Arnold Schwarzenegger steals Sylvester Stallone’s wife in 1985 fantasy flop Red Sonja, a warrior woman’s (Brigitte Nielsen) quest for revenge against the evil queen (Sandahl Bergman) who killed her family.
They say when actors are having sex off screen, they have no chemistry on screen. That Arnie and Nielsen also happen to be terrible actors results in about as much romance as a bowl of cereal. Fortunately these moments are few and far between as Arnie only spent two weeks on set, his role limited to appearing at the end of action scenes to save our heroine.
The whole film is set up to disprove the titular titan’s ethos that she doesn’t need a man, an oddly sexist endeavour for a female-fronted movie. This is Nielsen’s first film role and she makes Gal Gadot looks like a thespian, though if you had to say lines like, “Falkon, may I give you a word of advice? Put him over your knee and beat some manners into him,” you’d probably be red too.
Set within the Conan canon, Red Sonja is marginally better looking than Conan the Destroyer (also directed by Richard Fleischer) but still appears to have been made at least 20 years before its release. The occasional bits of fun (including the Ennio Morricone score and a metallic water snake) are cancelled out by Sonja’s obsession with spanking children and some racist Chinese stereotypes.
Combined with the lack of Arnie, this sexism, creepiness and all-round creakiness make Red Sonja another disappointing Dino De Laurentiis production. Even if it did predict a major world event.