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Film / Conan the Destroyer

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Conan the Destroyer is the sequel to Conan the Barbarian, released in the year 1984 and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger once again.

Conan and his accomplice Malak (Tracey Walter) are tasked by Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas) to escort her niece Princess Jehnna (Olivia d'Abo) to obtain an artifact needed to resurrect Dagoth, "The Dreaming God". Little does he know that the god in question will bring the age of darkness upon its resurrection, and the princess has to be sacrificed in order to do so. Taramis sends her personal bodyguard Bombaata (Wilt Chamberlain) to accompany them. On the way, Conan saves the lives of wizard Akiro (Mako) and Zula (Grace Jones), who then join the team.

Due to copyrights issues, a third Conan film, with the same director as Destroyer, became the Divorced Installment Red Sonja, with Schwarzenegger playing a character who officially wasn't Conan.

Conan the Destroyer provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The film seems to grab names from Howard's canon and slap them around willy-nilly.
    • Queen Taramis shares the name of a character in "A Witch Shall Be Born," which includes an evil witch-queen. The difference is Taramis was the good and rightful Queen, her twin sister was the evil witch Salome who usurped her throne and identity. None of this is included in the film, making Taramis an original evil sorceress overlord.
    • The name Thoth-Amon is given to a character who more closely resembles Thak from "Rogues In The House," an evolved ape-man who is surprisingly intelligent. Thoth-Amon was a Stygian (Egyptian) sorcerer and follower of Set, a clever and subtle nemesis who never actually faced Conan in person; the two were largely ignorant of how their actions affected each other.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The Horn Of Azoth graphic novel renames a lot of the characters to distance itself from the movie.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Thoth-Amon's death comes across as this, as his motivations for keeping Jehnna are unclear and could easily be a Hero Antagonist. His Better to Die than Be Killed death by grasping the gem, disintegrating him, is strangely poignant.
  • All There in the Manual: The novelization explains that Bombaata is a eunuch, which explains the Princess's comment about him not being a "real man."
  • And the Adventure Continues: Unfortunately they didn't, at least on film.
  • Animal Motif: Zula's outfit, especially her ceremonial garb, is made to resemble a horse, complete with tail.
  • Artistic Licence: Biology: During the ambush by Taramis' soldiers, Malak cuts the throat of a soldier, who then...screams in pain?
  • Because Destiny Says So: Discussed; As Jehnna is retrieving the Horn of Dagoth, Akiro reads the full prophecy that tells of how Jehnna must be sacrificed, and how Dagoth will destroy the world once he's revived. When Akiro warns Conan of all this, Conan, determined to earn Valeria's resurrection, is dismissive of the latter point - "It's just writing on the wall!" - but as for Jehnna's fate...
    Akiro: She is to be killed! Sacrificed!
    Conan: We shall see. Destiny or not.
  • The Big Guy: Bombaata. It's really saying something when someone in a Conan film is the big guy and it isn't Conan.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The villains are all defeated, but Conan doesn't get his wife revived, and Jehnna's offer to the barbarian is rejected, which saddens her. Also, the ending narration states that Conan becomes a king in the future, but there's something troubling him deeply. But that would be another story...
  • Bodyguard Crush: Jehnna has one on Conan.
  • But Now I Must Go: Conan, at the ending.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: Queen Taramis' promise to resurrect Conan's girlfriend Valeria in exchange for the Horn of Dagoth was this, as Conan himself eventually acknowledges.
  • Call-Back: Conan is still affected by the loss of Valeria (in the first film). Queen Taramis uses this to have him seek the Horn of Dagoth for her, promising to bring Valeria back to life with Dagoth's powers.
  • Cannibal Tribe: A superstitious tribe that assumes they can gain magical powers by eating Akiro. (Given the setting, who's to say they were wrong?)
