ReviewWriter: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang YangWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
Season Of The Witch”, “Conan The Barbarian”, “Red Sonja”, “Kull The Conqueror”
Featuring a relatively unknown cast of pro bodybuilders, the camp classic "Conan The Barbarian" was released in 1982 and launched the acting career of a certain Arnold Schwarzenegger into international superstardom. Today, Robert Howard's celebrated Cimmerian character lives again through TV's 'Baywatch Hawaii" star Jason Momoa - though the result is "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" director Marcus Nispel's unfortunate mix of sword-and-sandals with obscene gore - all in the name of violent cinematic fun.
Yes - when it comes to blood, other barbarians are happy to spill but Conan splashes. Rated R Stateside and 18/M18 in Malaysia and Singapore respectively, "Conan The Barbarian" does more than what it says on the tin if you're looking to catch some barbarous acts of violence in voluminous gratuity. The story, unrelated to earlier films, follows Conan as a child who grows up hell-bent on finding the evil warlord (Stephen Lang from "Avatar") who killed his father (Ron Perlman, "Hellboy") and annihilated his entire village in search of a mythical artefact. It is not difficult to agree with the online consensus that this 2011 reupdate lacks heart - as can be felt most jarringly in scenes of emotional downtime with grand music - but all failing to resonate with the audience. In short, it's hard to care for the characters no matter how good they look.
They do look pretty damned good though. For those not fascinated by Momoa's carefully chiselled naked butt in the bedroom scenes, the eye candies are Rachel Nichols ("Amityville Horror", 2005) and Rose McGowan ("Grindhouse", 2007) but they don't do too much. The whole movie has a 'drunken tavern' production design with muddy floorboards and topless barmaids aplenty - and somewhere in between those two you'll find the formidable French actor Saïd Taghmaoui ("La Haine", 1995) starring as an afterthought of a bandit - a testament to how unnecessary this movie really is and how hard it is to get cast in the decent role these days.
As for the leading man himself, it is hard to tell Momoa from the Baywatch days of Jason Ioane and his pearly whites. He is very committed to the role and nothing like the hunky young lifeguard we remember - but at least he has found a suitable job since apparently receiving 140 stitches on his scarred face in a 2008 bar brawl involving beer glass. There seems to be blood and violence at every turn when it comes to Conan, eh? Well, Cimmerian or not, check yourself for hepatitis after the show.Cinema Online, 21 August 2011