Directed by Marcus Nispel
Starring Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Rose McGowan, Stephen Lang, Ron Perlman, and Leo Howard.
Suprisingly entertaining in the face of one-dimensional characters and a plot stuffed full of clichés, I enjoyed this new interpretation of Robert E. Howard’s sword-wielding warrior, though I was left rather unsatisfied by the whole experience.
The first twenty minutes or so, showcasing Conan’s “he was born on the battlefield” bloody entry into the violent world of Hyboria, and his life as a young Cimmerian, feature the closest thing the film comes to actual character development.
Leo Howard, as the boy Conan, and Ron Perlman, as Corin, Conan’s father, are great in the opening scenes, Howard especially so. The young actor is brilliant, and the sequence in which he and a group of young men try to prove their worth before being ambushed by a group of cannibal tribesmen is fantastic, with the little fella beating all kinds of bad guy ass in a fantastic display that easily matches the fight scenes later on in the film.
Jason Mamoa looks great as Conan, all muscles and brooding looks, although he is not really called on to do much more than provide the audience with one fast paced action sequence after another when he arrives on-screen. The guy can act, and I’ve seen him give off great charisma in Stargate Atlantis and Game Of Thrones, it is just a shame that he isn’t given more to do in this film. He really does suit the part from a physical point of view, his size and speed making the fights exciting as he hacks through the multitude of nameless bad guys standing in his way , it just would have been nice to have a bit of decent character development aswell.
The main supporting cast is rather hit and miss.
Stephen Lang, as Khalar Zym, is great in a “boo hiss” type of way and really looks credible during his fight sequences, and Rose McGowan as Zym’s daughter, has her moments but looked to struggle with the ridiculously high boots she has on. She seemed to really be concentrating on not falling over at times. Rachel Nichols’ Tamara, fulfilling the dual roles of love interest and the film’s MacGuffin, is rather dull, doing little more than looking pretty and providing backup for Conan during a few of the combat scenes. Not really groundbreaking stuff.
Watching the film in 3D was a waste of time, and only darkened the image for the most part. The conversion was terrible, rivalling Clash Of The Titans for laziness in places, becoming a source of irritation as peoples’ faces folded in weird places and obvious attempts to force prospectives failed completely.
The awful 3D aside, the film looks, and sounds, great, the admittedly mostly CG landscapes perfectly complimented by the rousing score. I was dreading a soundtrack full of lousy rock music and electric guitar riffs, but Tyler Bates’ score is rather good. Not quite Basil Poledouris, but still, rather good.
Providing dumb action and little else, the new Conan is enjoyable for the most part, and I had fun watching it, but I really couldn’t tell you what the point was, and I only watched the film two-hours ago. It’s simple throw away fun, in theory a perfect summer popcorn movie. But, unfortunately for this film, this summer the bar has been raised quite high.