The Conan remake wasn't screened for press by WW print deadlines, so we bought ourselves a ticket and suffered manfully.
Conan the Barbarian
WW Critic's Score: 18
It is absolutely inevitable that almost every Arnold Schwarzenegger action film is going to be remade, and probably in the very near future. Which is fine. Essentially, they’ve all been remade 1,000 times, though under different names—we’ve seen at least eight permutations of Commando, for example, including X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So it’s only understandable that the first to share the title with a Schwarzeneggerian original is Conan the Barbarian, the film that shot the big man into superstardom in 1982. What’s absolutely confounding, though, is how the reportedly $90-million revamp manages to feel like a SyFy Channel version of Prince of Persia with extra blood and tits.
John Milius didn’t set the bar terribly high with the campy original—it was self-serious, campy and completely wooden—but half the fun is how committed it was to keeping with creator Robert E. Howard’s smutty world of rampant sex and violence.
Those elements are present in the update, but director Marcus Nispel—who also blessed us with shitty remakes of Friday the 13th and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as well as Conan clone Pathfinder—forgot to have any fun with the barbarian hordes. Instead of a drunken hornball and sadist who escapes slavery and develops an affinity for punching camels, new Conan (Game of Thrones beefcake Jason Momoa) is demoted to a walking scowl trying to avenge the death of his dad at the hands of an evil sorcerer. And that’s about it. No stupid accent. No animal abuse. Hell, the lamentations of the women are even sparse.
The film clunks along from battle to battle with no sense of style as Nispel, sucking on the teat of Michael Bay, tries to disguise the uninspired action with a barrage of seizure-inducing jump cuts that make it impossible to discern what the hell is happening at any given moment. Then Conan humps the women he’s trying to save before torturing a few people. Oh, and then there’s a bad CGI sea monster, for some reason.Never mind the women. The lamentations of the fanboys are deafening. R.