Conan the Barbarian

Film, Action and adventure
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Conan the Barbarian
Jason Momoa in Conan the Barbarian
You don’t go into a remake of ‘Conan the Barbarian’ expecting a groundbreaking epic of cinematic genius. But, even with low expectations, this CG-heavy take on John Milius’s beloved 1982  sword ’n’ sorcery classic comes across as a half-hearted affair. Jettisoning everything that made the original work – the knowing stoner humour, the sprawling narrative canvas, the spit-and-sawdust special effects, Basil Poledouris’s magnificent score and, of course, the Austrian Oak himself – this is a standalone story not worthy of the ‘Conan’ brand.

To be fair, it starts reasonably well, as Conan is born on the battlefield, ripped from his dying mother’s womb by strapping dad Ron Perlman, who seems to be under contract to appear in every beards ’n’ broadswords fantasy going. For the next half hour, it’s unambitious but enjoyable, as Conan grows to manhood (and turns into rippling ‘Game of Thrones’ star Jason Momoa), decapitates a few chumps and makes some powerful enemies, including power-crazed warlock Khalar Zim (Stephen Lang) and his preening proto-goth daughter Marique (Rose McGowan).

All of which is serviceable enough. But somewhere in the middle it starts to unravel: battles kick off for no reason other than it’s been a while since the last one, Conan hooks up with forgettable love interest Tamara (Rachel Nichols) and the plot becomes repetitive  – poor Tamara gets chased around by the baddies about four times. Momoa is a charisma-neutral hunk of beef in the lead role, and only McGowan, who comes on like a cross between Shirley Manson and Freddy?Krueger, appears to be having any fun. The result is sporadically enjoyable – director Marcus Nispel has a way with a nifty action set-piece, when the overbearing SFX aren’t getting in the way – but mostly pointless. Rent the original instead.

By: Tom Huddleston


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday August 26 2011
Duration: 112 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Marcus Nispel
Cast: Stephen Lang
Ron Perlman
Rose McGowan
Jason Williams

Average User Rating

2.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:4
  • 1 star:1
1 person listening

On a very windy post-summer afternoon, this film was actually quite adequate 3D entertainment (especially if one goes to this film without too much unrealistic expectations)!

Light movie, plenty of blood and half naked girls... hey... is the title Conan? Jason Momoa without trouble cover Schwarzenegger... great remake.

The VERY definition of a non event. Watched it (without TOO much trouble) forgot it (with even less!) 4/10

Kerry has it about right. The film is tough going and the plot and acting are pure wood. There is gratuitous heads cutting off and gore especially for the 3d but you never quite warm to either of the male or femaile leads. Not dire but not that good.

I saw this on opening night in 3D. Enjoyed it & I think three stars would be a fair score. After seeing the two lead females in the trailer I expected allot worse from this film; but it was entertaining throughout with a heavy dose of bloody action. The direction was decent & the action set pieces were all handled well. Yet while watching I couldn't help but think what the film could have been if it was directed/developed by Michael J. Basset who made the far superior "Solomon Kane" - Which was another Robert E. Howard creation. Now down to the 3D aspect. With silly/fun films like this I usually feel like I'm missing out on something if I watch the 2D version. It did have a couple sections which used the affect well & this added a clear HD depth to the image. This was the first post conversion 3D movie I had seen as mostly they are filmed in 3D but overall I didn't find anything to complain about. Some parts looked flat, some parts had depth. In all honesty though you really wont be missing out on much if you decide to catch the 2D version as the 3D was ok but compared to a 100% 3D movie, this was around 65%. Overall it was a good film & Jason Momoa played the role of Conan convincingly. Recommenced if you enjoy sword type films that are purely meant for entertainment purposes. One of the better "Summer" movies this year.

...agree totally. I have a high tolerance for this sort of movie, and will see anything in the genre regardless of the reviews, but this was tough going. The fight scenes were the highlight of the film for me - and there's entertainment value there ... just not £9 worth. Some of the dialogue is truly awful - and not in a good-awful way - but in a 'couldn't-you-have-just-tried-a-smidge-harder' way. One scene has a boat being stalked and boarded by another boat in the dark, then abruptly jumps to dawn/daylight fighting on the decks. Such a waste of a classic pulp character. Avoid until it comes out on DVD.