Monday, 5 September 2011

REVIEW: Conan The Barbarian


Ron Perlman is in this movie guys. No really.

To be clear, the original Conan is not a good movie. It's a bad movie. That's all be clear about that, and not let our idealism and joyous thoughts of our childhood convince us of anything of the sort. But what it did have, for better or worse, was sort of a camp earnestness. Like an attempt by a 13 ear old boy to write the best movie ever made, it made it somewhat endearing in comparison to other cheap entertainments, and of course it had the beginnings of the Schwarzenegger tidal wave going for it. This new Conan, next in the line of memorably camp/awful 80's movies being repackaged for a new generation, pieces of shit presented with out the one thing that redeemed them, their good intentions.

It seems pointless to say that Conan is the latest example to the degree that hollywood has been suffocated by Consumerism, because everyone knows this. Still, the main problem is how many pointless movies its producing, how many things are being made solely for profit and not some more amenable solution that includes both profit and creative intention. From a purely business stand-point every single one of these 80's remakes bar Transformers has failed to meet expectation, from Tron to Conan to Fright Night and from a purely business stand-point it would seem well advised to stop this shit now, but the status quo seems to be its better to have a predictable failure than an unpredictable success, Avatar and Inception be damned. The remake of Commando can't be far behind.

So to business, and you won't be surprised after that preamble that I am not a fan of this movie. It seems almost bored of itself, going through the broad, tired cheap fantasy movie motions with all the enthusiasm and energy of a shitty remake of a shitty movie. It's humorless, joyless, self-important and doesn't even have the decency to have a couple of ridiculous performances you can enjoy in spite of everything. At least the original Conan had James Earl Jones. On paper, Stephen Lang seemed like an acceptable substitute. He is after all the one redeeming human element in Avatar, a performance so terrific it prevented that film from imploding into its own triteness, but it's a different guy here and he plays a rote villain way too sincerely. His sidekick Rose McGowan has a bit more fun and is conversely the most enjoyable thing about Conan. She's not great, but she goes for something in a way that suggests she at least gave a shit. As for Conan himself, Game Of Thrones' Jason Momoa, well it seems that removed from his veil of Dothraki he's basically the worst actor in the world. Keanu Reeves without the strangely magnetic cool.

The film is just so incredibly in the way it goes about everything, from its plot, to its dialogue to its universe, so devoid of life and excitement its uncanny. Its a direct result of this kind of board-room film-making, no-one is actually invested in making it good. The fact that sometimes movies don't need to be good in order to make money means that too many people believe can't be good to make money, and we get cowardly, pointless stuff like Conan The Barbarian.

Rating: 3/10

1 comment:

dtmmr said...

The film is dumb, hackneyed and, well, just plain bad - much like the 1982 original - but because it knows and makes fun of that, it plays for a smart and entertaining ride. Good Review! Check out my review when you can!