Red Sonja (1985)
November 22, 2022 8:59 AM - Subscribe

Power-hungry Queen Gedren (Sandahl Bergman) captures the priestesses guarding the Talisman, a mystical orb that created and can destroy the world. But one of the priestesses escapes and seeks out her warrior sister, Red Sonja (Brigitte Nielsen), to warn her about Gedren's plan for world domination. Lord Kalidor (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the Talisman's keeper, insists on helping Sonja, and though she scorns the assistance of any man, she soon gains respect for Kalidor's fighting prowess.

Directed by Richard Fleischer (Soylent Green). Written by George MacDonald Fraser and Clive Exton, based on the character created by Robert E. Howard in his Conan stories.

21% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently available for digital rental. JustWatch listing.

Today, I'm posting a half dozen 80's fantasy films that were on repeat on cable back in the day.
posted by DirtyOldTown (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:59 AM on November 22, 2022

If only they could have worked in Stallone (Nielsen's husband, for a while) and Dolph Lundgren (worked with her in Rocky IV), and then somehow gotten them all to do a dance number...
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:01 AM on November 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Kinda telling that in a film intended to launch Red Sonja and Brigitte Nielson, Arnie gets top billing. I guess it was supposed to just be a cameo, and then DeLaurentis extended his time on set and the next thing you know, he's a co-star.
posted by nubs at 1:38 PM on November 22, 2022

Inspired by a character REH wrote, sure, but she was from a piece of historical fiction set in the sixteenth century, having nothing to do with Conan. We owe the Hyrkanian warrior's creation to Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith. I recommend Gail Simone's run on the title.

As far as this abomination of a film goes, it is the only film that Arnie has said he regrets making. He has made some awful movies, but this one, even he thinks should be left in the dustbin of Hollywood history. I hope, but I am expecting to be disappointed, that the current in production Red Sonja film will be good.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 5:23 PM on November 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

The first time I saw this, it was a rental from a video store in a college town of 1000 townies and about the same in students in Iowa.

The VHS tape was in kinda rough condition, but the final fight scene was unwatchable because it had been rewound and rewatched so many times that that part of the tape was worn out.

I don't think I'd seen that final fight scene until it came out on DVD.

The hero costumes weren't bad, but I recall thinking very poorly of the other costuming - especially the bandits at the gate with their silly lizardman-looking cheap-assed costumes.

Paul L. Smith, imo, is under-rated. He was more than a passable The Beast Rabban in 'Dune.'

As a person of Chinese descent, I really did not like the Prince Tarn character nor worldbuilding.

It was kind of a trip to see Sandahl Bergman as the evil queen, after playing Valeria in 'Conan the Barbarian.'
posted by porpoise at 5:31 PM on November 22, 2022

Is it the one were somebody kicks a fake boulder like it’s just a beach ball or is that in Conan the Destroyer? Maybe the big goof in this one is that they’re trying to show Arnold struggling to riser a herse and obviously the prop is too light and he has to lower it after lifting it too much…
posted by WaterAndPixels at 6:02 PM on November 22, 2022

This movie is all just set pieces and they're really not good ones. I guess there's sort of a plot ...? I watched this earlier this year and the major takeaway was that Arnie was Totally Not Conan But An Entirely Different Character (although, I mean, let's face it, he was supposed to be Conan).

Nielson does what she can but she's not given much to do.

The Red Sonja comics vary in quality but are often a lot of fun (Simone's run is good, but a lot of women worked on Red Sonja over the years, even in the earlier days). She's a character that deserves a better movie. Maybe one day ...
posted by edencosmic at 6:13 PM on November 22, 2022

I was involved in the startup of a geeky frat, and one of our rush events was a movie riffing night.

This was the opener.

The only riff I remember making is a Highlander reference when she's fighting the cameraman in the opening scene.
posted by stevis23 at 8:42 PM on November 22, 2022

I don't know how or why but one summer (the start of the holidays) someone gifted my sister this film on VHS tape.

She was 6-7 I was 11-12.

Our parents weren't very good at monitoring what we watched and she watched it every day for a year - I guess they figured once she watched it once any potential harm was already done ?

Anyway, despite having seen it - literally - over 300 times I rember basically nothing about this film and I suspect my brain is/was trying to protect me.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:44 AM on November 23, 2022 [2 favorites]

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