American criminals who have kidnapped his daughter to blackmail him into starting a revolution and getting an exiled dictator back into power.
Mark L. Lester
Rae Dawn Chong,
The wandering barbarian, Conan, alongside his goofy rogue pal, Malak, are tasked with escorting Queen Taramis' virgin niece, Princess Jehnna and her bodyguard, Bombaata, to a mystical island fortress. They must retrieve a magical crystal that legends say can awaken the god of dreams, Dagoth. Along the way, Conan reunites with the wise wizard, Akiro and befriends the fierce female fighter, Zula. Together the heroes face ancient traps, powerful Wizards, plots of betrayal, and even the dream god, Dagoth, himself! Written by
Tim Harrison Snlmidgit@hotmail.com
Conan Sequel: Lots of Muscles, but Lacks 'Muscle'!
After the worldwide success of CONAN THE BARBARIAN, it was inevitable that a sequel would be made (director John Milius envisioned the saga as a trilogy, with an aged Conan ruling his own kingdom in the final chapter). But Universal, seeing star Arnold Schwarzenegger as appealing more to younger audiences, did not like the R-rated combination of gore, sex, and machismo philosophy of the first film, so Milius was unceremoniously dumped, and more family-friendly action director Richard Fleischer was brought in to helm CONAN THE DESTROYER.
Working with a script by comic book scribes Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, much of what made the first film so unique was tossed aside. While Milius had Arnold lose weight and study Oriental swordsmanship, in an effort to tone down the bodybuilder look, and make him more flexible and believable as an arena-trained warrior, Fleischer ordered the actor to bulk up as much as possible, hoping to recreate the impossibly-muscled giant painted by Frank Frazetta on the covers of the paperback CONAN novels. Instead of being a taciturn loner, Conan would joke and 'care' about people, with an idiot sidekick (Tracey Walter) to provide comic relief. Bloodletting would be mainly off-camera, sex would consist solely of flashes of cleavage, and any monsters faced would be toned-down so children wouldn't be traumatized. While all this succeeded in garnering a PG rating, the end result was less Robert Howard's barbarian, more the generic B-movie hero seen in the dozens of imitations CONAN THE BARBARIAN had inspired.
The plot is simple; Cruel but beautiful Queen Taramis (SUPERMAN I and II villainess Sarah Douglas) promises to revive Conan's dead love, Valeria, if he'll lead virgin Princess Jehnna (Olivia d'Abo) and her bodyguard (basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain), on a quest to steal a giant diamond, and use it to recover a horn that will bring god Dagoth to life. Joined by his sidekick, Malak, a wizard (Mako), and a female warrior (Grace Jones), the group faces the usual array of monsters, wizards, and enemy soldiers, and defeats them all, succeeding in the quest...but Conan discovers, nearly too late, that the bodyguard has been ordered to murder him, after the horn is retrieved, and that Jehnna is to be sacrificed as part of the process of reviving Dagoth...
While the fight between Conan and Toth-Amon (Pat Roach), in a hall of mirrors, is well-staged and exciting, much of the rest of the film seems flat, with one scene, of Conan blind drunk at a campfire, ridiculously out of character and silly.
CONAN THE DESTROYER didn't achieve anywhere near the success of the original, but Schwarzenegger had no reason to worry; his next film would be a low-budget SF thriller called THE TERMINATOR, and he was about to become a superstar!
A footnote to CONAN...in early 2003, Schwarzenegger and John Milius tentatively agreed to bring CONAN THE KING, the final chapter of the saga, to the screen...With the original director's vision, and the improvements in FX that CGI has provided, we may yet see the ULTIMATE Conan film reach the screen, if Arnold's political career doesn't take precedence!
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