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Conan the Barbarian, Rexor (Ben Davidson)

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Film: Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Deceased Character: Rexor (Ben Davidson)
Archetype: Baddy (Minor)
Killed by: Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger)
Killed with: Atlantean Sword

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Written by Old Bluffer 3rd Jun 2009

Rexor is the mightiest of Thulsa Doom's men, and he towers over Conan. The two men have been adversaries for the past twenty years. Rexor commanded the raid on Conan's village when his parents were killed and he was sold into slavery.  Later, Conan raided a Snake Temple where Rexor was conducting a sacred rite, and stole the Eye of the Serpent jewel from under his nose. Rexor helped beat Conan bloody before he was nailed to the Tree of Woe, and they faced off in combat during the recapturing of the princess from Thulsa Doom's stronghold.

Suffice to say, these two loathe each other, and there was never any doubt that they would eventually battle to the death.

This happens during the climactic battle sequence, where Conan has chained the princess to a sacred rock, openly taunting Thulsa Doom to come and reclaim her.

Conan and Subotai have prepared their battle ground in great detail, and the Wizard is impressed:

Wizard: "The Gods are pleased with you, they will watch the battle!"
Conan: "Will they help?"
Wizard: "No."
Conan: "Then tell them to stay out of the way!"

Later however, Conan is given to a moment of rare spiritual introspection, and delivers one of the famous monologues of the movie:

"Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important! Valour pleases you Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to *HELL* with you!" 

Initially, it does not seem as though Conan needs any help from Crom.  He cuts Rexor's horse from beneath him in their first exchange, and then impales Thorgrim in a death trap.

While he is enjoying the spectacle of Thorgrim dying in mortal agony, Rexor is charging at him and is clearly *furious* (maybe he and Thorgrim held each other in more affection than is absolutely appropriate for a pair of Thulsa Doom's lieutenants).

Taken by surprise, it is all Conan can do to ward off Rexor's savage sword strikes with his shield.  Rexor is really going for it, and actually takes chunks of rock out with his blade when he misses.  This would be particularly galling for Conan if he knew the truth, that Rexor is using Conan's father's sword, that was forged at the start of the film.

He is in no position to identify weaponry though, as Rexor is heartbeats away from killing him. He knocks him to the dusty earth, kicks him in fury and then brings down the beautifully wrought sword to end Conan's life once and for all.

It is at this point that Crom deigns to lend a hand.  Conan has pleased him many times, so he sends back Valeria to help her true love one last time. Valeria's blade intercepts Rexor's killing blow, and she contemptuously strikes him across the face, temporarily blinding him.

Conan looks up from the ground in disbelief, to see Valeria respendent as a shining Valkyrie Warrior Woman, Shieldmaiden of Crom.

"Do you want to live forever?" she asks him, with a sardonic smile at his confusion.

Conan is momentarily agog, but is single-minded enough to turn to retrieve his sword, and when he looks again she is gone forever.

Now he and Rexor can finally face off as equals, with neither having a clear advantage.  Rexor shakes off the effect of the blindnesss (looking rather upset and annoyed that he has been effectively cheated from a certain kill, it has to be said).

They both adopt a two-handed stance, and Rexor strikes the first blows, which are parried. Conan then goes on the offensive, and forces his opponent back. Rexor slashes at Conan's head but Conan ducks beneath the blade, switches to a one-handed grip and slices Rexor's midriff open.

Wounded, Rexor staggers with his back against a rock and Conan brings his blade down upon his father's sword with a beat attack, seeking to make an opening for a killing blow.  Instead of merely deflecting his opponent's blade though, he shatters it a foot from the hilt.

With only a shard of steel to attack with, and blood spurting from his belly, Rexor is finished. He makes some token swipes, but Conan hacks him on the shoulder, producing a fountain of blood, and then opens up his stomach a second time.  Rexor is almost dead now, and Conan finishes him with a mighty downwards slash that cleaves him from shoulder to groin. As he falls into the camera, we see a final gout of blood arcing upwards.

After the battle, Conan retrieves the broken sword and realises it is his own birthright. Maybe it shattered due to the repeated blows against the rocks, maybe it failed because Rexor was not worthy to wield it, or maybe it was the Riddle of Steel.  Conan can never know for sure, but he takes it anyway, as it will be fitting to use it to end Thulsa Doom's life.

Old Bluffer's Thoughts

This final clash between Conan and Rexor is highly satisfying. The two have a deep back story and mutual enmity, and their final fight is realistically brutal.  John Milius confirms in his director's commentary that the swords they are using for the final scene are real steel, and weigh an immense 9lbs each. This gives each swing a weighty momentum that is seldom seen on screen (and in fact, he claims that directors would not be allowed to do this now).

5 categories : Swordplay, Wrath of the Gods, Slashed, Hacked, Revenge

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Other Death Reviews for Conan the Barbarian (1982)

Conan's Father (William Smith)
Conan's Mother (Nadiuska)
Valeria (Sandahl Bergman)
Thorgrim (Sven-Ole Thorsen)
Rexor (Ben Davidson)
Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones)

Number of views for this review since 30th May 2008: 9979
This review has 4 comments. Reply to the comments
Comment 1 by 'Flashpenny' (reply to this comment)
Uh... in the first paragraph, Rexor's name is replaced by Thorgrim's. Someone needs to rectify that.
Comment 2 by 'old bluffer' (reply to this comment)
Oops, thanks for that!
Comment 3 by 'Kooshmeister' (reply to this comment)

Comment 4 by 'Grim' (reply to this comment)
In response to Rexor seeming so angry over Thorgrim's death... I always assumed the two we're brothers. Note this has been a favorite film of mine since I was very young and I'm 25 now.