Written by / 8/19/2011 / No comments / , ,

CONAN THE BARBARIAN (2011)

title: CONAN THE BARBARIAN
year: 2011
cast: Jason Momoa, Stephen Lange, Ron Perlman, Rachel Nichols
rating: *

After a pointless introduction by none other than the narration king himself, Morgan Freeman, we have Conan “born into battle” – his dying mother literally giving birth on a battlefield, and his father, played by log-jawed Ron Perlman, in no danger whatsoever as swords clack and blood sheds all around him – thus lifting his baby like “Kunta Kinte” and proclaiming him “Conan.” This is followed by Conan the Preteen, with a pretty yet snarling face, as he fights off growling aggressors but is no match for evil pillager Khalar Zym, who needs one piece of a mask to become… super evil. Long story short... like the John Milius/Arnold Schwarzenegger film, the baddie kills Conan’s sole parent, catapulting the of-age Conan: stronger, tougher but still just as pretty... looking more like Conan the Barbizon Institute… in seeking revenge against Zym, his henchman, and the worst character in the film – Rose McGowan as Zym’s gothic, witchy daughter. The action scenes are sporadic, filmed so close-up and quick it’s all but a flurry of flesh, impossible to keep track. And one character mentions the Barbarian’s eclectic past: slaying for fun, sailing with pirates, and being a renown thief. It’s too bad we couldn’t partake in these adventurous hobbies – like the original stories by Robert E. Howard – instead of being saddled with a pointlessly searing tale about our semi-muscular hero keeping a young, pure-blooded maiden out of the antagonist’s clutches. Jason Momoa portrays Conan like he’s imitating his favorite sword and sorcery hero from a cable TV series, which this entire mess is reminiscent of, save for the banal ultra-violence and big budget effects that, with little to no story backing it up, means nothing in the end. And a message to Hollywood: Next time juggle some of Howard’s passionately brutal stories into your next film – or adapt his only full-length novel, HOUR OF THE DRAGON… and you might just have something.
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