Hollywood’s obsession with remaking movies continues and now Conan’s time has come up. The plot is pretty simple, Conan(Jason Momoa) goes on a mission to avenge his family who were murdered by a warlord (Stephen Lang) looking of course to gain unlimited power from evil sources. The movie does not start off strong, you will have a strong feeling that you need to walk out. The movie, and I’m not joking starts with Morgan Freeman narrating, he describes Conan being “born of battle”… Then we are treated to watching a woman give birth during an actual battle. This dialogue mixed in with the scene itself is truly horrible.
It gets better, we watch a young Conan learning to be a warrior. This scene is pretty great actually. Of course bad guys show up and slaughter the entire village. Conan watches as his father dies along with everyone else. Problem is theses scenes are handled in a very over the top violent fashion that it just doesn’t have weight to it.
We move on to follow Conan years later, he and his friends randomly go around fighting bad guys. He almost randomly runs into a situation where he can pick off villains from his village massacre. He picks them off one by one until getting to the last one. In a sense the movie is basically a video game where the hero just moves villain to villain. Stephen Lang is fine as the main villain and Rose McGowan does a good job at playing up his witch daughter. They eat through dialogue and obviously have fun with it but still, the characters are just too basic. They tease at giving them more depth but quickly avoid diving in which is a shame.
The stunning Rachel Nichols plays a priestess who Lang’s character wants because she is “pure blooded” and her blood could help resurrect his dead witch wife(Don’t ask). She of course is also wasted, Nichols is talented but here she only has little moments where she tries to make a character out of the one-note love interest. In the end this movie is about Conan and Momoa does a hell of a good job at it. Now no one can match Schwarzenegger swagger but Momoa obviously tries really hard here, and I frankly enjoyed it. The cast is actually not the problem and if anything they elevate the film to places where it didn’t deserve to go.
The real problem in this film is the writing and direction. The film is over the top violent, which was fine, my problem is the film falls back on old themes and just pain by numbers plot cues. Nothing is surprising, nothing is different, now of course it is a remake so you could expect that. Amazingly though the film doesn’t follow the original films plot, no what we get here is a mix of story lines that have no new flavor. The action is actually shot decently but still again there is nothing new. So even though they want you to have fun with it, the movie is corny as hell, you just sit back sort of bored. I dig that the film was rated R, would have probably been the worst movie ever made if it was pg-13. Still even with this kind of “blah” attempt I believe a sequel should happen. Momoa is an action super star, his Conan is different and I’d frankly like to see him in another adventure, just written and directed by different people.