‘Conan the Barbarian’ is by far one of the cheesiest movies of 2011, yet, the gory violence is so ubiquitous in the film that action fans are going to enjoy it. The acting is second rate, the dialogue is abominable and the editing is dizzying. By no means is this a good film. Quite frankly, this is as bad as they come. But the film has such an uncanny ability to make fun of itself that the shortfalls are ignored. What prevails is the applause for the gore, which is a testament to how twisted we are as a society. I’ll leave it at that for now, but it’s worth the conversation some other time.
Here’s the synopsis of the movie: A quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior soon turns into an epic battle against hulking rivals, horrific monsters, and impossible odds, as Conan (Jason Momoa) realizes he is the only hope of saving the great nations of Hyboria from an encroaching reign of supernatural evil.
The first opening sequence is just ridiculous as we see the birth of Conan during battle. The way he is brought out of the womb of his mother is so laughable that you are ready to either walk out or stay to see how worse it can get. Then the extreme violence kicks in as young Conan slices and dices some tribal assassins. What we ultimately get is entertainment on two levels: a) A bad movie that we can satisfyingly laugh at without shame, and b) the brutality and savagery of the violence which is where the movie makes its mark.
The re-imagination of this ‘Conan’ is nothing like the Arnold Schwarzenegger versions from the 80’s except in story, but that’s attributed solely to the Robert E. Howard books. Jason Momoa, the man who plays the new Conan, brings a vastly different approach than what Arnold brought to his character. Momoa is more like a lion, ferocious and cruel, dark and cold blooded. Think of Sean Connery and Daniel Craig’s James Bond. Two drastic approaches to the same character.
The rest of the cast is filler and worth a laugh or two. Ron Perlman, who plays Conan’s father, once again delivers a heavy dose of risible bad acting. Everything from his face to his delivery is just funny. When you see this movie know that you’re watching a lousy film, but one that you’ll acknowledge the entertainment value in. The characters grow on you and the masculinity of the film is just to chortle at for hours.
The 3D is subpar and nothing I would recommend paying extra for. Momoa directly told me in an interview that he couldn’t believe how good the 3D was. I’d have to disagree with ‘Conan’, but I wouldn’t want say that in his face. If you’d like to see good use of 3D effects, check out Fright Night 3D. That is excellent use of the technology and worth every cent you pay.
‘Conan the Barbarian’ is man’s movie and a really cheesy B film at that. It’s Jason Voorhees meets Jason Statham. This is not good moviemaking at all, but it is fun enough to have a good time with with the guys.