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Subotai is gone without explanation and replaced by Malak, who acts like he's been Conan's sidekick all along. This is all the more odd since Valeria was given a Call-Back at the start. In the Horn of Azoth comic, a character never identified as but clearly meant to be him is hanged at the start, with Conan arriving too late to save him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When the fight in the catacomb starts, Malak immediately puts his back to a corner, pulls out his daggers and makes attacks of opportunity against those distracted fighting the others.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Two. Michael Fleischer wrote a two-issue limited series for Marvel then Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, who had written the original story treatment but were dissatisfied with the final script, adapted it into the 1990 graphic novel, Conan The Barbarian: The Horn of Azoth.
  • Cowardly Lion: Malak is one of the good guys, but he'd rather not be. He's constantly suggesting that he stay behind while the others go off into danger, but either circumstances or his own pride force him to follow along.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Malak may be the goofball of the group, but when Dagoth is about to tear Conan's arms out of their sockets, the thief is able to score a headshot by throwing one of his knives at the monster and hitting it dead in the face. Conan is able to free himself right after that.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Conan has developed into one in this film.
    Conan: One, two, three... I think you're right.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Jehnna offers to marry Conan and rule her kingdom at his side. He declines. She kisses him, but he doesn't even kiss her back, then walks out without a backward glance. That's cold, Conan!
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The climax has Conan besting the revived Dagoth in combat.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Zula is barefoot through the film, presumably out of tribal preference.
  • Dull Surprise: This is Conan's default expression any time something startling happens. Of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the trope codifiers.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Dagoth's statue depicts a handsome young man, which is absolutely nothing like the monstrous demon it becomes after the ritual fails.
  • Faceless Goons: Queen Taramis's guards.
  • Famed in Story: At this point, Conan has become something of a legend, which he was not in the previous film. For example, Zula recognizes him and calls him by name when eagerly asking to serve with him despite not being formally introduced to him. It's the entire reason Queen Tamaris seeks him out, and she knows who Valeria was, to boot.
  • Gender Flip: The film turned Zula, a male warrior/wizard from the Marvel Comics line, into the non-magical Action Girl played by Grace Jones as a Zulu Amazon of sorts.
  • Good Princess, Evil Queen: Queen Taramis plans on sacrificing her ingenue niece Princess Jehnna to resurrect Dagoth.
  • Groin Attack: Zula pulls this on one of the villagers attacking her. With her staff. Ouch.
  • Human Hammer-Throw: Thoth-Amon's Man Ape form grabs Conan by the feet, spins him around and throws him.
  • Humanoid Abomination / Eldritch Abomination: Dagoth
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Early in the film, Conan saves his friend Akiro from a tribe of cannibals who are planning to turn him into their next meal.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • How the Grand Vizier who is performing the ritual to revive Dagoth is killed by Zuma.
    • Also Queen Taramis on Dagoth's horn.
  • Imperfect Ritual: The ritual is botched after Conan saves Jehnna from being sacrificed, resulting in a demon being summoned that tries to kill everything in sight, the first victim being Taramis.
  • The Lad-ette: Zula
    Jehnna: How do you attract a man? What I mean is, suppose you set your heart on somebody. What would you do to get him?
    Zula: Grab him! And take him!
  • Lighter and Softer: The producers wanted to create a more family-friendly movie, so this film is much more comedic and has almost none of the brooding atmosphere of the predecessor.
  • Live-Action Escort Mission: Jehnna is helped by Conan and his friends so she can retrieve the horn.
  • Living Statue: Dagoth's (failed) resurrection has him manifesting through the statue depicting him.
  • The Load: Princess Jehnna, and boy howdy, is she ever.
  • Locked Out of the Fight: Conan's companions can only watch helplessly from behind a mirror as he has to fight against the wizard Thoth-Amon.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Unlike the previous movie where Conan spent most of his time wrapped up in full Pelts of the Barbarian, here he's a Walking Shirtless Scene in just boots and a Loincloth.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Dagoth is the name of a god that will destroy the world.
  • Neck Lift: Bombaata picks up and strangles one of the cultist attackers for a good ten seconds during the retreat to the crypt (one-handed); Darth Vader never did it better.
