Monday, 29 August 2011

Conan the Barbarian

It is time to make my usual disclaimer that I have not seen the original Conan the Barbarian therefore this review is based solely on the film I have seen today.  I feel like I have typed this disclaimer several times already this month but this probably says more about my lack of film knowledge than it does about the sudden influx of remakes.
PLOT:  Conan (Jason Momoa) is a young Barbarian being trained by his father (Ron Perlman) to become a great warrior.  Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang) and his creepy ass daughter (Rose McGowan) invades their village in search for the final piece of a mask which will give him great and unexplained powers. Khalar kills Ron Perlman and Conan swears revenge. Manly grunt. Blood splatter. Blood splatter. Blood splatter.  Drinking.  Boobs. Manly grunt (of approval).  Blood splatter. Blood splatter.  Damsel in distress.  Comedy bonding. Blood splatter. Blood splatter. Graphic sex scene.  Blood splatter. Damsel screaming. Manly grunt. Damsel screaming.  Blood splatter. Death of creepy ass daughter. Blood splatter. Damsel screaming.  Death of Khalar.  Damsel finally stops screaming and goes home. Conan rides off into the sunset.  END PLOT

The plot manages to be unoriginal and non-existent at the same so kudos to the writers on that front.

The set pieces were all sub par and unremarkable.  The grand finale was severely hampered by the fact that Tamara (Rachel Nichols), the love interest, was a screamer, sorry let me rephrase that – she was a FUCKING SCREAMER! The screaming lasted so long I think I aged twenty years by repressing the violent agitation which was growing inside me. 

The film was bloody very bloody.   The first few blood splatters caught me by surprise and I did find myself wincing but after ten minutes it became boringly repetitive.  Conan killed random extras with so much manly vigour they all seemed to explode watery blood.

Jason Momoa has perfected the art of growling and frowning on cue but that is all he can do.  Conan doesn’t speak in sentences which contain more than four words which suits Momoa perfectly as I don’t think he can speak in sentences which contain more than four words.  Momoa is devoid of charm, charisma and generally all the traits one would expect a leading man to have.

The supporting cast didn’t fare much better but I think the fact that Khalar and his creepy ass daughter had more screen time than Conan speaks volumes.  Thank Christ the great Ron Perlman had the sense to bail early on saving me the painful experience of having to say something negative about him.

In several wide shots the landscape looked good and some of the smaller sets were impressive.  There were however some dodgy shots of Conan approaching large cities which were obviously green screen.  The film attempted to have the look and feel of a large scale “epic” but it ended up being cheap and nasty.

Conan the Barbarian isn’t cheesy nor is it so bad it’s good – it is just bad.  This is disappointing as the director Marcus Nispel made Pathfinder, a very entertaining bad film. Conan gets 3/10 but only because I am in a generous mood. 


  1. The original is cheesy fun, like all 80's Arnold films, this one just sounds bad. Glad I stayed far away and you didn't lose the ability to use your eyes and ears suffering through it.

  2. I just couldn't warm to it at all - I wanted cheesy fun but this was not a fun filled 90mins :-D

  3. I saw the trailers last week and wasn't impressed with what I saw. The original wasn't great as it typfied so much that was awful about cinema of the 1980's, but it sounds better than this!
    Love the 'manly grunts' comment...I really do think I'll be giving this a miss.

  4. You follow Ventilation Shaft. He has written a review and called this an 'abomination'!! I laughed and he gave it a 2/10.
    I left the comment that how can an intially mediocre movie in the Arnie original be made in to something even worse?!!! I never got into the Conan movies when they were released, but even so I think the original mediocre. I did read several of the novels though. I much preffered his later movies T, T2, Total Recall, etc. But bah to Conan!

  5. Can you send me the link to his blog so I can have a nosey?

    Conan movies? I didn't realise there was more than one!

    I am not a big Arnie fan but I do have an affection for Commando like most folks.

    There was an awful lot of grunting, it was bizarre.

  6. Coolawesomemovies is his site, you can link through my blog if need be as it is this most recent pst. Yes there was a second Conan movie, but I don't think Arnie reurned in the role. It was awful to say the least even in its day so it is no surprise it is now so obscure.

  7. D - thanks for reading!

    Brent I read his review and it was really good - it was good to see the comparison between the film and the source material. It shows even more why the film was awful!

  8. Hey, people! Just wanted to offer some answers regarding the Conan films: There were two Conan films with Arnold - the first was also called "The Barbarian", and the sequel was titled "Conan the Destroyer". The first I personally hold to be a very good film in its own way. The second was cheap sword and sorcery romp, fun but even further deviating from the source material.

    There were plans for a third Conan. This ultimately fell off, and the script was turned into "Kull the Conqueror", starring Kevin Sorbo as the titular character. Kull is another Robert E. Howard's character, a barbarian turned from Atlantis turned King of Valusia, a distant Conan's ancestor. While the two are alike, they're also very different, with Kull being a more brooding and melancholic character, while Conan is more a man of action.

    The final adaptation (not counting Momoa's "Conan" nautrually) of one of REH's characters was "Solomon Kane" from last year - again, the film doesn't stay true to the character's origin, but it nails the atmosphere (plus, James Purefoy as Kane was awesome). It's a very good dark fantasy film I would recommend.

  9. Thanks for stopping by and sharing the knowledge!

    K :-D