Conan the Destroyer (1984)

conan the destroyer poster 1984 movie arnold schwarzenegger
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Grace Jones, Wilt Chamberlain

Weaker story and look

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Conan the Destroyer

Studio:  Dino De Laurentiis Company

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure/Comic Book/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  June 29, 1984

MPAA Rating:  PG

conan the destroyer arnold schwarzenegger wilt chamberlain olivia dabo tracey walter mako

This is how we ride

Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is still mourning the death of his love Valeria.  When Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas) comes to him and offers him the return of Valeria in exchange for escorting her niece Princess Jehnna (Olivia d’Abo) to find a stone to awaken Dagoth, Conan and his sidekick Malak (Tracey Walter) take the offer.  Teamed with Princess Jehnna’s guard Bombaata (Wilt Chamberlain), Conan finds allies in a warrior woman named Zula (Grace Jones) and the wizard Akiro (Mako), but Queen Taramis might have other plans for Conan and his crew when the stone is found.

Directed by Richard Fleischer, Conan the Destroyer was the follow-up to 1982’s Conan the Barbarian.  The movie was largely panned by critics, but still has a cult following among fans of Schwarzenegger and sword-and-sorcery films.

conan the destroyer thoth amon little red riding hood demon

Wait…are we supposed to be afraid of Little Red Riding Hood?

While Conan the Barbarian felt like a smaller movie that looked bigger, Conan the Destroyer feels like a bigger movie that looks smaller.  Both movies are obviously cheap, but Conan the Destroyer feels cheaper.

The story in Conan the Barbarian just goes more directions.  In Conan the Destroyer, the “escort mission” of Conan feels more limited (and intentionally toned down violence doesn’t help either).  It does lend itself to more monsters than Conan the Barbarian with Toth-Amon in the temple and the cool mirror fight (it’s no Enter the Dragon however), and the ending monster Dagoth (who Andre the Giant portrayed) is also good.  I like that aspect of the film, but it doesn’t carry the whole movie.

conan the destroyer zula grace jones

Say what you will, I’d watch a whole Zula movie with Grace Jones

Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to be Arnold, but he plays himself so well that he’s worth watching.  I do like the addition of Grace Jones and Wilt Chamberlain for some fun (I would have watched a whole movie of Zula).  Neither are great actors, but they do add some spice to the movie which feels a bit blasé.  It is also fun to see the young Olivia d’Abo who went on to other things like The Wonder Years.

As mentioned, the movie does have more monsters than the previous one, but they did look better in the first film.  The movie suffers from a lot of chromakey shots and cheap looking matte shots (I like the base across the lake when they are looking for where Princess Jehnna could have possibly been taken to…maybe that giant palace right next to where you camped?)  I know the movie had a low budget, but I wish it had been utilized better like the first film.

conan the destroyer vs dagoth andre the giant arnold schwarzenegger

I think Dagoth is just misunderstood

Conan is such a rich character, and it sucks that he was treated with such cheapness for this follow-up sequel.  The first film was edgy and R-Rated, and the studio executives felt that turning the film into a PG film that was closer to the comic book would boost sales.  Conan effectively “died” with this film though there were plans for Conan the Conqueror but the film was scrapped (though Schwarzenegger did appear as a very Conan like character in Red Sonja).  The proposed script for Conan the Conqueror became Kull the Conqueror in 1997 with Kevin Sorbo.  A new Conan the Barbarian was released in 2011, and there was always talk of a King Conan movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger but nothing ever developed.

Related Links:

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

Red Sonja (1985)

Kull the Conqueror (1997)

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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