The World According to Arnie – Red Sonja (1985)

Red Sonja Title

Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy. When the dim light bulb lit up and this Arnie review series was born, I constructed the list of the films I would need to watch. Looking over the list, I was surprised to see that I hadn’t seen six out of his first eight films. Being a completist (and an idiot) I went against sound reason and my better judgement and started way back where it all began, in the early 70’s with ‘Hercules in New York’. With ‘Red Sonja’, I have finally come to the last of the early Arnies I haven’t seen. And all hail Crom for that, because it’s absolute garbage.

Red Sonja Poster As a young girl, Sonja’s parents are murdered and she is brutally raped (always a delightful way to begin a film aimed at kids) by the soldiers of Queen Gedren (Sandahl Bergman). Visited by some sort of angelic being who blesses her arm with skill to wield a blade, or something, I wasn’t really paying attention, Sonja grows into a gigantic, awkward, talentless Danish broad named Bridgette Nielsen. Harbouring an understandable hatred and distrust of men, she trains with some ancient Chinese (therefore non-threatening?) bloke, until such a time as he tells her “the student has become the master” and proceeds to hit on her. Meanwhile Queen Gedren has acquired some super weapon maguffin which if left out in the sun too long will become powerful enough to destroy the world. Kind of like a solar powered nuclear weapon I suppose. Sonja then journeys to Castle Burbukane to avenge her family and destroy the infernal machine, or glowing orb, or… who cares?

Red Sonja 3 Along the way she meets the required comedic sidekicks, a little Asian brat who is supposed to be a prince, and his manservant, a fat bloke who wields a club that’s oddly shaped a bit like a dong. As in, he holds the shaft and beats you around the head with the testicles. Quite frankly, during fight scenes, it’s distracting seeing some poor bloke walloped in the face with a pair of nuggets. Arnie also pops up, as Conan Kalidor to repeatedly save Sonja by wrestling a giant metal fish, leaping down from somewhere and yelling really loudly, and murdering countless hoards of extras.

Red Sonja 1 I would like to say this right now, and although I won’t dwell on it, it is something that really annoyed me about ‘Red Sonja’. Apart from one quick uninspiring shot from distance, THERE ARE NO BOOBS UNLEASHED IN THE ENTIRE FILM. Seriously, what the hell am I watching this for if it’s not to eyeball some funbags? It’s certainly not the acting, or the story. If I was director Richard Fleischer, I would have learnt from the mistakes I made on ‘Conan The Destroyer’, and filled the empty corners of the screen with sweater puppies. They would’ve have helped the audience overlook the blaring continuity errors, like Sonja leaving the prince to rebuild his kingdom, then coming across him down the road, when there was no way that he could have leapfrogged her even if he was intending to go anywhere. That said, the kid being tortured by the “ruffians” is a pretty funny visual.

Red Sonja 4 The acting (for want of a better word) is embarrassingly awful all round. But particularly from Nielsen and Bergman, who seemingly have a sidebet on who can show the least acting ability. Arnie has a constant look of bemusement on his face, either from the disbelief that he’s found himself in such utter dreck after hitting the big time with ‘The Terminator’, or that he’s actually co-starring with someone he can out act. Apparently Arnie took on the role because he felt obliged to the producer Dino De Laurentiis. He has since been quoted as saying "I tell [my kids], if they get on my bad side, they’ll be forced to watch ‘Red Sonja’ ten times in a row. Consequently, none of my kids has ever given me much trouble." And at the premiere, Maria Shriver told her husband "If this doesn’t kill your career, nothing will".

Red Sonja 2 Thankfully for Arnie, and us, the debacle of ‘Red Sonja’ didn’t effect his career one bit, and was his last foray into sword and sorcery pics. He went on to make many classic films in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and after trawling through the human refuse of his early career, I can finally be comforted by the fact that Arnies next film is ‘Commando’, and it only gets better from there (for a while).

1-chang Next up, Arnie tells a knife-wielding homosexual in a mesh vest to let off some steam in ‘Commando’.


