The masterul epic quality of "Conan the Barbarian" demanded an epic sequel. Instead, what we were given was a parody.
In the first movie Conan's character was well developed, you saw what happened to him over the course of his life, what created him, and what his motivations were.
In this movie, Conan is reduced to a bodybuilder in a fur diaper.
Conan's companions in the first movie were formidible accomplices who Conan respected. In this movie, Conan's companions, especially the annoyingly sniveling cretin Malak, (played by Tracey Walter) have no redeeming qualities at all. I kept hoping Conan would impale him and put us out of our misery. I was constantly lead to wonder "Why is Conan hanging around with this guy?"
Sandahl Bergman in the original movie was a Valkyrie. She was amazingly beautiful, but also amazingly powerful and dangerous.
In the second movie we were given Grace Jones. Please. Not only is she unattractive, her character was essentially unbelievable, crude and repulsive. The notion that she could portray any kind of a warrior was laughable.
The villains in the first movie are fearful. James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom, Sven Ole Thorsen as Thorgrim and Ben Davidson as Rexor come across as men who could perhaps beat Conan. It made the outcome uncertain and Conan's eventual victory that much more powerful.
In this movie the villain is a guy in a monster suit, and a rhino horn with poorly done special effects. It is so ridiculously, lame that Conan must drop his sword and arm wrestle the monster for a fair fight. Wilt Chamberlain, while a creditable athlete, simply did not have the screen prescence necessary. One look at him and it was obvious that Conan could take him. Chamberlain didn't do the role justice.
In the first movie, magic was just that. Magic. It was dangerous, expensive in terms of life and used only in dire circumstances. In this movie magic is reduced to the level of a bad "Dungeons and Dragons" game. I halfway expected The wizard (Mako) to pull out some oddly shaped dice and roll them in his battle with the Man Ape/Toth-Amon.
In the original movie, Conan ponders The riddle of steel, he's a thinker and a man of action. He speaks little. In this movie, talks toomuch, Conan rescues a blonde girl and is betrayed by the evil stepmother. It was a variation of Snow White, Cimmerian style. At least there weren't seven dwarves.
Finally, Conan movies should be R rated. The world of Conan is violent, brutal, lusty and grim. Solutuions ot problems are found with the edge of a blade, not with talk. This watered-down milquetoast version of a Conan adventure was designed to pander to a family friendly audience and D&D geeks. There's plenty of family entertainment out there, and to bring adapt Conan to that environment is wrong.
It's too bad that John Milius was not in charge of this movie. The suits in Hollywood had their way and this movie stinks as a result. The fans lost, because instead three movies we only get one good one, one bad one, and if a third is ever made, it likely won't star Arnold in the title role. What a missed opportunity. It could have been SO much better.
If you like the Conan stories, ignore this film, and stick to the one and only Conan movie.