Conan the Barbarian review by Melissa Orcine - Cinema Paradiso
In 1982 ‘Conan’ was played by an Austrian bodybuilder who became one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars and then governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. For its re-imagining this 2011, welcome Jason Momoa as ‘Conan The Barbarian’, this time playing Conan in his origin story and with more blood and gore than you can find in a debauched candy store.
Directed by Marcus Nispel, a veteran of rebooting classic slasher flicks such as ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Friday The 13th’, ‘Conan The Barbarian’ packs a bloody wallop and is unapologetic in lopping off heads and severing limbs en masse. See, Conan isn’t exactly bloodthirsty for no reason – his father (perfectly cast Ron Perlman) has been brutally murdered by a witch king named Khalar Zym (Avatar’s Stephen Lang) and Conan’s angry – really angry.
Conan has his eye on the prize: to avenge the death of his father and the atrocities his people has received because of Khalar Zym. And when Conan does, he finds himself outnumbered, not just from the mystical powers Khalar Zym wields but even by his witch daughter Marique (Rose McGowan). Will Conan’s sculpted muscles and love for destruction be enough to punish his enemies?
As ‘Conan The Barbarian’, Jason Momoa is a great choice since not only does he have the musculature down pat, he has the acting chops as well. Most famous for his turn in HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ as Khal Drogo, the Dothraki tribe king and horseman, the mini-series proved to be the Conan audition he didn’t intend to make. Convincing and menacing as Khal Drogo, it was only fitting that his overt manliness –body, voice, even hair— horsemanship, scowl, and growls should be a shoo-in for the new Conan. Jason Momoa is the new alpha male action star. Best of all, he embraces everything Conan.
Since the title of this movie is ‘Conan The Barbarian’, don’t expect plot. The draw was Jason Momoa and you enter the cinema to watch him become the Conan every gore-porn fan imagines about. ‘Conan The Barbarian’ panders to the loser boy who wants to be the ultimate stud.