The World According to Arnie – Conan The Destroyer (1984)

Conan The Destroyer Title

CROM! If you’re there, it’s me, Droid. I’m sure you’re already aware of this but in 1984 a bunch of money grubbing filmmakers got together to make a crap film in which they toned down the violence and covered up every boob in sight. Oh, and they repeatedly besmirched your good name, if that helps fire up the wrath. I know it’s been a while, but could you do me a solid and smite those involved? Cheers, Crom. You da man.

Conan The Destroyer Poster In the first flick Conan (Arnie) successfully avenged his parents by lopping the noggin off James Earl Jones, along the way meeting the wizard Akiro (Mako), sucker punching a camel and hooking up with sexy thief Valeria, who was then killed by a snake arrow to the ribcage. As you do. Now Conan is minding his own business, praying to a bench, when he is requested by Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas) to escort her niece Princess Jehnna (Olivia D’Abo) on a quest to retrieve a special gem and a magic horn. Queen Taramis promises that when Conan returns, she will resurrect his one true love, Valeria. But there’s intrigue and foul play afoot, because the Queen plans to sacrifice Jehnna, who is a virgin (unlikely) to some sort of evil god beastie. The Queen tells the Captain of the Guard Bombaata (Wilt Chamberlain) to off Conan when the job is complete. Easier said than done.

Conan The Destroyer 1 While I wasn’t a massive fan of ‘Conan The Barbarian’, there was a lot to like and it was a well made sword and sorcery flick with loads of violence and mucho boobage. The makers of ‘Conan The Destroyer’ have gone the predicable route, believing that if they toned things down and gave it a more family friendly slant, they’d reap the big bucks at the box office. Wrong! Boobs and decapitations are what we be payin’ our hard earned to see. And the proof is in the pudding, as they say, because ‘Destroyer’ didn’t fare any better at the box office and was mauled by the critics.

Conan The Destroyer 8 The first reason why this sequel failed is because nutjob director John Milius was off making ‘Red Dawn’ and they had to replace him with Richard Fleischer. It’s not a badly directed film by any means, but it fails to match the originals epic scope. And there is too much focus on comedy sidekicks. In the first film, Conan was joined by the impressively moustachioed Subotai (Gerry Lopez), who was able to inject some much needed humour to the film. But here he has been replaced by Tracey Walter as Malak, who quite simply annoys us at every opportunity. With more focus on the humour this time round, it makes the Conan films, which are ridiculous to begin with, seem like camp. This isn’t helped by the casting. While the cast is filled with interesting, colourful personalities, like Chamberlain and Grace Jones, they are terrible actors. Jones, as the warrior Zula, is particularly annoying because every movement she makes is accompanied by a shrill, ear splitting screech. And while certainly jiblet-tingling to look at, Olivia D’Abo is as compelling as a saliva filled petri dish.

Conan The Destroyer 6 The writing is utterly inept. During the first forty minutes I can’t remember anything other than exposition. And even the exposition is stilted and forced. The princess says “We need to go to Shadizar.” Conan replies “What is Shadizar?” The princess responds “Shadizar is…” And that is repeated ad nauseum during the entire film. There’s a reappearance of the king hit camel from the original, but when it appears, Malak says “Does he look familiar?” How does Malak know what the camel looked like? It seems that scene was written with the thought that Lopez would return, and when he didn’t someone forgot to point out that it made no sense. Which brings me to the alleged comedy. There is one joke, towards the end, where Malak says something about his “cousins sisters brother” which is a terrible joke to begin with, but then, three minutes later, they bring up the joke again and argue over what he said!

Malak: “My cousins sisters brother never said anything about bars!”

Akiro: “The bars were put up after your sisters brothers cousin escaped!”

Malak: “I said it was my cousins sisters brother!”

Akiro: “You said it was your sisters brothers cousin!”

Zula: “Who cares if it was your brothers sisters cousin? What difference does it make?”

*droid pulls the trigger and ends his misery*

Conan The Destroyer 2 As for the character of Conan, he comes off as nothing more than a musclebound meathead. The most lines he has is during a scene where he’s shitfaced and he keeps messing up his words.

Princess: “What kingdom?”

Conan: “The promise I was kingdomed.”

At this stage of his career, Arnie didn’t have the natural charisma or acting ability to sell terrible dialogue, and here he struggles. He’s an imposing screen presence, but the character is written as a stupid, drunken buffoon. It makes it difficult for the audience to get involved in a heroes journey when that hero is a moron.

Conan The Destroyer 7 While not an out and out failure, as there is some brainless fun to be had, Conan The Destroyer is a misfire and a backwards step in the career of Arnie. Luckily for him he met a nobody who’s only previous credit was getting chucked off a crappy horror sequel.


Next up, Arnie will be back.


