Ron Perlman, who plays Conan's father Corin, previously voiced Conan himself in the video game Conan and the unreleased animated film Conan: Red Nails.
Conan is the breakthrough role that made Arnold Schwarzenegger the action star he is today. Nearly 30 years later, humanities favorite barbarian is back on the big screen wielding his massive sword and slaying enemies wherever he goes. With Jason Momoa taking on the title role, can he bring life to the character once again?
Conan the Barbarian isn’t a sequel or a remake of the first film, despite having the same name. It’s an entirely new adventure starting from scratch that is more in tune with the comics and Robert E. Howard’s original creation. Born on the battlefield, Conan has always had a thirst for fighting. Growing up, he showed exemplary skill in wielding a blade and tactical strategies taught by his father. Everything changed though when his village was raided by Khalar Zym, a ruthless warlord looking to become a god by crafting a mythical helm said to give whoever wears it ultimate power. Conan manages to survive the attack but with no home and no family, he promises that he will have his revenge no matter what it takes.
Right from the onset, you realize that this is going to be a very brutal film. Being a barbarian, it should come as no surprise to see Conan bash people’s heads in or plunge his sword through an enemy. It’s not just Conan either; everyone is like this. Who knows how many gallons of fake blood (and digital too) were used in its production. If you’re a fan of intense action sequences or over the top swordplay, then this is your type of movie.
If you’re looking for a good story and characters however, well then you best keep looking. Conan the Barbarian suffers from a plot that goes nowhere to randomly inserted scenes that really don’t make any sense. Also, why is Morgan Freeman doing the narration? While he’s a phenomenal actor, his inclusion just doesn’t fit well with the action on screen. The story is simply too jumbled around to get a clear picture of what’s going on. One minute you see Conan traveling along the rocky shoreline and the next he’s in a wooded forest. Also, apparently shirts were not invented in barbarian times because practically no one wears one.
The acting is basically on par with the storyline. Jason Momoa is the standout of the group but that’s only because he knows how to throw a punch and kick some ass. In keeping with the classic Conan of the older generation, he’s near perfect fit. If you’ve seen him in Game of Thrones then you probably already know this. Rachel Nichols as Conan’s love interest is just that and not much more. Sure, she can stand on her own once in a while but for the most part, she only gets in the way. I do have to hand it to Rose McGowan though for her role as Marique, the evil witch daughter of Zym. She’s practically unrecognizable in her witch getup and Freddy Kruger like claws.
Overall, Conan the Barbarian is what you would expect from something with the word ‘barbarian’ in its title. It’s barbaric and brutal and gruesomely good if you just want to see testosterone-filled characters duke it out. Take that away though and you’re left with a rather empty shell of a film.