[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00505QA40][/pullquote] In 1932 Robert E. Howard created the most famous and long-lasting barbarian in literary history. Conan the Barbarian was originally made into a film in 1982 as a vehicle for up-and-coming movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger. This reboot of the franchise also features an up-and-coming star, Jason Momoa, known for Stargate: Atlantis and Game of Thrones. It has been met with negative reviews and disappointing commercial returns.
Conan (Momoa) is the orphaned son of a Cimmerian chief (Ron Perlman) who sees his village burned to the ground by evil warlord Khalar Zym (Stephan Lang). Seeking revenge, he travels around Asheron killing each of Zym’s henchmen in search of the man who killed his father. Along the way he befriends Tamara (Rachel Nichols) a monk who is the last descendant of a powerful necromancer, whose blood holds the key to resurrecting Zym’s dead, witch lover.
The original Conan became a huge stepping stone for Arnie, whose career went from strength to strength afterwards. The film itself was also a decent success at the box office, marrying swords and sorcery with 1980s-style action into a cliched but fun adventure. The latest incarnation follows a similar path. Momoa is charismatic as the brutish, no-frills Conan who spends the majority of the film grunting, hacking and slashing his way through countless ‘bad guys’.
The plot is frankly as basic and cliched as any film in recent memory. In fact the ‘boy who swears revenge after his father is killed’ story is so overplayed that the film-makers don’t even bother to give us any characterisation at all, with all focus being on the action scenes. The action is well choreographed, with Momoa swinging his sword like a true champion. In fact, if you overlook the obvious homo-eroticism of half-naked muscular men screaming and fighting, there is a surprising amount of fun to be had watching the car crash unfold.
To expect anything more from this film would be a mistake. Like its lead character, it is big, blunt, dumb, violent and ridiculous.