Before I begin my review I must reiterate that I loathe the 3D trend in movies today and I want it to go away right now. My local theatre forced me to see this in 3D by narrowing down the show times in 2D to a few times during weekdays in the morning. Sleazy move i say! Shame! So alas, I had to watch this film in all its crappy post production 3D glory and it made my whole experience a whole lot worse. 3D owes me money!
CONAN THE BARBARIAN is the latest Hollywood remake and comes to us from director Marcus Nispel (PATHFINDER, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake) and stars the up-and-coming beefcake Jason Momoa (HBO’s GAME OF THRONES). The story has a pretty basic plot that involves Conan avenging the death of his father and the burning of his home village. Besides having a bland plot, the movie was just plain boring. Momoa looks like a “Conan” but just did not feel right, the supporting characters were all borderline annoying or dumb, and the action was poorly choreographed and edited. What admittedly could have been one hell of an awesome remake (I am NOT against remakes) ended up being an exercise in patience as I waited for the credits to roll.
The main thing any good Conan movie needs is a good Conan of course. I think Jason Momoa could be a great Conan but it still needs a lot of work. He has the body type needed for the role (even though I think being that ripped looks pretty ridiculous and gross), he sure can grunt, and he is not the worse actor I have seen (Check him out in HBO’s GAME OF THRONES for sure). However, something just didn’t feel right here and I ended up not really caring for the character or his actions. I don’t really remember anything he said specifically besides a bunch of corny ass one liners and some forced grunting and yelling. I also can’t think of any one action scene that had me thinking he was a bad ass. I just was not all that impressed.
The supporting cast here was pretty much a joke with the exception of Stephen Lang (AVATAR) as the main villain Khalar. He is admittedly a bit too corny for my liking in this film but I just like the guy and think he is a badass. Besides him, Rachel Nichols (G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA) was a bore as the nun (?) who could kick ass and drop her panties at the first sight of Momoa’s man boobs. We also have the beautiful Rose McGowan (PLANET TERROR) in an interesting yet awkward role as Khalar’s magical and evil daughter and Ron Pearlman (HELLBOY Series) as Conan’s barbaric yet loving father. All these main players have potential to be interesting but all end up falling a bit flat with nothing much more to do than grunt and fight alongside or against Momoa as Conan. There are also a few friends that Conan runs into during his adventure that really bugged me and were not likable at all. I don’t even feel like spending the time to complain about them.
The story starts off with a pretty cool introduction by Morgan Freeman (WANTED, RED) and an introduction to Conan as he is violently born. What follows is an extremely predictable revenge story with a bunch of flat characters that I never cared about. I also felt zero connection between Conan and the nun love interest. It seems like one minute they are meeting and then shortly after that they are having rough barbarian sex in some cave. What about your morals lady!? He never even “woo’d” you! I have to say that I have not been so bored in a movie in recent memory. About half way through the movie I decided to eat two Snickers bars, roll down in my seat and try and fart as loud as I could. Right before the sex scene I birthed one hell of a ripper and got my buddy next to me to laugh out loud for a long time. That was by far the best part of this movie. I also NEVER talk during movies but felt I had to during this one with my buddy to maintain my sanity. Maybe I’m being a little too harsh here but I was seriously bored out of my mind.
The battle sequences here should have redeemed any story or character shortcomings but ended up frustrating me even further. The action was poorly choreographed, dark, and had bad editing. I seriously can’t think of one cool fight scene or action scene that got my blood pumping. How hard would it be to have at least one cool fight scene with swords where Conan cuts off some limbs and/or heads? It was all very underwhelming and a big disappointment. Considering the source material, it all could have been so much cooler. The CGI was alright but the big fights we get with it involved some weird parkour wannabe dust people and a bunch of boring tentacles that spew from a monster we never get to fully see. Boo! The best part of this movie visually has to be a handful of the castles and caves we visit as Conan adventures. The establishing shots of a lot of the places we visit are really cool (especially a skull shaped cave) but once we are in them they lose their flare. In the end, the action was a big letdown and forgettable at best.
Once the credits rolled I was left with a sense of disappointment and a headache from the craptacular 3D. I really wanted to like this movie and was looking forward to some sweet ass action scenes that I never got. I knew the story was going to be predictable, I had a hunch the characters were going to be grunty and cheesy, but I did not expect the action to blow or to actually be bored. This was one of the biggest disappointments of the summer for sure. Even though I had a rough time with this one, I would be up for a sequel with Momoa as long as we can get some serious action next time. This was a missed opportunity for what could have been an amazing reboot. I can’t recommend this one in theatres and will likely warn those seeking it out as a rental.
Final Score: 4 out of 10