Director: Richard Fleischer
Red Sonja failed to learn the lesson presented by Conan the Barbarian and its follow-up Conan the Destroyer. Richard Fleischer directed both Sonja and Destroyer, but it’s obvious that he didn’t learn from his mistake the first time around, when he created a sequel that got the fighting right, but was too reliant on dialogue and acting, which failed him in Arnold’s Conan 2.0 and also in Brigette’s screen debut. Conan 1 worked because people didn’t say much; Sonja fails because, for no reason at all, they talk all the time.
Years ago, the great creator made the world using a shining green talisman that gains it power from the light, and is the planet’s greatest treasure. But it is also a mighty danger, were it to fall into the wrongs hands and be used as a weapon for one conqueror’s greed. As the talisman is about to be cast into darkness, the evil Gedren steals it, and unleashes her army on the world. The sister of a murdered high priestess, Sonja must cast the talisman down before it kills one & all, but first she’ll have to put her pride away, accept help and companionship, and learn to fight with others, before her destiny can be fulfilled.
First, there is a very uncomfortable storyline about Sonja being assaulted, thus afraid of men, but needing to get over it so that she can accept a man’s help because obviously someday she’ll want them as friends and lovers. It’s very weird, but I guess we understand that things were different 40 years ago and we move on. The film, though, doesn’t really get much better. The acting from Brigitte & Arnold is abysmal, and I have no idea why Fleischer had them try any acting at all. Because the fighting is cool, the music is awesome, the story works, this should be a good movie …but it isn’t because its leads are absolutely unready.
My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