Conan the Barbarian (1982)

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John Milius directs Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones and Sandahl Bergman in this warrior versus a mystical snake cult adventure.

Impressive in scale and intent but disappointing in pace and action, you admire this early Schwarzenegger vehicle more for it ambitions than its execution. Sword and sorcery hits our screens in such small, rare bursts that even if this fails to live up to be anywhere near to the Lord of the Rings gold standard, it still makes the medal podium compared to its lesser rivals. Moments such as a dangerous sex scene with a witch, James Earl Jones going full python, the animated attack of the warrior ghosts all linger in the memory effectively. Arnie’s acting is still finding its feet, he often seems happy enough to just be making such an epic romp, but if a scene really demands an emotion you can at the very least see the gears grinding hard to achieve it. A promise of greater things he would deliver on personally… even if the genre and franchise have yet to really. As a viewing experience though this essentially sells us steel, gives us bronze.

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