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Red Sonja

USA 1985
produced by
Christian Ferry, A. Michael Lieberman (executive) for Dino De Laurentiis Productions, Famous Films
directed by Richard Fleischer
starring Brigitte Nielsen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sandahl Bergman, Paul L.Smith, Ernie Reyes jr, Ronald Lacey, Pat Roach, Terry Richards, Janet Agren, Donna Osterbuhr, Lara Naszinsky, Hans Meyer, Francesca Romana Coluzzi, Stefano Maria Mioni, Tutte Lemkow, Kiyoshi Yamasaki, Tad Horino
screenplay by Clive Exton, George MacDonald Fraser, based on the character created by Robert E.Howard, music by Ennio Morricone, production and costume design by Danilo Donati

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Many years ago, Red Sonja's (Brigitte Nielsen) family was killed by Gedren's (Sandahl Bergman) soldiers and she was brutally raped. Since then, she has trained to become a swordsmaster and has learned to hate all men and only accept one as her mate who can defeat her in fight ...

Now, Gedren's soldiers have come to steal the Talisman, pretty mucht he only thing that can destroy the world and that can only be touched by women, and while the soldiers are at it, they also slaughter all the priestesses who guard the Talisman, only one gets away, Varna (Janet Agren), Sonja's sister ... but she dies in the arms of barbarian Kalidor (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who defends her against her pursuers. But before she dies, she tells Kalidor to go find her sister to tell her about the Talisman.

Ultimately, Kalidor finds Sonja, and receiving the news she immediately decides to go after Gedren and save the world, but when Kalidor, who also wants to save the world, proposes to go with her, she turns him down ... but later takes with her a bratty boy king (Ernie Reyes jr) who just can't accept that his realm was smashed by Gedren and his only remaining loyal servant (Paul L.Smith). Of course though, Kalidor is always close behind and helps the trio to master many a situation (including a metal monster), and ultimately Sonja accepts him into the gang and they enter Gedren's palace which is plagued by earthquakes and the like thanks to the Talisman's influence, and fight off her army, and eventually Sonja gets to fight Gedren, and when she pushes Gedren into a crack in the earth's surface that is filled with hot molten lava she has her revenge.

Then she takes the Talisman and throws it into the crack as well, to also have saved the world. And in the end, Sonja and crew just make it out of the palace before it goes up with a bang ...

And wouldn't you know it, in the end Sonja and Kalidor realize they are in love with each other ... Awwww.

 

After producer Dino De Laurentiis was amazingly successful with the two Conan films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, he decided to have another (barbarian) character created by Robert E.Howard adapted for the big screen, preferably one that has also been adapted into a comicbook for additional mass-appeal. And wouldn't you know it, this character was Red Sonja - obviously though, De Laurentiis didn't trust the character alone enough to make big business at the box office, so he threw in Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Conan-like role. And while Richard Fleischer from Conan the Destroyer was also kept as director, the budget for Red Sonja was apparently lower than for the decently budgeted Conan films.

The outcome though is not too bad, a well-crafted B-picture that at least looks better than your usual barbarian flick - thanks to a slick direction and Danilo Donati's very impressive production and costume designs -, that is decently paced and features plenty of action. Of course the film also has its downsides customary to barbarian flicks, like a stupid, reactionary script, not always too convincing creature effects, and the leads Nielsen and Schwarzenegger fighting over whose acting is more wooden. So if you are not into barbarian flicks, you will not like this one, but if you like them for their shortcomings as well as their qualities, you might find this one as entertaining as I did.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
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A Killer Conversation

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written by
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