The World According to Arnie:

Hercules in New York (1970)
Stay Hungry (1976)


Pumping Iron (1977)


Cactus Jack (1979)


Conan The Barbarian (1982)

two and a half changs

Conan The Destroyer (1984)


The Terminator (1984)



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About Judge Droid

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

23 responses to “The World According to Arnie – Red Sonja (1985)”

  1. M. Blitz says :

    Poor Droid, forced to watch Red Sonja (and nary a boob in sight!). Although I do have a certain affection for Bridgette Nielsen, most recently thanks to her stint on Celebrity Rehab, I see no reason to sit through this movie ever again.

    Sword and sorcery for the most part sucks anyway. But thanks be to Droid for taking one for the team. Who knows, this could’ve come on tv one day and in a moment of weakness (or boredom, or masochism?), perhaps I’d have been tempted. But now I’ll have Droid’s brave words reminding me…..turn the channel, turn the fucking channel!

    • Droid says :

      Yes, poor ol’ me. I covet your pity Blitz.

      But I can’t really say I was forced to watch it. It’s my own idiocy that’s to blame. It’s not like I was strapped in like Alex and made to witness the horrific scenes of Nielsen and her uber-mullet butchering the english language. Although I fear I may feel physically ill next time I see Beverly Hills Cop 2. But that also might be because that film sucks as well.

      • M. Blitz says :

        Let’s call it sympathy, Droid. It has a nicer ring. 🙂

        And while you weren’t strapped in, the, uh, ‘completist urge’ I’d say constitutes a force, albeit an internal one. You were ‘forced’ to watch Red Sonja or say, Hercules in New York, in the same sense Jarv was ‘forced’ to watch Fast Company. A grim but necessary task, in the service of a greater good.

  2. Jarv says :


    Come on. It is better than Conan the Destroyer.

    He’s only called Kalidor in this because of some fuckup with the rights. It was meant to be the second Conan sequel

  3. Stuntcock Mike says :

    I can’t even remember if I’ve ever seen this fucker.

    Muchos Gracias for the heads up Droid.

  4. lordbronco says :

    Yes, with this movie and destroyer i’ve had a Master’s Thesis in Economic Film Studies That Reads something like-these two movies signalled the beginning of the end of R-Rated Genre movies.

    Literally, I sometimes believe that it was these movies that were the breaking point of denude and de-drugify and dedrugify all R-rated genre movies to chase the brand-new and ultimately bullshit PG-13 teen money-demographic!

    I’m not kidding about this, you bastards!

  5. Jarv says :

    Droid you plonker, you forgot to put the page break in.

  6. ThereWolf says :

    No, it’s not very good. It’s unintentionally funny though.

    But I do like the metal fish bit.

  7. Tom_Bando says :

    It’s a pretty sad wanker of a movie. Droid took one for the team here.

  8. Droid says :

    Speaking of boobs. I watched Bachelor Party for the first time the other day. Quite enjoyed it, but I must give a very special shout out to the gloriously spectacular pair of ta-ta’s towards the end. She’s got a head like Eeyore but bugger me the rest of her was mind bogglingly delicious. I’m lucky I wasn’t wearing tight jeans because I could’ve suffered a very serious injury.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      Bachelor Party is great and was from the pre-Oscar bait days when Tom “chins” Hanks was interesting. The fucking arrogant asshole denies the movie exists and it was his best role. Rick Gassko kicks ass.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        This has a donkey scene too.

      • Droid says :

        Why does he deny it exists? It’s just a silly 80’s comedy?

        I wouldn’t say it’s a great film (besides the knockers), but it is enjoyable. And in my opinion BIG is his best performance, and my favourite film of his.

  9. xiphos0311 says :

    Arnie has a constant look of bemusement on his face

    That’s his natural look.

  10. just pillow talk says :

    ewww…not sure which one is more horrifying to the senses. I haven’t seen this in soooo long, so it’s hard to say if it sucks more than Destoyer.

    It really is amazing Arnie was ever in good movies after those to shitburgers.

  11. Fata says :

    hehe, even at the meagre age of twelwe, I found this heap of manure to be pathetic. No shower of blood, and not a tit in sight. And whats up with asians being used for comic relief?

    • xiphos0311 says :


      Asians are still the one group you can make fun of with out the PC police getting their overwrought panties in a bunch.

      There is a basic concept with movies like these that somehow the makers continue to forget. Tits make everything better. If you can some how get a midget into the mix you have done god’s work.

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