Watch this pulpy Arnold Schwarzenegger film before it leaves Netflix
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Watch this pulpy Arnold Schwarzenegger film before it leaves Netflix

The pulpy adventure-fantasy Conan the Destroyer, a sequel to the 1982 classic Conan the Barbarian, is all set to leave the Netflix library. With its swashbuckling adventures, larger-than-life characters, damsels in distress, exotic locations, colourful villains, and even some sorcery thrown into the mix, this one is a cult favourite in its own right. 

Directed by Richard Fleischer, the film starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Makoto Iwamatsu, who reprised their roles as Conan and Akiro, the Wizard of the Mounds, from the first film.

Before Schwarzenegger rose to fame in and as the iconic Terminator, the Conan franchise played a crucial role in establishing his stardom and solidifying his position as a leading action star. The first film, Conan the Barbarian, was Schwarzenegger’s breakout role as a solo leading actor and set the foundation for his future success in Hollywood. It also gained him international fame.

With a certain level of levity missing in the first film, Conan the Barbarian embraced its campiness with over-the-top action sequences, exaggerated characterisations, and some of Schwarzenegger’s iconic one-liners. 

Before Schwarzenegger uttered the three words, “I’ll be back,” in Terminator and got catapulted into the pop culture hall of fame, he had one classic cheesy line in Conan the Destroyer that is pure camp gold. When the virginal (before you laugh, this bit has actual plot relevance) Princess Jehnna says, “I suppose nothing hurts you,” Conan goes, “Only pain.” This is one of the many reasons this film is the perfect popcorn entertainer.

Read on if you want to know more about the film before delving in.

What is Conan the Destroyer about?

Conan the Destroyer takes place after the events of its predecessor, Conan the Barbarian, and follows the titular character, Conan, on another new heroic adventure. This time, Conan is enlisted by the beautiful and cunning Queen Taramis (played by Sarah Douglas) to rescue her niece, Princess Jehnna (Olivia d’Abo). Conan must gather a team of skilled warriors to accomplish this mission, including the cunning thief Malak (Tracey Walter) and the fierce warrior Zula (Grace Jones).

Queen Taramis promises Conan the one thing he desires most—the restoration of Valeria, his lost love, to life. In exchange for this, Conan must assist Princess Jehnna in retrieving a mystical horn that will enable Taramis to awaken the slumbering god Dagoth. As the journey unfolds, Conan and his companions encounter various challenges, battles, and confrontations with sorcerers and monsters. Along the way, Conan discovers the true nature of Queen Taramis’ intentions and must decide whether to stand by her side or defy her treacherous plans.

Conan the Destroyer thrives on its campy charm, embracing a more lighthearted and adventurous tone compared to its grittier predecessor. Schwarzenegger effortlessly embodied the formidable and stoic warrior Conan with his rudimentary style of acting.

While Conan the Destroyer received mixed reviews upon its release, it has since gained a dedicated cult following. Colin Greenland described Conan the Destroyer in his review for Imagine magazine, “Apart from the fact that it is acted by real people, Conan the Destroyer is pure comicbook, which has the odd effect of making the actual animated comicbook largely superfluous.”

In addition to its entertainment value, Conan the Destroyer contributed to the rise of the sword and sorcery subgenre in fantasy cinema during the 1980s. It paved the way for several subsequent fantasy films, influencing the way heroic quests and mythical adventures were portrayed on the silver screen.

Conan the Destroyer leaves Netflix on August 1st, 2023. Make sure to catch it before then.