The Paisano Reviews: Conan the Barbarian (Remake)

The new Conan the Barbarian remake is a disappointing action adventure movie that suffers from one dimensional characters, campy dialogue and poor scripting. This boring movie strays away from its Arnold Schwartznegger predecessor in order to be a more faithful adaptation of the original Robert E. Howard book series. However, this incarnation does not handle the genres high fantasy elements very well.

The film employs the typical revenge formula. Young Conan (Leo Howard) the Cimmerian loses his entire tribe to the evil Khalar Singh (Stephen Lang) and his witch daughter Marique (Rose McGowan). After growing up and doing a lot of crunches, an Older Conan (Jason Momoa) sets out to take revenge against the duo before they can sacrifice the “pureblooded one” (Rachel Nichols) and take over the world of Hyboria. During his journey, Conan faces the armies of Khalar Singh, glaive throwing sand people and a giant man eating squid.

Jason Momoa’s Conan “HBO’s Game of Thrones” does his best with the silly lines that he is given, but is never truly able to make the role his own due to the films incoherent plot. Momoa spends most of the film bare-chested while grunting or snarling idiotic one-liners like “I live, I love, I slay, and am content.” However, Momoa is more than competent throughout the film’s brutal action sequences and is able to inject some humor into an otherwise dull movie. Young Conan (Leo Howard) gets a lot of screen time and his relationship with his barbarian father Corin (Ron Perlman) may be the only emotional investment that works in this film on some levels. Steven Lang “Avatar” as Khalar Singh is a ridiculous villain that seeks to assemble a magic mask in order to resurrect his dead witch spouse and inherit great power. Rose McGowan “Grindhouse” is equally ridiculous playing Khalar’s witch daughter Marique who spends most of the film smothered in bad make-up like her ex-boyfriend Marilyn Manson and assaulting people with her metal Freddy Krueger claws. Both of these characters are evil just for the sake of being evil and the goofy presentation of their characters detracts from the overall film. Rachel Nichols as Tamara is a forgettable damsel in distress whose on-screen chemistry with Conan never materializes.

This movie does feature some gory battles and creative visual creature effects. Some sword fights are genuinely bloody and visceral while others are cluttered with bad editing. The one stand-out action scene takes place in the beginning of the movie when young Conan kills five of Khalar Zym’s scouts in the forbidden forest and brings their heads to his father Corin as a rite of passage. The sand people and the monstrous squid look pretty awesome and are also highlights of the film.

The new Conan in the barbarian is a terrible cliché-driven movie with few redeemable qualities. Only the most devout high fantasy lovers are likely to find anything entertaining in this jumbled mess of a film. Anyone with even a passing interest should wait till this film is released as a rental or just watch the original Conan the Barbarian.

Paisano Rating Score D-