Conan the Barbarian: written by Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, and Sean Hood, based on the character created by Robert E. Howard; directed by Marcus Nispel; starring Jason Momoa (Conan), Stephen Lang (Khalar Zym), Ron Perlman (Conan’s father), Rachel Nichols (Tamara) and Rose McGowan (Marique) (2011): Oh, what an awful, awful movie. The sheer ineptitude of this movie caused me to think fondly of Conan the Destroyer, which really wasn’t that good of a movie but which, compared to this movie, was Citizen Kane.
Don’t ask me what that makes Citizen Kane.
The makers of this movie steadfastly ignore pretty much everything from Robert E. Howard’s 1930’s pulp creation and the 20-odd stories and one novel he appeared in. What they substitute is an awful, derivative revenge plot lifted instead from the original Conan movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
As evil despot Khalar Zym, Stephen Lang looks and acts hopelessly out of his depth, while Rose MacGowan, as his evil sorceress daughter Marique, jarringly plays everything with about as flat and contemporary an accent as one can imagine. We know she’s evil, though, because she voluntarily paints a unibrow on herself. Quel horreur!!!
As Conan, Jason Momoa doesn’t have much to do other than run around, ride around, and strike muscleman poses in lieu of demonstrating any actual sword-fighting skills. Not that one would be able to notice any such skills, as the editing jumps around a lot, I’d assume to hide the fact that no one involved with this movie knows how to stage a fight scene, much less any other type of scene. The movie substitutes a wearying series of chases and fights for character development, explanation, exposition, and world-building.
In this Conan’s world, a person can pretty much get anywhere on horseback in less than a day. Apparently, the entire Hyborian realm is roughly the size of Oxford County. Written and directed by idiots, Conan the Barbarian is a wretched, stupid, embarrassing botch. Nothing makes much sense, and you’re not going to care anyway. Not recommended.