Director: Richard Fleischer
While Conan the Barbarian strikes every note nicely, Conan the Destroyer is dischordant, at least compared to its predecessor and all that film did so well within the genre. As a sword&sorcery flick, Destroyer is not half bad, but it’s no Barbarian, and it’s not something surprisingly good that you can go back to over & over again. They left the door open to make more, but they never did, not with Arnold anyway; the 2011 version with a young Jason Momoa is mostly lampooned, and doesn’t hold a candle to these 80s gems.
Another adventure in the epic of Conan, this time he finds himself employed by a queen to accompany a princess on a dangerous quest, with the reward being what he dreams of most, the resurrection of his beloved and the reunion of their love. So Conan sets out to take the princess on a magical journey, and with him go a thief, a wizard, a warrior, and the princess’s questionable bodyguard. Tricks and battles lie around every corner, with the ending of the quest requiring all their skill and trust.
Number Two is fun, but only in the genre way; Number One was great all on its own. This time, we get more dialogue from bad actors, more fights that look fake, and more of a story, which works and involves a lot more characters, but isn’t really that good moved any distance away from the safety of the style. Wilt Chamberlain, Andre the Giant, that muscular Nazi who gets chopped by a propeller blade in Indiana Jones; there are a few moments that jump the shark, making Destroyer a silly addition to the franchise, and worth loving in an 80s fantasy sort of way, but the positives really stop there.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