Conan the Destroyer Blu-ray Review

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Reviewed by Chris McEneany, 29th August 2011.

Conan The Destroyer's bad press is, to me, largely unwarranted. Fleischer's film is tremendous fun. It loses the dour dignity of Milius' classic ode to machismo, and swaps testosterone-packed philosophy for fast and fun set-pieces, a glorious aura of 80's magic and mystery, and Grace Jones twirling a mighty staff. Arnie is clearly having a great deal of fun, strutting about in the finest physical form that he ever graced the movies with, and showing a lighter side to his stalwart barbarian. The ensemble cast provide a great team of bizarre characters, and the startlingly bad acting in one particular case is neatly offset by the lead man performing the part with his own tongue wedged firmly in his cheek.

The plan had been to appeal to a wider audience and, like it or not, I think Fleischer and co. managed to do that whilst still keeping more than a fair chunk of visceral action and a few little smirks for the grownups. The bodycount is colossal and there is blood on offer. Sadly, Rambaldi's demon-lord creation is terrible, and I can't find a single way to excuse it. And the Mexican grapple-bout is shockingly naff too … although the gimmick with the hall of mirrors does make the set-piece quite exciting at the same time. You've got the hugely sexy Sarah Douglas pouting with noble, sneering sadism and Wilt Chamberlain blotting out the stars. You've got Grace Jones scaring the bejeesus out of everyone. And you've got Arnie on the rampage. Sure, it's more camp than people expected … but it still captures the spirit of many adventures that Howard's hero went on with good-natured exhilaration.

Universal's disc provides a great looking and reasonable sounding transfer, considering that it hasn't hailed from a fully restored print, but the complete lack of extras is just a cop-out when you remember that the DVD had a few things, including a commentary from Douglas.

After Milius' epic, the tone may have changed, but the essentials are all here. Conan The Destroyer remains great fun. Just don't get too sloshed when you play the BOMBAATA drinking game!

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I suppose it was dino de L's attempt to appeal to a wider audience. On the other hand trying to appeal to a younger audience while having that little twerp spend all his time stabbing people in the lower back was stupid. May explain the epedemic of cowardly knife crime . One of the reason I dont like this one.

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