Friday, November 19, 2010

Barbarian Queen (1985)

When "Conan the Barbarian" came out, Roger Corman must have popped a huge boner. Sure, Sword n' Sorcery movies had been in exploitation and Hollywood fare for years, but with "Conan", he not only had a new movie to rip off, but he could rip off said movie and include all the boobs and blood that he figured audiences wanted. So with that, Corman produced a slew of exploitation quickies "inspired" by said movie, including "Deathstalker" (and it's sequels), "Sorceress", "The Warrior and the Sorceress" (no relation to the last movie) and of course, 1985's "Barbarian Queen."

During the times of ancient Rome, a small village is pillaged (try saying that five times fast) by Roman troops, with most of the villagers either killed or taken into captivity. Well, Amethea (Lana Clarkson, who went on to be married to and the be murdered by Phil Spector. Happy viewing!) and two other women aren't going to stand by this, so it's time to liberate the village and get some vengeance.

That's about it for the plot really, though things like "story" and "character development" aren't what this movie is interested in. Nope, "Barbarian Queen" is an excuse to show gratuitous female nudity and bloody violence to undemanding audiences (re: teenage boys without particularly high standards.) It's not a complete waste of time, as it offers viewers all of that, as well as a sense of humor (while thankfully not winking and nudging at the audience), some unsavory characters (who knew a guy would rape a girl "for science"?) and more. Plus, it moves at a reasonable clip, even though it barely counts as a full length movie with it's 70 minute run time, and it doesn't do anything that will piss you off. Well, unless you are offended by scenes of (thankfully brief and not graphic) sexual violence.

The problem though, is that it really doesn't do very much at all. Maybe it's because of the budget and the time restrictions, but the whole thing mostly feels kinda...there, not to mention hollow. I know, it's useless to complain about a movie that exists only to show boobs and graphic violence, but this is a movie that would have benefited if it had a little more to it. Apart from a scene where Amethea crushes a rapists penis with her vaginal muscles, there's very little here that's memorable. Also, the action scenes are poorly handled, and the acting is all around pretty bad. While she's clearly having a good time with her role, Clarkson just isn't a particularly good actress (though that's kind of a given), and the character of Amethea is rather dull.

As it stands, there's little in "Barbarian Queen" that's likely to make fans of quick and to the point exploitation mad, and it makes for a decent enough rainy afternoon viewing. It's just that you'll probably wonder if there are better things to do with your time while watching it.

Rating: 5/10

As for people who graduated from this movie-Chris Young and James Horner did the score for the movie, and it's a fine movie. Both have gone on to be big time composers for films, with Horner doing scores for "Aliens", "Avatar", "Titanic" and many more.

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