"They Can't All Be Zingers."
That was the name of a greatest hits album from Primus. It could also be used to describe the career of Lucio Fulci. Though beloved by many, not every film Fulci did was an instant classic. While films like "Don't Torture a Duckling" and "The Beyond" are rightfully considered classics, and films like "Contraband" are considered underrated gems, in 1982 he directed a bad movie in "Manhattan Baby." Sadly, his career never fully recovered from that in the fact that afterward, it was nearly impossible for him to do a good movie. Case in point, his botched entry in the Sword and Sorcery craze of the 80's "Conquest."
The story (or what passes as one) deals with a young warrior who has been sent to defeat evil with his mythic bow. In his was is the villainous (and always naked) demon Ocron (Sabrina Siani), who rules the land with an iron fist and has her dog/human hybrids that look like rejected "Power Rangers" villains do her bidding. Oh, and another guy who can communicate with animals helps our hero. Or something. Honestly, this movie is so confusing I had no idea what was going on at the time.
There are some pluses in "Conquest" to be fair. There is an ample amount of female nudity on display, and you do get the requisite Lucio Fulci zombies and gore shots. Plus, it's hard not to be amused at times by the sheer goofiness and batshit insanity on display. If the dog people or a scene involving dolphins rescuing one of our heroes don't amuse you in a cheesy B-Movie way, nothing will.
Sadly, that makes the movie sound a lot more fun than it really is. The whole thing just makes no sense. Sure, some of Fulci's prior works didn't make much sense, but they at least had a story to go with them. This really doesn't have a story. It's largely just a series of poorly choreographed action scenes involving various monsters that drag on. It also doesn't help that so much is left unexplained-how did these dog people come about? How is it that one of our heroes doesn't use his bow and arrows mythical powers until the halfway point? Very little is explained, and it's padded out by a shockingly annoying score from Claudio Simonetti (from the band Goblin) and it all ends with an insanely anticlimactic and uneventful final battle that leaves the viewer scratching their heads.
I really wanted to like "Conquest", as it has the ingredients for an entertaining B-Movie. But the whole thing is so slapdash and boring (I about fell asleep an hour into it) that I can't recommend this to anyone other than hardcore Fulci fans, who probably already own the movie. Me? Well I do like some of his movies, but this certainly isn't one that I enjoyed.