- Movie Rating -

Conan the Destroyer (1984)

| June 29, 1984

Conan the Destroyer is not a great sequel to Conan the Barbarian but I have to wonder if my appreciation for it may not have been somewhat dimmed by seeing it in such close approximation to Greystoke.  The “realistic” Tarzan movie illustrated the problem with the Lord of the Apes, in that in making him more realistic, it also exposed his limitations – he has to stay in the jungles of Africa because he is simply not meant for civilization.  On the whole I prefer Conan because his adventures are born without a recognizable sense of civilization.  He has no limitations.  If there are, he will just divide and conquer and dominate.  It’s his way.

What I appreciated about Conan the Barbarian was that it seemed to create a specific world for its hero to inhabit, one that he could easily divide and conquer.  It seemed organic to a muscle-bound man who wears furs and wields a broadsword.  Conan the Destroyer seems to exist more in the world of other sword and sandal epics, the ones that thrown in pre-history, fantasy, sci-fi and the combined elements about 10,000 years of human history that, by Conan’s time, haven’t happened yet.  It feels a little closer to “Masters of the Universe” than to Robert E. Howard.

This movie seems to have a different tone than the previous.  It’s a goofier adventure, lighter in its passages and, again, more in the spirit of high adventure.  The plot is right out of Dungeons and Dragons: Conan is recruited by the Queen (Sara Douglas) to escort the beautiful virgin Princess Jehnna (Olivia d’Abo) to an enchanted castle that is guarded by a beast.  On his quest, he is joined by a palace guard (Wilt Chamberlain) and a black warrior (Grace Jones) who owes Conan a life debt.

What happens isn’t exactly a surprise.  You know why you’re here and the movie provides exactly what you’re looking for, unless of course you’re looking for a nice twist to the usual hero’s journey.  Again, I think it is basically inferior to Conan the Barbarian but I enjoyed myself much more than I did at Greystoke.  It’s not perfect, but I had a good time.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1983) View IMDB Filed in: Action