So I watched the Red Sonja movie recently so that I could blog about it. I haven't seen it in years so I was looking forward to it. Maybe it wasn't that bad?
It took me about a week of real time to get through the first twenty minutes. I would watch a minute and then my eyes would go red with rage and my writing brain would scream about everything that is wrong with it and I would pass out from sheer hatred. Eventually I got past the horrible beginning and I stopped passing out. I even started enjoying it at some point.
There are two huge problems with the the Red Sonja movie. Problem one is the star, Brigitte Nielsen, does not in any way look like Red Sonja. I would argue that 80% of Red Sonja's appeal as a character is her flowing red hair and generous bosom. Brigitte Nielsen had a straight gold red mullet and less than ample endowments. Part of this comes from her really impressive physique and part of it comes from the lack of the Wonder Bra being invented. It was also the 80's where the media though androgyny was hot. Thorne's Red Sonja was a sword wielding hot chick. Brigitte Nielsen was a sword wielding hot boy.
The second problem with the Red Sonja movie is the lack of story from the original source material. In the comics, Red Sonja wanders around and gets into trouble. There is no great story to steal from like they did for the Conan movie. With an abscence of material, the movie seeks to fill in the blanks in a pretty laughable manner.
I am not sure what is more offensive about the beginning about the movie. Is it when Red Sonja is trained by an Asian cliche of a master? Is it when Red Sonja's family was killed because she wouldn't submit to a lesbian Queen? The 80's were truly a terrible time for tolerance.
Once Red Sonja gets past the worse 30 minutes in movie history, the movie is not bad for a b-movie fantasy adventure. Seriously. Quit snickering!
Look, we have a cast of amusing heroes. There is this toddler Prince who is Asian so of course he knows kung-fu. His kingdom is destroyed but he has a loyal henchmen who he abuses to comic effect. Small child abusing a fat man is movie gold.
We have the evil Queen herself who is magnificent. She wears a lot of black clothes, lives in a castle decorated pre-Hot Topic Goth and a sniveling toad of a general. She even has a giant spider as a pet! How cool is that?
We also have Conan, I mean Prince Kalidor who stalks Red Sonja and helps out with his bulging muscles. Okay, Prince Kalidor is not my favorite character but I got a weird satisfaction in watching Arnold play second fiddle to a woman in a movie genre that he perfected. It is like watching Gandalf playing an apprentice to Harry Potter. Oh wait, didn't I see that movie?
Anyhoo, the plot of the movie is about the Locknar from Heavy Metal movie being used to destroy kingdoms off screen. Red Sonja and her rather crappy adventuring party have to stop the Evil queen and by Crom, we have all seen this movie before. The thing is, if it wasn't called Red Sonja and was called something like "Bitchy Boy Woman" we would all list this as one of our cult favorites.
But because this is Red Sonja, we want more. We want beauty and savagery and no annoying kids. We want Red Sonja to not get disarmed in every single combat in the movie! We want the chainmail bikini. We want a woman so sexy that we debate losing an arm in challenging her. Instead we have a very butch angry woman who quite frankly makes me want to reccomend therapy rather than seduce her.
So yeah, the movie sucks. Worse than sucking, it ruined the franchise for quite a while. For fans of fantasy, it is our League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie. It is a crippling ax blow to the neck of Red Sonja fandom.
But you know, as a shitty movie it has its moments. What was your favorite moment?