- Movie Rating -

Red Sonja (1985)

| July 5, 1985

How do you make a movie about a character like Red Sonja without making it look ridiculous?  Well, don’t ask the people who made this version because they wouldn’t know.  Their film is one of the most ridiculous sword and sandal action pictures that I’ve seen since Colossus and the Headhunters, that movie where the simple medieval villagers, for no reason, turned into cave men in the third act.

Red Sonja doesn’t quite have that problem but it isn’t much better.  This is the kind of movie where respectable actors stand around wearing leather patches on their nethers if only to maintain the PG rating and chew on dialogue that would embarrass Ed Wood.  “I will tell the future by your entrails, red woman!” says one bad guy.  “I know my future, you have none” retorts our fire-haired heroine.

The movie is loaded with dialogue like that.  One of my favorites comes from Lord Kalidor (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who instructs Sonja that “In order to be a great swordsman, one must have a great sword.  Sage advice.

The story isn’t so much written as it is plugged in.  Sonja becomes a warrior princess with lots of fiery passion but very little clothing as she seeks out the evil Queen Gedron (Sandahl Bergman) who apparently slaughtered her family, or as Sonja tells it: “You slaughtered my parents – like cattle!  My Brother!  My Sister!”  This while the castle is falling around them and dirt is being thrown at the camera.  Gedron’s plan is right off the shelf: she captures a priestess who is in possession of a mythical orb that has the power to destroy the world

Sonja’s chief ally is Lord Kalidor who wants her for his lover, despite her personal oath to never be taken by a man unless he can defeat her in battle.  But, of course, if he defeats her in battle there won’t be much left to have as a lover.  Does that mean he has to kill her?  I don’t know.

So much of Red Sonja is so silly and so ridiculous that you more or less watch it to get a laugh out of how inept the whole production is.  I sat there laughing through most of it, but I was never bored, not for one minute.   I forgive the movie is vast flaws because I know I was entertained, especially by the giant Buddha statue that look as if it was voiding its bowels.  I had to look twice at that.  Good grief!

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Action