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Conan the Destroyer - Blu-ray Review

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Conan the Destroyer

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2 stars

How quickly the mighty can fall.  In the mere two years since the original premiered, Conan the Destroyer presents us with the family friendly version of a barbarian who has no business being friendly or hanging around a family.  The film should have been called Conan the Neutered because this warrior has no teeth; no balls; no guts.  Directed by fantasy veteran Richard Fleischer (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Soylent Green), this time out Conan seems more interested in maintaining his California tan then in resurrecting his beloved Valeria.

Queen Taramis of Shadazar (Sarah Douglas) wants to sacrifice Princess Jehnna (Olivia d'Abo) with the hopes of resurrecting Dagoth, the Dreaming God, and become an all powerful witch.  First, she must convince Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Malak (Tracey Walter) to accompany and protect the princess as she makes her journey to steal the diamond jewel needed to enter the palace of the Golden Horn (which is necessary to resurrect the evil Dagoth).  She sells it as a peace-keeping mission and promises to resurrect Valeria if Conan is successful in returning the virginal princess.

Conan agrees and travels with Bombaata (Wilt Chamberlain), Zula (Grace Jones), and the wizard Akiro (Mako) across dangerous lands until they realize what the plan really is and face the evil queen and, ultimately, the deadly Dagoth (Andre "The Giant" Roussimouff).

While the story seems perfectly at home in the universe of Conan (which is where the extra reel comes from), the way it unwinds on the screen disappoints.  The entire movie is edited in such a way to reduce the kill-to-shot ratio.  I’ve heard that at one time, Conan the Destroyer was an R-rated film.  Where is that movie?  It got gutted by the studio wanting more money from teenagers and kids and such.  I’m sure that if you put back the gore, the mysticism, and the nudity, then we can talk about this film being legitimate but, right now, it’s easy to see the how and the why to Red Sonja’s failure (as this is the same team responsible for that dreck).

The magical mojo elixir is gone.  Outside of a memorable performance from Grace Jones and the return of Basil Poledouris’ triumphant score, Conan the Destroyer is largely a waste of character.  Sometimes the oddity of the characters makes for a certain amount of crowd-pleasing charm and fun.  Sure, Schwarzenegger has learned more English and has more dialogue this time, but the violence, nudity, and grisly nature of the first is replaced by a daisy-encrusted welcome mat.

Ugh.

Offensive in where it won’t go with the story and what it won’t do with the characters, Conan the Destroyer plays like a Saturday morning cartoon instead of a naughty tale of swords, demons, and bare-breasted women.

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{2jtab: Film Details}

Conan the DestroyerMPAA Rating: PG.
Director
: Richard Fleischer
Writer
: Stanley Mann
Cast:
Arnold Schwarzenegger; Grace Jones; Wilt Chamberlain; Mako; Tracey Walter
Genre: Action | Fantasy | Adventure
Tagline: The Darkest Side of Magic. The Strongest Side of Man.
Memorable Movie Quote: "A fine magician you are! Go back to juggling apples."
Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 29, 1984
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 2, 2011

Synopsis: Conan leads a ragtag group of adventurers on a quest for a princess.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Conan

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

1 stars



Blu-ray Experience
1.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 11, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); BD-Live; D-Box; Mobile features
Playback: Region A

Again, the print has been cleaned of dirt and debris and relatively cleaned-up for its 1080p transfer.  Colors are bright and black levels are rich and inky.  Flesh tones are perfect and the swords shimmer beneath the Mexican sun.  Interiors are solid in detail, but the exteriors are where magic happens as they are crisp and cookie-cutter defined with good detail.  Universal has placed the sound in a wonderfully verbose 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and it kicks at all five speakers a fair amount of the time.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • Apparently, this is an obligatory release as there are no special features which makes this release a definite step down.  Boo.

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