Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Conan The Barbarian

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 23% (Critics) 34% (Audience)
Director: Marcus Nispel
Writers: Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Sean Hood
Starring: Jason Momoa, Ron Perlman and Rose McGowan
Studio: Lionsgate

Synopsis: CONAN THE BARBARIAN is the slick remake of the far grittier (and better) 1982 version that made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star. In this updated tale the Cimmerian warrior embarks on a quest to protect a virgin priestess and exact revenge for the murder of his father.

Corin….you are NOT the father!

This Conan stars Jason Momoa (Lisa Bonet‘s baby daddy) fresh off an impressive stint as another warrior on the HBO series Game of Thrones. In this latest Conan we are treated to a much more fleshed out origin story than in the 1982 movie going from Conan’s birth on the battlefield (that resulted in his mother’s death) to his childhood as the deadliest little moppet in all of Cimmeria. We also were treated to scenes of Conan’s relationship with his father Corin (Ron Perlman), the leader of the barbarian tribe, that were pretty good. Ron Perlman is one of my favorite actors and he does a good job showing his love and frustration with being a single father of such a willful child. And not for nothing I think Corin should have been calling Maury to get a DNA test done too because Conan didn’t look like him one bit. Conan’s mom must have been creeping with Thulsa Doom or something.

The Barbarian version of Father Knows Best doesn’t last long though as the evil warlord (or wizard, maybe barbarian…I don’t know what exactly dude was to be honest) Khalar Zym shows up with his gang of warrior thugs and his creepy sorceress daughter Marique to find the final piece to some ugly mask that will let him raise his dead wife and RULE THE WORLD!!!!! Long story short….Zym kills Conan’s whole village, young Conan survives and vows revenge.

Fast forward a few years and Conan is now a 6’3 Hawaiian dude who hangs out with a bunch of pirates who rob from the rich and bang slave girls. In between all of this pirating and rabble rousing Conan gets wind of where Khalar Zym is hanging out and sets off to finally get his revenge. Turns out Zym needed more than just the mask though, he also needs the blood of the “last pure necromancer” who happens to be this white broad named Tamara who is holed up in a monastery. A series of unfortunate events occur that sees Conan joining with Tamara to thwart the plans of Zym and his now grown and even creepier daughter.

I went into this movie with really high hopes that it would be good. I really liked Momoa as Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones and to his credit he did a pretty good job as Conan. He was less of the brute than Schwarzenegger gave us in the 1982 version. This Conan was more cunning and I liked that part of the character being shown more. Leo Howard was good as young Conan too.

I really enjoyed Rose McGowan as Marique…she slithered through every scene she was in and brought a really sinister maliciousness to the role. She also skeeved me out big time with the incestuous nature of her feelings toward her dad. That was some serious Electra Complex subtext going on in those scenes.

Rachel Nichols as Tamara was so boring. Maybe it was the fact that she was so white bread when the role called for someone a bit more exotic but she seemed as bored with the role I was was watching her in it.

Final Verdict: The action scenes were OK but not anything to get excited about. The only two battle scenes that really stood out were the scene with young Conan against the thugs in the forest and the extended scene where Conan fought guys who seemed to be made of sand. The biggest flaw with this movie was in the story itself which was paper thin. And for some reason things were so heavy handed throughout the majority of this movie when it would have been much better to add more humor to the proceedings. I also think that the writers had no idea how to go about ending this flick because the big battle between the heroes and villains was some seriously weak sauce.
While a couple of the performances were noteworthy and some of the action was entertaining,  Conan the Barbarian was disappointing, by Crom. C

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