Greetings! Here is a guest review of Conan the Barbarian from my friend, Kal-El! Enjoy! –TheScarletSp1der
“I do not want your gold… I want your head!”
Conan the Barbarian is a film that takes you on journey of revenge in the land of Hibernia. From the opening scene of Conan’s bloody birth in the midst of battle, the action gets rolling. Conan’s family and entire people are killed during his childhood and from there on he seeks vengeance upon those responsible.
While the heart of the plot is the telling of what drives Conan, there is an underlying story regarding Khalar and his departed wife. The two plots are naturally intertwined but the later makes little sense and takes forever to develop following its introduction. At one point you forget about the plot surrounding Khalar and when it does resurface you wonder why. Despite the flaws in the plot, the actors tend to do a good job with their roles.
The film stars Jason Mamoa as Conan, Leo Howard as young Conan, Stephen Lang as the villainous warlord Khalar Zym, Rose McGowan as Marique Khalar’s evil daughter, Rachel Nichols as Tamara, and Ron Perlman as Conan’s father Corin. Most of the performances by the actors are good for the roles they play but a few are definitely worth noting… And not all for a good reason.
1. Jason Mamoa does a solid job as the title character. He’s strong and fluid for the fight scenes and holds your attention when in the more calm scenes. He is able to relay Conan’s deep seeded anger to the audience with his various looks.
2. Rose McGowan does a great job of creeping out the audience, and, in some ways, stealing the show as the most hated villain. When watching the film you can’t help but feel like she’s the one truly pulling the strings and you may tend to fear her character more so than her father, the evil warlord Khalar Zym.
3. Other noteworthy performances:
-Leo Howard turns in a great performance as young Conan. One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when young Conan goes to prove himself worthy to fight with the warriors. During the challenge, the children run into trouble and while everyone else runs away Conan stays to face the threat. His return to the tribe and the look that Leo gives is an image that stays in your mind. It is both disturbing and riveting. Leo does a wonderful job portraying Conan s anger and courage. Leo s performance as young Conan gives you the most depth and understanding of who Conan is throughout the movie.
-Rachel Nichols, however , has an odd performance as Tamara. She plays a sheltered virgin in a religious community that has no army and no taste for war. This should make her squeamish about battle and yet she shows skill with a blade and fighting technique in certain scenes. This makes you wonder who, how, and why she was trained to fight. Even more baffling about this is in other scenes she seems to have no idea of what she’s doing in a fight. These scenes often take place one right after the other. For instance, there is a moment in the film where Conan hands Tamara a sword and when she grabs it, it falls to the ground signifying its too heavy for her. She gives a baffled look as if she knows not what to do with the sword. Not five minutes later she is seen killing highly trained warriors with the same sword. The most bothersome thing about her character is the screaming… She does it a whole lot and its such a long and pitched scream that it gets tiresome on your ears fast.
Overall, the movie tends to feel a little bit like The Scorpion King meets the Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. Its got the big strong warrior with the proud race of people that have been wiped out. You have the girl that both sides are after. You have the voodoo type sorcery and the virgin sacrifice. And you have the villain who would become a god. One thing that is lacking is the end-all climatic battle between the hero and the main antagonist. While Conan and Khalar do battle each other (three times, in fact), the final fight feels very anticlimactic with the way it ends . It leaves you wanting.
It is filmed in 3d but poorly done. The 3d effects tend to look like blurry still backgrounds with a somewhat focused moving foreground . Outside of two or three scenes in the entire movie, the 3d tends to take away from the movie rather than add to it.
In conclusion, I would give the movie as a whole a 2.5 out of 5. Its a fun trip to take if you’re a Conan fan or like films of its genre but not something that will leave you blown away. As Conan says “I live, I love, I slay, and I am content.” While this film will not slay you, you will be content and that’s about it.
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy Watching!
– Kal-El’s Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars for “Conan the Barbarian”
up next: Review for Moneyball