  • Novelization: By Robert Jordan.
  • Oh, Crap!: Queen Taramis's look when Jehnna's sacrifice is interrupted by Zuma. She knows that the god Dagoth WILL NOT be pleased if it will not have its victim.
  • Offered the Crown: Conan does the But Now I Must Go trope, preferring to earn his kingdom on his own rather than as the Hot Consort of a queen.
  • Only Sane Man: Akiro is the only person in the party who thinks resurrecting Dagoth is a very bad idea, due to Conan being blinded by the promise of his One True Love being resurrected, Jehnna being brainwashed into her role as sacrifice, Zula Just Following Orders, Bombaata being a traitor, and Malak being rock stupid.
  • Opening Monologue: Mako provides it once again.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Malak, to the point that Jehnna makes him her court jester in the end.
  • Prophetic Fallacy: Taramis and her religion have an incomplete version of the prophesy about Dagoth's return, thinking they can control him by making a sacrifice as he reanimates. Akiro finds the full version that concludes with a warning that he will bring "death to the world" in the temple that holds the horn before they retrieve it, but by then Conan is blinded by his hope for Valeria's return and doesn't care.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The "snake orgy" music from the first film is re-used in some scenes here.
  • Red Right Hand: Thoth-Amon, the evil wizard, has a partially melted face to remind you that he's evil.
  • Rejected Marriage Proposal: In the end Jehnna asks Conan to marry her and rule Shadizar at her side, but he declines to keep having adventures and because he still isn't over his deceased love Valeria.
  • Releasing from the Promise: After Conan frees her, Zula asks to ride with him and serve him. At the end of the movie Princess Jehnna asks Zula to be the captain of her guard. Conan releases her from her oath to him (and grants her permission to take the post) with a nod.
  • Royal Brat: Princess Jehnna is naïve, capricious, and obnoxious.
  • Seeks Another's Resurrection: Conan agrees to work for queen Taramis after she promises to resurrect his deceased love Valeria in exchange for his services. In retrospect, he probably should have insisted on seeing proof she could do this before making the deal.
  • Screaming Warrior: Zula
  • Screaming Woman: Jehna, and how.
  • The Sneaky Guy: Malak the cowardly thief.
  • Spiteful Spit: Zula gives one to the villagers who'd tormented her, before turning around, and defiantly walking away.
  • Spike Balls of Doom: Something between a beaked pick and a spiked mace, Bombaata's primary weapon is suitably epic (and evil).
  • The Talk: Really, Jehnna, did you really ask Malak about the birds and the bees?
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill:
    • After Conan rips off Dagoth's horn and kills it, he impales its head with his sword, prompting the theme music to swell triumphantly.
    • Immediately after Conan delivers his coup-de-grace, Malak rushes up to stab Dagoth's corpse himself, prompting the triumphant music to swell all over again as he mugs shamelessly.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Conan tosses his sword at the sorcerer Thoth-Amon, without even seeing him
  • Token Evil Teammate: Bombaata, who is instructed to betray the rest of the gang once the objective has been completed. He doesn't make much of a secret of it toward the end.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Proud Warrior Race Girl Zula and innocent, pretty Princess Jehnna.
  • Undying Loyalty: Malak, Akiro, and especially Zula to Conan, for various reasons. When Queen Jehnna offers them places in her court, each look at Conan for permission.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Princess Jehnna is meant to be one.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Conan, a lot more often compared to the first film.
  • We Can Rule Together: A rare non-evil version of the trope. Jehnna offers Conan to share the throne of Shadizar with her, but he politely declines.
  • Wizard Duel: As the group tries to evade a bunch of bad guys, Akiro has to use his skills to close a door, with the opposing side's wizard trying to open it. The duel is portrayed almost entirely by chants, gestures, reactions and Basil Poledouris' score, "Dueling Wizards".
  • Worf Had the Flu: Dagoth, since the sacrifice, Taramis, was no virgin.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Conan's fight with Lizard!Thoth-Amon becomes a WWE match after the former's sword proves useless.