Best of, Worst of… screw ’em!
It’s time to sink through the mire towards the stuff down there nestled
under the surface. Past the big hits, cult classics, and respected
middle-tier stuff where the filler lives. Maybe even a little closer to
the bottom than the top. Treacherously close to the bombs, the stinkers,
and the abominations. Films that not only don’t get love but don’t
really even deserve love.

here. So with that we bring you… Ten Mediocre Films We Can’t Help But

Note: Each of these films is
embraced by a single editor. These are not committee decisions, not are
they representative of one unified editorial focus. Each author
is on their own.

Day Six – Conan The Destroyer
Embraced by David Oliver (email address for hate mail)

Director: Robert Fleischer
Writers: Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway (story), Stanley Mann (script)
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Grace Jones, Wilt Chamberlain, Olivia d’Abo, Sarah Douglas, Mako, Tracey Walter, Sven-Ole Thorsen, Andre The Giant (uncredited)
U.S. Box Office: $31,000,000 (Budget: $18,000,000)
Rotten Rating: 29%

There are several very valid and cogent reasons to embrace the mediocrity of Conan The Destroyer:

1. It’s the only other Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan adventure we have ever had or will ever have.
2. It’s the only other Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan adventure we have ever had or will ever have that’s not Red Sonja.
3. In terms of quality and watch-ability, it’s right smack dab in the mediocre middle between the first Conan and Sonja.

And make no mistake about it, Red Sonja, as ghastly ’80s trashy sword and sorcery chic as it was, was about the most de facto sequel to a franchise with which it had nothing to do ever.  Schwarzenegger and director Richard Fleischer practically rolled right into that film from this one, and Conan The Barbarian alum, Sandahl Bergman, was resurrected in the form of Queen Gedren after (wisely / foolishly, take your pick) turning down the titular role for the heavy instead.  And since Conan ditched everybody in Shadizar at the end of Destroyer, who’s to say he didn’t just identity theft some poor slob named Kalidor (he was the King of Thieves after all) by the time Sonja rolled around?  But that’s a tale for another time I suppose.

Anyway, Destroyer, in a nutshell, was basically a more kid-friendly Barbarian.  There’s more humor, more magic, more fighting, more garish ’80s Bond Babes, sisters of ’80s Bond Babes, and more NBA this time out.  The Riddle of Steel had long ago been solved, so now the Riddle of Getting Paid was all Conan was interested in at this point.  That is until Tamaris shows up, throws a few dozen guards at him to no avail, and then throws a line about resurrecting Valeria at him, which definitely does make with the availing.

So does Destroyer have anything going for it over Barbarian?  Hardly.  Barbarian is much more timeless than Destroyer, which went for the yuks than the grit of the original.  By casting Grace Jones alone, Destroyer was hopelessly dating itself.  Plus, by having Chamberlain, who was by far a bigger piece of wood than Jones’ staff, around, the stunt casting was complete.  The only way Destroyer could have possibly gone more “’80s flavor-of-the-month” would have been to have young Ernie Reyes, Jr…in…it….  However, at 103 minutes, Destroyer is a bit more Point A to Point B than Barbarian and quite a bit more popcorn.  Make of that what you will.

It’s also not light in the sword half of the sword & sorcery.  You get a couple of Shadizar Palace Guard throwdowns, some Horn Cult carnage, a Tyson/Holyfield-worthy ear-ganshing mixer between Conan and Bombatta, a laughably stilted final confrontation with Dagoth and an absolutely classic wrestling match with Toth-Amon’s Mirror Gimp.  For a film that was supposed to cut down on the bloodletting, there’s still just enough to not completely disappoint.  Plus, this was Schwarzenegger at possibly his physical peak in the movies.  The guy looked like Mr. Universe out there and put his (nearly) final stamp on the character. 

Plus, there’s a pussy-faced, web-footed demon.  What’s not to embrace?

this movie despite the fact that Andre The Giant wasn’t credited

this series on our message boards smartly, or really dumbly on the
talkback below

Day One: The Peacemaker
Day Two: Metro
Day Three: Red Planet
Day Four: Mortal Kombat
Day Five: Oscar