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Red Sonja

Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 85 mins . PG . PAL


Letís cut to the chase, this film was made long before Red Sonja (Brigette Neilsen) had a boob job, so the film is of limited appeal to me. I only got it Ďcause it had Arnold in it.

Now, donít get all worked up and start composing emails telling me that Iím a sexist pig, I demean women, I should be ashamed of myself, blah blah blah. Iíve heard it all before and Iíve had it carved into a small plaque I keep above my desk to remind me of it daily. The simple fact is that Brigette was only ever meant to appeal to guys who had a thing for chics. And possibly chics with a thing for other chics, I guess.

So, when you realize that Red Sonja was made way back before she discovered the modern cultural miracle that is stuffing a soggy beanbag under your skin and lowering your IQ by 90 points, you have no other alternative than to actually watch the film for what it is, which is Conan With Smaller Boobs.

To confuse things, it even stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Conan like character, but is not actually Conan. I donít know why this is, probably some kind of copyright/contractual thing. Look it up on the net, Iím too busy wiping baby vomit off my desk here.

So whatís it all about, I hear you ask as you stuff another handful of those foul tasting crunchy M&Mís into your gob.

The short answer is I donít know.

The long answer is Look, I told you, I donít know.

If I had to guess, Iíd say itís about an angry woman seeking revenge for something. Something horrible that happened to someone, most likely her family. They were probably slaughtered when she was young. She freaked out, took up weight training and joined a roving band of bi-sexual samurai hunting down the people who stole her innocence and stabbed her dog. Big deal, I say. Get over it, woman! Like there was any innocence in the Hyborian era, anyway. Every child was clearly doomed to a life of eternal buggery from the primitive tribal elders, or would have died pushing the big walnut crushing machine in circles for years on end (See Conan The Barbarian if you donít know what Iím talking about). Whatís she so angry about? No toilets, no hot water, no television. Life sucked back then. Really, she was better off dead.

You know what it really is, donít you? This story is a metaphor for something. Read between the lines and you can probably put it together yourself. When you do, email me and let me know what it is, okay? I gotta hunch, but Iím not game to stick it in this review.


This comes off looking not too shabby, with reasonably vivid colours from time to time managing to stand out from the slightly washed out look, but clarity swerves from fairly clear with the occasional close shot to a blurred haze on some long shots. The blacks are a tad flat but arenít too crunched down and the night scenes fare okay, so itíll do the job just fine. Nothing is bad enough o be off putting for a fan or casual observer. Just donít go expecting a Superbit release anytime soon and you'll be fine.


This Dolby Digital 2.0 surround is an unimaginative and slightly dull sounding affair to bring the clang of clashing steel and evocative rubbing of leather breastplates against sweaty skin into your lounge. Grunts and groans fare okay, by which I naturally mean all the so-called Ďdialogí from Conan and sundry is clear, of course. It is an older film, and so you have to temper your modern day comparisons with that in mind, meaning a restricted sounding front stage collapsing pretty heavily into the centre, stuff all going on behind and bugger all solid bass. ĎAnemic soundingí sums it up nicely.


Me Red Sonja. Me slash extras with almighty sword and trample them to bloody death with my trusty steed. Har! Away pesky Extras!


Will this release find a new audience on DVD? Who knows. There are some sick individuals out there whoíll buy anything, just so they can tell other freaks they now have 987 titles with 1,213 individual discs (depending on how you count the box sets) and 49 DVDs on order from overseas with 96 in transit. Alternatively, perhaps there are still fans of Brigette Neilsen out there who will slavishly soak up anything the tramp has done? If thatís the case, then why not release some of her more borderline thriller/softcore porn films instead? Ah, thatís right, I forgot, theyíre shit. And they donít have Arnie in them, do they? You gotta wait for Arnie to become President for that dirt to fly. Still, if you really must have everything the big lug has done, even if it means sitting through crap with the bleached blonde Amazonian, then go for it.

Oh, and for the demented perverts out there without access to the internet (so how exactly are you reading this review then?), thereís a very brief nipple shot in the opening scenes. Yep, that last titbit (heheheeee) oughta piss off someone who hates me.

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      And I quote...
    "Perhaps there are still fans of Brigette Neilsen out there who will slavishly soak up anything the tramp has done."
    - Vince Carrozza
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