Running Time: 112 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
Let’s face it, the peak of the Conan dynasty was always the early-Nineties cartoon series. The 1982 film was naff beyond belief but had Arnie to rescue it and The Destroyer follow up was a step too far. Michael Nispel’s 2011 re-do was very unlikely to be good and to this end it duly delivers.
Conan the Barbarian (2011) is a fantasy tale of Conan (Momoa), who was forced into slavery as a boy. After he escapes his captors, he swears revenge but what starts out as a vendetta mission soon becomes much bigger as he has to battle the forces of supernatural evil to protect the great nation of Hyboria.
To begin with, the action is present in spades. It’s all quite impressive, in-your-face and on the whole fun to watch. Visually, it looks good with nicely done costumes and sets and serviceable CGI. Unfortunately though, if you don’t have a decent plot and characterisation to back it up, you don’t have the sticking power and ultimately anyone except the young and the braindead will get very bored.
None of the characters are fleshed out and no motivation is given for every person’s apparent bloodthirst except for a throwaway cliched line normally filled with some heartbreaking story about dolphins eating their parents, being sexually abused by a nun or similar. The cast do a reasonable job with the little they have to work with, and as usual Perlman and Lang offer entertainment value with their limited but novel acting styles, but there’s no way they can save the plot.
It's Got: Half decent performances, good wardrobe and setting
It Needs: Some semblance of a plot and characterisation, Arnie
Alternatives:Conan the Barbarian (1982), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Solomon Kane
This fantasy remake offers more than enough action but without a plot or any charactersation whatsoever to back it up, Conan fails to grace the heights of the early-Nineties cartoon.