Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mirth and Meaninglessness in Richard Fleischer's *Red Sonja*

The most disturbing element of this film is not Brigitte Nielson's freakishly long mullet, but the astounding lengths to which her acting exceeds that of costar Arnold Swartzetcetera. His acting is so bad that there must be a rational reason for its level of terribleness. The only answer that makes sense to me is that he had just finished filming the Terminator (1984) and forgot which movie he was working on. OR...Maybe...he actually IS the cyborg 'Terminator.' That would explain the strange wires sticking out of his arm when he lifts Prince Tarn above his head just before the Sonja-Kalidor erotic barbarian fight scene.

Erotic Barbarian Swordplay--Piqued Your Interest, Didn't I?
Speaking of erotic barbarian swordplay, it seems that maybe...I'm just guessing here...they used authentic iron-age barbarian swords in the making of this film. Because nobody but Arnie seems to be able to actually lift the swords for more than 15 seconds. Especially not the vicious, fetching hordes of orb-protecting priestesses that are thrown into the vaginal hole of nothingness in one of the movie's early scenes. I found their girly squeals as they battled Queen Gedren's army mildly off-putting, but I was downright confused about the sounds they made once they were hurtled into the aforementioned orifice. I have a feeling...this is just a hunch...that Fleischer spent all of his budget on self-tanner for Arnie and was forced to use audio from old porn soundtracks. Cause those little nymphs sounded like they were having waaay too much fun...

Ah, The Undying Bond of Sisterhood
This battle is followed by a sensitive and heart-wrenching scene in which Sonja barks at her dying sister, "WHICH WAY DID THEY GO?" in response to her sister's account of the slaughter of the priestesses (phew, just writing that sentence winded me). One can only assume that Sonja is too tough and bent on revenge to cry when her sister expires. Nope, no time for tears, nuh-uh. Just pyre that baby and let's get on with puttin the hurt on Gedren.

Why You Techno-Savvy Barbarian, You!
So many other scenes deserve comment, but frankly thinking about this movie is causing flashing lights in my peripheral vision. Let's just pause in contemplation of the 20-minute battle scene with 'The Machine'--yes, that's the name of the barbarian robot water dragon (oh those crazy barbarians and their crafty robotic amphibians) that Swarzamuffin stabs with a dagger for 17 minutes before realizing it's MADE OF IRON.

I won't spoil the ending for you (because I couldn't watch anymore). Suffice to say, it was a fitting end for this film.


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