Sunday, August 28, 2011

Conan The Barbarian

Year: 2011
Director: Marcus Nispel
Cast: Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Rose McGowan

Plot: As a young boy, Conan watched helplessly as a ruthless warlord named Khalar Zym killed his father and burned his entire village. Twenty years later, Conan seeks revenge as Zym plans to sacrifice a beautiful young woman to obtain godlike powers.

Review: I remember watching Arnold Schwarzenegger's version of Conan The Barbarian once many years ago, and not much comes to mind. I did recall that it was quite dull. But Arnie always brings his indomitable screen presence to his films, so that's one thing that film had going for it.

As for this one, director Marcus Nispel keeps things going at a quick pace, and piles on the action and blood continuously. The battle scenes between Conan and the bad guys are all well shot and because of the furious bloodletting on screen, it's quite fun to watch.

However, the film doesn't quite manage to stand out when compared to other films that have come before it. What you see is what you get, you don't walk into this film and expect something brilliant the likes of Lord Of The Rings. No. What you will get is a bloody sword epic with all the prerequisite cheesy lines included.

Jason Momoa may not have the screen presence of Arnie (who does, anyway?), but he has enough charisma to fill the shoes of Conan here. Rachel Nichols does all right as the love interest while Stephen Lang snarls his way through the film as Khalar Zym. Rose McGowan plays Zym's cruel daughter Marique well, but again, like the entire film, none of these actors stand out in their respective roles. They're somewhere between average and momentarily cool.

But there are a few sparks here and there. Ron Perlman makes good with his role as Conan's father, and everything that happens on screen between the beginning and up to his character's death is rather interesting. It's also interesting to note that this film's plot is a lot closer to Conan The Destroyer than Conan The Barbarian, but with less bombastic monster effects.

In the end, this Conan is fun in parts, but rather bland overall. I'll give them points for trying though. (3/5)

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