I have fond childhood memories of the Conan movies and didn’t know that this movie even existed. I found this in a bargain bin and was quickly informed that it was a friend’s favorite bad movie. This was astonishing, since I didn’t even know Arnold had been in a bad movie, so it was an easy buy.
I had quite a few questions about this movie, just by looking at the cover I knew that all my questions about integrity could be answered. Was this truly the first comic book movie that was perfectly faithful to the comics? Was this some hidden gem, some darling movie that Brigitte Nielsen and the man who directed ‘Soylent Green’ gave us that we overlooked? However, looking at the back cover, I decided probably not. Because, this couldn’t be good and it turns out, I was right!
This movie has it all: bad acting, bad effects, bad sword and sandals plot, annoying sidekicks in the form of precocious children, rubber monsters, incoherent plot and plenty of badly choreographed sword fights. Of course, the ending involves storming a castle, that for some reason, has a molten lava pit at the bottom of it.
Then again, molten lava pits in a castle might explain why Arnold is not playing Conan but someone else. He’s playing the love interest! A man named Lord Kalidor, but might as well be named Conan, except he can’t be called Conan for who knows why? I don’t care, I just said ‘ah, Conan has arrived. Nope he’s another guy named Kalidor. Wait, he uhh.. chopped a guy in half. He’s Conan! Nevermind, she just called him Kalidor. Maybe he’s Conidor!’
So, after ‘Conan the Barbarian’ and ‘Conan the Destroyer,’ we get ‘Conan the Incomprehensible.’ Which is funny, because the true star of the movie is the mullet sporting Red Sonja!
Red Sonja, the unofficial trilogy ending for the Conan saga can be found at Amazon for $5.49.
Harry And The Hendersons
If you’re going to read this blog for any great length of time, you need to accept there are names you will hear a lot. Bruce Campbell. Stan Winston. Ron Perlman. Probably more than a little Christopher Walken. And Baker. Lots of Rick Baker.
Rick Baker is the maestro of make-up. He was the first person to earn an Oscar for make-up achievement on “American Werewolf in London”, and just to show it wasn’t a fluke, he won the same award five times over for his work on various films – including this one. His work shows the power of brick and mortar make-up over digital effects, and this movie shows it just with Bigfoot sitting on the couch.
Years before beaming down from the mother-ship in “Third Rock for the Sun”, John Lithgow meets a creature arguably stranger than French Stewart when he hits a large upright-walking beast with his car. Not sure what to do – and even what he hit – he puts it on his car, which as anyone who has seen “Tommy Boy” knows, is never a good idea. The creature recovers, and soon the Henderson family has a Sasquatch roaming suburbia. Fortunately for the Hendersons, the creature is friendly and virtually part of the family. Unfortunately for the Hendersons – and the Bigfoot “Harry” – the rest of the world is not so friendly, especially in the case of the gun-touting bounty hunter closing in on Harry’s position.
On the surface, the flick is a loving and enjoyable family film from the director of “Angels in the Outfield” and “The Sandlot 3″ (but not 1 or 2). The real draw of the movie is astounding make-up job by Baker himself, which convinces you that Bigfoot is real and quite partial to Seattle. It’s yet another win for make-up artist Rick Baker, setting the stage for future make-up-heavy family affairs like “Men in Black” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, both of which – you guessed it – had Rick Baker’s signature make-up effects. As for “Harry”, you shouldn’t feel too bad to him after his emotional departure in the movie’s end – the movie was so successful, it spawned three seasons of a half-hour sitcom of the same name.
No word yet on the TV series, but you can find the movie “Harry and the Hendersons: Special Edition” at DeepDiscount for $5.88.
Reign of Fire
There are so many B-movies we can’t recommend paying even $10 for, but thankfully, this isn’t one of them.
Long before he was an angry Bat-John-Connor, Christian Bale had even bigger problems when fire-breathing dragons surface in London and quickly spread throughout the world. After some exposition, we find Bale riding out the post-apocalypse with a small community of survivors, among them a pre-Spartan Gerard Butler. Everything is fine (save for the ash-eating monsters roaming the countryside) until a bald Matthew McConaughey turns up with a small army and a method to killing dragons.
If this sounds like a fan-fiction writer trying (or perhaps drinking) too hard, it might be because “Reign of Fire” is one of the best kept secrets in the bargain bin. This cult classic features not one, not two, but three rising stars in an impressive, if not highly underrated, offering.
Perhaps the best parts of the movie come from watchimg McConaughey and company hunt dragons using modern equipment such as helicopters, remote imaging and more in an innovative and action-packed twist. And of course, when Bale and McConaughey aren’t chewing scenery, they are chewing out each other.
Probably the best live-action dragon movie since “Dragonheart” (which is sure to end up on our column sooner or later), this movie definitely serves a view from fans of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic action alike!
You can buy “Reign of Fire” at Buy.com for $6.33 plus shipping.