Red Sonja [1985]

Brigitte Nielsen, as Conan creator Robert E. Howard's female warrior Red Sonja, gets an assist from Arnold Schwarzenegger in this enjoyably campy, Italian-lensed sword & sorcery adventure. Nielsen's thespian skills may be a bit stiff, but she certainly fills out the physical demands of the role, which asks her to look impressive with a sword as she avenges the death of her priestess sister and the theft of a sacred orb by an evil queen (Sandahl Bergman, also from the '82 theatrical Conan and a match for Nielsen's acting ability). Schwarzenegger (not playing Howard's barbarian king) lends some star power in a supporting role as a warrior assisting Sonja, and if the film stumbles in the acting, scripting, and special-effects departments, Richard Fleischer's direction and cinematography Giuseppe Rotunno are appropriately action-heavy and comic-book colorful (Fleischer also directed Conan the Destroyer and The Vikings); Ennio Morricone's bombastic score is another plus. --Paul Gaita

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