Conan the Barbarian

Movies, Action and adventure
3 out of 5 stars
Conan the Barbarian

The sonorous vocal stylings of Morgan Freeman---love those paychecks, don't you M.F.?---thrust us into the savage Hyborian Age, where a Cimmerian warrior queen has her nine-months-pregnant belly fatally punctured on the battlefield. (It's a womb with a slaughter!) In her dying moments, she births and names her blood-baptized offspring: Conan. This is, of course, the eventual blade-wielding barbarian created by author Robert E. Howard and popularized in two previous films by the former governor of California.

The Conan of 2011 is a purportedly more faithful adaptation of Howard's sword 'n' sorcery skullduggery, following our steroidal hero (Momoa, making an art of the gonna-getchoo-sucka glower) from murdered-daddy adolescence to vengeance-seeking maturity as he hunts down the monomaniacal warlord Khalar Zym (Lang, damn well giving it his all). Director Marcus Nispel, whose Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th remakes were more aural-visual bludgeons than movies, proves surprisingly adept at the mix of militaristic machismo and beefcake camp: There's an entertainingly gonzo battle every five minutes (Conan's showdown with a group of sandmen assassins is best in show). And the film's secret weapon proves to be Freddy Krueger--fingernailed witch Marique, whom Rose McGowan plays with the kind of fuck-it-all brio---imagine a cross between Madeline Kahn in History of the World: Part I and Lady Gaga---that should garner her a Razzie and an Oscar.

Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich

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Release details

Release date:
Friday August 19 2011
113 mins

Cast and crew

Marcus Nispel
Stephen Lang
Ron Perlman
Rose McGowan
Jason Williams
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