Conan the Barbarian
Directed by: Marcus Nispel
Cast: Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Ron Perlman, Rose McGowan
Running Time: 1 hr 52 mins
Release Date: August 19, 2011
PLOT: Conan (Momoa) is a barbarian hell bent on revenge for the death of his father.
WHO’S IT FOR? Do you like blood and muscles? That has to be your focus instead of amusing lines of dialogue, a coherent story and great visuals.
It’s insane. Conan’s mother actually chooses to be cut open during battle so she can gaze upon her newborn son before she dies. Wait, that’s not the insane part I was talking about. It’s actually before that. Morgan Freeman narrates! Sure, he used to do it all the time, but it seems so out of place for him to narrate this particular film that it almost doesn’t make sense. Then again, making sense is not the purpose of this remake of Conan the Barbarian. The purpose seems to be blood, muscles, more blood, a little bit of boobs, much more blood, and finally … blood.
We follow a young Conan but before we know it, he’s killing left and right. Even his dad seems a little shocked by this, and oddly keeps telling Conan he’s not ready even though Conan is bringing home heads from their enemies. The main enemy comes in the form of Khalar (Lang) and his insanely evil daughter Marique (McGowan). They want to rule the world. Conan just wants revenge. So he goes looking for it. Every time Conan stops, there’s an action sequence. It seems the only reason the plot moves forward is because things keep falling into Conan’s lap. He never really comes up with a plan besides swinging his sword.
Director Marcus Nispel remakes things. Unfortunately, he’s not like DuPont. After all that company doesn’t make things, it makes things better. Nispel just seems to make a comparison to the original with extra gore. He’s done The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th and his Pathfinder is just another version of this story here.
I’m a little surprised to be saying this, but Arnold Schwarzenegger is very necessary in the role of Conan. The main issue I had with Jason Momoa wielding the sword had nothing to do with his muscles. Sure, Schwarzenegger seems bigger than Momoa but who cares? My issue is that Arnold was an oaf. He could barely speak English. Everything about him felt like a barbarian. Momoa is manicured. It’s almost like they crossed Schwarzenegger with Richard Greco. This version of Conan knows he’s being an ass and doesn’t care. Schwarzenegger’s Conan had no clue, or at least that’s the way it seemed.
I might be one of the few here, but I always preferred Conan the Destroyer to Conan the Barbarian. It’s a crazy cast including Grace Jones to Wilt Chamberlain. While it is insane for this Conan the Barbarian to have Morgan Freeman narrate for a good solid three minutes, there’s not enough fun insanity to keep this barbarian going strong.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10