US movie (1985). MGM-United Artists/Famous Films/Dino De Laurentiis. Pr Christian Ferry. Exec pr A Michael Lieberman. Dir Richard Fleischer. Spfx John Stirber, Universal City Studios. Screenplay Clive Exton, George Macdonald Fraser. Based on the creations of Robert E Howard as further developed in the Red Sonja series by David C Smith and Richard Tierney. Starring Sandahl Bergman (Gedren), Brigitte Nielsen (Sonja), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Kalidor). 89 mins. Colour.
A thematic continuation of the series started with Conan the Barbarian (1981; > Conan Movies), this casts a woman, Sonja, in the Conan role. Because Sonja has rejected wicked Queen Gedren's lesbian advances, the Queen slaughters her family. A Spirit appears to grant Sonja the strength that will enable her to exact her Vengeance. Assisted by Kalidor – an up-market Conan with less personality – Sonja eventually destroys Gedren and a Talisman. Morally dubious (Gedren's lesbianism is depicted as one of her Evil attributes) and worse-acted than words can explain, RS is a great embarrassment. [JG]