Conan the Barbarian

20 08 2011

Anyone who is a fan of the original “Conan the Barbarian” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, will most likely be disappointed by the new, totally unnecessary 3D version.

“Conan the Barbarian” stars Jason Momoa of “Stargate” and “Game of Thrones” fame, as the title character Conan.

The movie opens with an introduction of the film’s mythical world, as tradition with sword-and-sorcery films. I didn’t see the movie in English. I saw it at an Italian theater where they dub films. I understood the dialogue, worry not. So I have no idea how the Morgan Freeman-narrated introduction sounds. Probably all epic and stuff.

After the introduction, we cut to a very gory battle where a woman gives birth to Conan. She dies in childbirth, and her husband, Corin, will raise Conan by himself.

Then we see Conan as a teenager. His father gets killed, kinda, by some evil sorcerer-dude (Stephen Lang), and he swears to avenge his father.

Then, as an adult, he is a dirty, smelly, strong barbarian, who still hasn’t got around to killing Stephen Lang, who has now found all the pieces of some evil snake-helmet that is supposed to revive his wife, but one ingredient is missing — the blood of Tamara, played by Rachel Nichols.

So he sets his daughter, a very creepy-looking Rose McGowan, to track down the girl with the blood. She succeeds in finding her, but Conan soon rescues her after a string of confusing action sequences. And, of course, they fall in love, because Conan is a strong man, and Tamara is a beautiful woman.

Then they set out to kill the sorcerer, whose name I now recall, Khalar Zym. There are all kinds of unmemorable names here like Ela-Shan and Fassir, etc.

The main problem with “Conan the Barbarian” is the title character himself. I mean, how am I supposed to rout for someone who just kills a lot of people. Granted, bad people, but nevertheless. He is smelly, ridiculously strong, inexplicable agile, and just downright silly.

The original Arnold Schwarzenegger character was pretty much the same, but Arnold’s wooden acting was better, plus he’s just fun to look at and hear, than Jason Momoa’s, which I wouldn’t even call acting. In fact, I’d rather go with “extended stunt-work.”

The other problems include its running time, almost two hours, which I wouldn’t normally mind, but this is just a bad movie; its never ending string of confusing action sequences that don’t tie the remains of a plot together; disturbingly much gore; average 3D; and just horrid acting from everyone around. Except maybe for Ron Perlman.

Actually, I wouldn’t call it good acting, but Ron Perlman is the best part of this movie. Maybe it’s just me, but I love seeing Ron Perlman saying or doing pretty much anything. Whether he’s dropping knifes at people (Alien Ressurection) or smoking a cigar and delivering clunky lines while completely red and grown horns (Hellboy), or just killing people and pouring lava on himself (here).

But he’s only in it for 20 minutes tops. And the running time is 112 minutes. So that is about 18% of the movie. 18% of the movie is fun. The rest, is confusing, unnecessary, and did I mention? Boring! It’s boring! I usually tend to enjoy a cheesy action flick, but “Conan the Barbarian” bored me a lot.

Exclude all those bad things I said, a devoted sword-and-sorcery fan might enjoy “Conan the Barbarian.” Just to make it clear, it isn’t horrible. It’s just plain bad. I’d recommend it to fans of sword-and-sorcery movies only. Not to fans of the original movies, nor to fans of the Robert E. Howard-created character himself.

If you want a good sword-and-sorcery movie, watch “Clash of the Titans,” and don’t try to tell me it’s bad, it is not bad. If you want a good Robert E. Howard-created character movie, then watch either the original “Conan the Barbarian,” its sequel “Conan the Destroyer,” or my personal favorite, “Solomon Kane.”

Rating: ★½





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