Kinotherapy’s review published on Letterboxd:
It's a pretty bad sign when Arnold Schwarzenegger is the BEST actor in your movie. P.S. I love how, in the poster, Arnold is bigger than Sonja.
A long time ago my Dad showed me "Red Sonja" thinking I'd really like it. After the movie I turned to my father and disowned him forever. Just kidding, love you Dad! But seriously this movie is awful.
I'm just going to cut to the chase of my least favorite aspect: Brigitte Nielsen gives one of the worst lead performances I've ever seen in my life! No exaggeration! On the level of Tommy Wiseau, Mark from "Birdemic", or that guy from "Scanners", on just how she's unable to make even the simplest of acts look natural. Her line delivery is almost like a Shatner-esque form of speaking but in a much more monotone way. Almost as if she's reading the script for the first time taking long pauses in between big words she can't pronounce. Then remembered that she didn't care so she didn't try. The only memorable scene from this film is when Nielsen is running around shouting, looking for the villain, when she goes right up to the camera and shouts "Where are you?!" With her lips perked out and eyes bulging. It's pretty funny and is probably the best moment in the film.
But our cast of crap actors doesn't stop there, we also have a kid! Because they're always great additions to film! I think he's there to add charm, but he just comes off as either annoying or awkward. He's a prince or king or something that bosses everyone around, and goes in headstrong to every situation, but that's not the worst part. I wouldn't mind so much if the kid actually sounded angry or upset, showed any emotion or purpose whatsoever. And I know he's a kid in a low budget fantasy movie. The production probably spent all their load on Schwarzenegger, they couldn't afford any good actors.
He also has this weird arc where he keeps trying to be brave and rush into every situation trying to help, but being overconfident. Sonja tries to teach him a lesson, so toward the end he gives him the most dangerous task... well what the hell does that teach him? Add these three with a bumbling pack mule and you have the Avengers of bad casts.
When it comes to these types of movies you can usually appreciate the action, sets, costumes and effects amongst all the cheesiness; however even that disappointed. Most of the film takes place in some barren grassland in New Zealand, which makes for awful world-building. In "Conan" you saw lots of different cities and villages, which made the adventure feel more fleshed out. In Red Sonja however, you never see any of that. Maybe some groups and clans, but not one village, making this fantasy world feel like it's lacking imagination. The sets and costumes are nothing new, and not even designed in interesting ways. The action scenes rather than being exciting are dull, slow, and linger on for too long. And the effects are of course all unconvincing or just fail. There's a scene in which Arnold picks up the kid with one arm, and you can see the wire holding him is as clear as day.
All we watch for the majority of the movie is just Sonja and her friends wandering from random place to place never having any effect on the overall plot or developing our heroes. One scene has them go into a cave for some reason and get attacked by a lake monster (which of course looks awful) and it feels like this scene will never end! There's no music, there's no fast editing or quick pacing to make us feel the danger, they weren't really even fighting it! I'm pretty sure they were just riding it for the most part. Like they wanted to have some fun with the poor creature before they kill it.
Anyway "Red Sonja" is about as lame as a cheesy fantasy movie can get. I'm rating it pretty low, because I really can't think of anything good about this movie! However it's not the worst film I've ever seen. It's not painfully boring or offensive, it's just all around bad. There's a couple funny moments you can laugh at, but not much to enjoy on your own. I don't recommend this movie at all, unless your with some friends and you want to give your riffing skills a shot, but honestly, the further away from this one, the better!
P.S. I just learned that Ennio Morricone did the music for this film, and Giuseppe Rotunno did the cinematography... Wha... How? Now I'm upset again.