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Conan the Barbarian (2011 film)

A 2011 action film based on the character created by Robert E. Howard.

< read all 6 reviews

Basically everything that I hate to get from a movie.

  • Dec 16, 2011
Rating:
-4
* out of ****


In more ways than one, Marcus Nispel's re-imagining of the famous pulp novel series (and character) "Conan the Barbarian" certainly brings the pain. A high-budget action picture limited to the sounds of grunts, battle cries, and an occasional line of ridiculous dialogue; this latest addition to the almost decidedly short list of adaptations - for this franchise - is a brutal, noisy, mind-numbing and arguably tedious exercise in how much genre formula we can take. Some will gladly deal with the clichés and enjoy the ride as something wild and even something rather "new"; but unless I'm mistaken, most people won't find it the slightest bit possible to look past the rules of a critic in order to have a good time at the movies; free of complexities, and filled with guilt.

I'm all for guilty entertainment; there are a lot of action movies that I'm a fan of, and some of them aren't necessarily what most critics would call "good". But when it comes to Nispel's newest film, there's only so much that one can take in during one (nearly) two-hour viewing; the director - who displayed some considerable visual craft in both the remakes for "Friday the 13th" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" - throws a massive amount of carnage at his audience and it arrives full throttle. It's in-your-face-action; just like you probably asked for. Perhaps that's enough to inspire some considerable awe for you; but for me, can I truly think anything besides that I've simply seen much, much better?

Once again, Nispel delivers a film devoid of surprises; as it follows the path of a generic genre picture, and in a way, I get this strange feeling that perhaps it's proud of its familiarity. It could very well be embracing its clichés with all the cheap, sometimes down-right stupid dialogue present; not to mention the crude blending of CGI images with live-action set pieces. Nevertheless, I'm just not feeling it.

I don't feel like describing the plot in too much detail. So here's the thing in all its utter simplicity: you've got young Conan (played by Leo Howard as a child and Jason Momoa as an adult). He's the son of a barbarian, with his father (Ron Perlman) being the leader of the tribe. Conan was born on the battlefield and in a sense, he was also raised there. This is the only place where he feels, well, content; understandable, since combat was taught to him at a genuinely young age (he displayed some awful good skill when he arrived home to the tribe with the heads of several enemy tribe members; all of whom he killed single-handedly).

Tragedy strikes. Conan's father is killed by the ruthless Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang), and after this life-altering incident, our titular hero is out for blood; and he shall remain so until he gets his revenge. The childhood back-story is about twenty minutes long; and even then we've still got about an hour and a half to go.

If you're interested; then you're interested. There's no sense in spoiling or even describing much of the plot because to be honest, it's just too stupid for one to WANT to talk about it. I never got the sense that much passion was put into the film (it's clearly a studio production without much heart or ambition); so why should I put any into a review? Nispel only has sympathy for a single audience - the one that will be able to suspend their disbelief for absolutely ANYTHING regardless of quality or "entertainment value" - and unfortunately, I just wasn't among that small - or perhaps even large - group of people. More or less, the larger group is the one that is going to hate this movie for the disgusting and excessive piece of shit that it is. While I desperately wanted to be entertained by the brutality and thrills that were promised and in some instances almost delivered; "Conan" contains an unspectacular screenplay, and that's the kind of thing that can really get a movie where it hurts; in the heart.

Is there a single thing I liked about the movie? Surely, there's got to be something. Jason Momoa has the looks and the muscles - but not the acting skills - to portray a successful Conan; although there's good news, and that is in regards to his supporting cast members. You've got Rose McGowen - a beautiful and sometimes even talented actress who belongs in B-movies that know they are B-movies contrary to the complete opposite - in an appropriately intimidating role as a seductive villainess. Ron Perlman also gives the role of Conan's dad his best shot and emerges at least decent; he's had some really rough times, and this isn't the worst of them, but I can't stop myself from the fond memories I have of him in "Hellboy"; and I don't think anything, so far, can compare. Perlman is a talent; and he belongs in better movies than the ones that he usually lands a role in. Nispel seemingly saw the actor's weak spot and took advantage; which is even more proof that Nispel is nothing more than a sleazy, nigh talentless imbecile with a movie camera, a solid production designer, and a visual effects team ready to make his deepest, darkest (and dimmest) CGI fantasies come true.

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December 19, 2011
One thing that made the 80's movie work was the Arnold didn't speak much English. I liked this one for the blood and gore, action scenes, but it is far from the definitive Conan. Yeah, I liked your review, it was a very entertaining read! Thanks!
 
December 17, 2011
Nice review - this is one I would never want to see, but I enjoyed reading your take on it.
 
1
More Conan the Barbarian (2011 film... reviews
review by . August 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Thief...A Reaver...A Slayer....A Barbarian Resurrected On Film
I figured that it was a little odd that director Marcus Nispel’s (Friday the 13th remake) “Conan The Barbarian” was released first in Europe and the Philippines two days before it hit U.S. shores but what do I know. The film isn’t a remake of the 1982 Schwarzenegger film but rather a re-interpretation of the “Conan” mythos and is loosely based on the character created by Robert E. Howard. The film is also unrelated to the beloved comic series by Marvel comics …
review by . August 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Watching the original 1982 version of Conan the Barbarian, I had the distinct impression it was forced into existence – a film made before the talent or the technology was available to do the story justice. Apart from the unconvincing special effects, the phony-looking sets, and the insistent, overblown, annoying score by Basil Poledouris, the casting was the cinematic equivalent of a hack job; Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sandahl Bergman, though …
review by . January 09, 2012
CONAN THE BARBARIAN: Is This All There Is?
As someone who watches a lot of films, I know that there are certain flicks I’m simply prone to like more than others.  B movies – good ones and bad ones – have always been a fascination of mine.  Over my years of writing about films, I’ve tried to narrow down specifically to what interests me most about these ‘side’ pictures, but I’ve never been able to nail my arguments exactly on the head.  I tend to think it’s that, like any good …
Quick Tip by . August 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Caption
I never watched the original Conan With Arnold Schwarzenegger, so when I heard of this movie I overlooked it, I wasnt intrested. Its not until I heard that Jason Momoa had the lead role did i start looking at this. Reason being Jason Momoa is known for his role as Ronon the tall, handsome, warrior type in the Stargate Atlantis TV Series. (not unlike Conan) And im sure acting in a movie is very differant than acting in a TV series. If anything I want to see this movie to …
Quick Tip by . March 14, 2011
Caption
I have no idea what to expect from this new Conan film. I love the character, but thus far I've been unimpressed by previous attempts to adapt Robert E. Howard's famous barbarian warrior from page to screen, and this particular effort looks rather cheap and silly. We shall see...
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie

Wiki


The tale of Conan the Cimmerian and his adventures across the continent of Hyboria on a quest to avenge the murder of his father and the slaughter of his village.
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Details

Director: Marcus Nispel
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Release Date: August 19, 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: Lionsgate Entertainment, Millennium Films, Nu Image Films
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