Conan the Destroyer destroyed the Conan franchise. Talk about a dramatic shift in tone. Although strangely enough it did sort of hint at the kinds of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies that would eventually dominate his career. Conan the Destroyer ditches its graphic violence, nudity, and R rating in favor of bloodless violence, a comedic tone, and a PG rating. So basically everything that made Conan the Barbarian so good. Not that Conan the Destroyer doesn’t have cheesy entertainment value. It just doesn’t make as much sense to have a PG barbarian movie. Conan the Destroyer is about Conan being sent on a quest to safely transport a virgin to restore a jewel. It’s not nearly as simple as the first movie. Although one of the better additions is Grace Jones as a warrior woman named Zulu. She plays strong female characters very well. Plus like I said, Arnold movies are always quotable. However, the biggest problem with Conan the Destroyer is the direction they took. It’s one of the earliest examples of making a sequel to an R rated movie that’s way lighter. It’s especially unusual considering the 80’s reputation for intense movies that were still marketed to a wide audience. I’m still not sure why they didn’t just make it R rated. In fact, it was such a disappointment that they didn’t even make the sequel the end of the movie promised. Conan the Destroyer could have meant the end of Arnold’s career if not for what came later that same year.
Preceded by: Conan the Barbarian