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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

32 responses to “The World According to Arnie – Conan The Destroyer (1984)”

  1. Jarv says :

    Just a shit film. You’ve been generous compared.

    Red Sonja’s coming, which is also shit, but laughably bad- and it’s fun spotting continuity errors.

  2. Continentalop says :

    As a huge fan of REH’s Conan, let me just say that this film is a pile of steaming crap.

  3. Tom_Bando says :

    I remember such things as:

    *Wilt the Stilt’s every line was over-dubbed by someone else.

    *D’abo was cute but *meh*

    *Ending was silly.

    *It involved a big series of Mirrors.

    *Needed Giant Robots(and Mako)

    *No wonder they didn’t make anymore.

  4. ThereWolf says :

    Yeh, it was a big load of bouncing bollocks – with some daftly enjoyable bits scattered hither and thither but too few and too far between.

  5. Stuntcock Mike says :

    This film really is quite shitty.

  6. xiphos0311 says :

    Unwatchable garbage.

  7. Droid says :

    HA! Pretty unanimous opinions here. Everyones just summing up their opinion in as few words as possible.

  8. Continentalop says :

    What is really sad is that the director, Richard Fleischer, is one of my favorite journeyman directors. He did Violent Saturday, The Narrow Margin, Compulsion, The Boston Strangler, Soylent Green & Mr. Majestyk to name a few.

  9. MORBIUS says :

    I doubt if even Marjorie would accept garbage such as this!

  10. Bartleby says :

    Im just gonna say it. I love this movie. It’s indeed every bit as terrible as you mentioned, and between Grace Jones racoon tail, the ‘promise I was kingdomed’ line, the neutered score, and the very idea that anyone in the world would hire Wilt Chamberlain to PROTECT a girl’s virginity, it’s a giant bag of insane.

    But, as a kid, I watched it more because it felt more fun. Granted, I was probably 6 or 7 at the time and rubber monsters and fake swords appealed more than Neitsche and boobs. Then I was ten and it all changed.

    Still, I find I can siit and watch Destroyer to this day and get quite a laugh from it. Although, oddly. I can’t do the same with Sonja. It’s not that one is really better than the other, but I think there’s some nostalgia rattling around with Destroyer.

    Best part is the big rubber horned salamander towards the end, where Arnie is wrestling it and everyeone else just stands around screaming “Get the horn! It’s the horn!” Yea, thanks guys.

  11. just pillow talk says :

    This is a film that one would call “not good”.

    While old lizard fuck dying by smashed mirrors and impaled by thrown sword is amusing, the rest of this movie blows baby and adult goats.

    I also seem to remember mako vs. other wizard, closing a door or something? Bunch of chanting back and forth?

    • Droid says :

      Yeah, I forgot to mention the wizard Akiro. The script is so lazy, when they can’t be bothered having Conan figure something out (I don’t think he ever makes any sort of decision), like which path to take, they just get Akiro to hold his thumb and forefingers in a triangle shape, close his eyes, make gutteral sounds and point in a direction. “It’s this way.”

  12. Jarv says :

    I’ve thought about it, and this is one shit film. You’ve been more than generous.

    Did Hercules in New York fuck with your perception?

    • Droid says :

      After watching the 70’s Arnies, I have seriously low expectations. This is shit, but I have to say I wasn’t especially bored. It’s about 10-15 minutes shorter than the first one, which was one of my complaints. I don’t know. 1 1/2 Changs is a pretty low rating.

  13. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    it got a higher rating than Splice didnt it? Hahahahahahahah…

    And yes, there’s not a single ‘good’ thing about this, but I still maintain its more funny than right-out painful.

  14. DocPazuzu says :

    Fucking dire-bolical.

    While Milius’ movie has virtually nothing in common with REH’s character, it’s at least a good movie — maybe even a great movie. Fleischer’s fetid flick, on the other hand, gave me brain herpes.

    Red Sonja at least has Arnie wrestling a giant fish robot.

    • Jarv says :

      LOL “Gave me brain herpes”

      Red Sonja also has Whatshername as Queen Gedren, the nuddy magic mirror, and continuity gaffes by the million.

  15. koutchboom says :

    Why is he grabbing the blade in the poster?

  16. Fata says :

    Great review of this horrible pile of reeking shit. How could they? Oh, woe! Damn you, John Milius, for not saving this movie.

    Anyone got some info on the long-awaited third installment?

    • xiphos0311 says :


      They are currently filming a third installment but it’s a reboot and it doesn’t feature Schwatzenegger as everyone’s favorite neighborhood Cimmerian.

      The new version stars Jason Mamoma, from the syndicate TV show Stargate Atlantis as Conan.

  17. Fata says :

    Oh, and you need to do an review of the Garbage Pail Kids movie! Was it good or utter crap? I can’t remember!

  18. James Stephen Edge says :

    Random fact: the god/demon thing Conan fought at the end was played by Andre the Giant.

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