‘Conan the Barbarian’ Reboot Swings a Dull Blade

While it’s not quite The Terminator, remaking any Schwarzenegger movie is always going to add a great bit of skepticism amongst fans of the original. Case in point, the 2011 version of Conan the Barbarian. In the 21st century trend of Hollywood remaking films, film execs apparently figured this would be another cult classic worthy of refreshing. Was it worth the risk?

Before you even begin penning a script for a film like this, it has to weigh significantly on everyone’s minds of filling the lead role.  While the original Conan movies are rather bad, both non-fans and followers of the of the franchise likely raise an eyebrow to the actor that will fill Arnold’s boots.  In this case, it’s newcomer Jason Momoa (Stargate: Atlantis, Game of Thrones) who picks up the two-handed broadsword takes the reins as the muscle-bound hero.  Also onboard for the film is Rachel Nichols (G.I. Joe) as the lovely Tamara, Avatar‘s hardcore Marine Stephen Lang as the villainous Khalar Zym, and Hellboy‘s Ron Perlman as Corin, Conan’s father.  There are some notables in there, but as we’ve seen so many times, actors alone can’t always save a film.

Although the film is being heavily marketed in 3D, I chose to avoid the sometimes headache-inducing technology and take in a good old 2D film.  Unfortunately this was anything but a good old 2D film and its redeeming qualities can be counted on one hand.  The acting was bad.  The CGI was cheap.  The dialogue was weak.  The story was uninspiring.  Epic?  No.  Epic is a watered-down term these days.  Epic is the Chicago battle in Transformers 3.  Truly epic is Braveheart.  This was pop culture sword swinging.  Redeeming qualities?  Attractive women.  That was it.  A hot female, however multiple, can’t save a crappy movie, and that’s exactly what this kickstart-reboot of Conan was.

The story, not that it matters, begins with Conan as an adoloscent.  Even as a young teenager, he already has a natural talent for the battlefield.  Fast forward to a grown up Conan, whose name is now pronounced like that of the late night TV host and not like the Conan of Arnold’s day.  The emphasis is now placed on the first part of his name instead of the second.  Anyway, Conan seeks revenge and follows a band of merry misfits to get to their leader who wreaked havoc on Conan’s youth.  The beautiful Rachel Nichols comes along for the ride and delivers a few dagger-laden thrusts alongside Conan’s deadly blade.  The movie is predictable beyond belief though is not as bad overall as one of 2011’s earlier action films, Priest, although it does make a strong effort to come close.

Conan the Barbarian gets a deserving D+.   Lead actor Jason Momoa recently said this is the film that will earn him lead roles from here on out.  More power to you, mate.  I hope that’s the case, but I wouldn’t put the stock of your career based on this film.



5 Responses to “‘Conan the Barbarian’ Reboot Swings a Dull Blade”

  1. Matt Goodman

    I’m so sorry that you had to sit through this movie, Gregg.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    The bloodletting was awesome and I thought Momoa played Conan as the way he was portrayed in the books. In the books he wasn’t a meathead like Arnold, but dude was swoll, agile, and smart. Hopefully this makes money, because I would like them to continue the franchise.

    Is it a great film in the traditional sense? No, but it’s pretty damn fun and entertaining!

  3. Brian White

    Rachel Nichols!

  4. Gregg

    I can’t even say entertaining. Rush Hour is an example of a film that’s not going to win any awards, does not have great acting, etc., but it’s a blast. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. Conan had so much unintended cheese as a result of its bad acting that it put a damper on the whole thing. The endless grimaces and grunts and terrible line deliveries were too much for me.

  5. Gerard Iribe

    Sorry, as soon as the swords, knives, hammers to the face and head areas started kicking in 30 seconds in, I didn’t care. The extreme violence and gore sealed it for me. Rachel Nichols bucket naked was the cherry on top.

    I ate a steak for lunch after I was done with Conan.