47: Conan the Barbarian (not the one with Ah-nold)

Conan the Barbarian – August 19, 2011
Starring: Jason Momoa, Rose McGowan, Rachel Nichols, Ron Perlman
Written by: Thomas Dean Donnely, Joshua Oppenheimer, Sean Hood
Directed by: Marcus Nispel

The plot: “The tale of Conan the Cimmerian and his adventures across the continent of Hyboria on a quest to avenge the murder of his father and the slaughter of his village.” – IMDB

My thoughts: Yes, the truth is that I spent two hours watching this movie and the truth is also that it wasn’t very good, not that expected anything different than that. So let’s just get on with the reviewing that will hopefully be better than the movie was.

Jason Momoa. Hot hot man candy, it is something that can’t be denied. Oh, he can wield a sword and grunt and crash into things with the best of them, but that does not a quality movie make. I can’t say that I’m at all familiar with the character of Conan the Barbarian, so I can’t say whether he makes a quality on-screen version of him, but I would have to guess he did a considerably better job than the Governor of California did in ’82.

The movie was rife with sexism and misogyny and was…testosterone driven to say the least. Of course, I suppose that fits the character of Mr. Barbarian because, well, he’s a barbarian and by definition, they are uncivilized and brutish. It only makes sense that he should do things in a less than pleasant manner. He even states that in life, “I live. I love. I slay. And I am content.” And by “love” he means he does sex to ladies and he does just that in the immediately following scene because the female lead damsel in distress is apparently moved by his lone-ranger attitude, no doubt a result of both mommy and daddy issues.

And I just want to make a point of saying that Rachel Nichol’s is a damsel in distress throughout this entire movie. Sure, she manages to fight a little bit, but when she’s not staring longingly at Conan (I can’t blame her) she’s being kidnapped. All the time the girl is being kidnapped. She’s even kidnapped by Conan. He says “Woman. Come here. I said come here.” And she just does it and he ties her up. Then she asks him why he would save her then tie her up and he says, “If I possess you, he [Conan’s arch-nemesis] must come to me.” And she is (I think rightfully) outraged at the usage of the word “possess” so he says “go to sleep” and when she keeps talking, he tears a piece of cloth and shoves it in her mouth.

Real nice, Conan. Just the kind of guy I want to bring home to my mother.

The action scenes are okay. To be honest, I was unimpressed. It was a lot of grunting and uninspired fight scenes and for being Conan the Barbarian, some kind of legendary man, he sure is shit at actually killing the people that need killing.

What’s only a bit creepier than Rose McGowan’s lack of eyebrows and extreme hairline is her portrayal of Marique. As far as I understand it, she’s some kind of witch girl who has a penchant to taste girls’ blood to find out if it’s pure before punching them in the stomach with a fancy Freddy Kreuger glove. And yet, I think in one scene she propositions in her own father? And he gets really close to her and presses his thumb to her trembling (yeah, I mean it) lip before grabbing her face and pushing her away.

All she wants is to be loved!

No, but seriously, this movie fell short when it could have been a bit more of a success. The most enjoyable scene was the first one in which young Conan destroys a group of ancient thugs (I’m sorry, I’m not sure what else to call them), cuts their heads off and brings them back to the town. It was most decidedly awesome.

The plot was tired (come on, it’s been done a million times in the exact same way. Warrior must get revenge on a bad person who killed someone he loved. Meets sexy lady who plays into the plot somehow and they really “get along” if you know what I mean. After an arduous journey, he succeeds and finally accepts the death of his loved one) and the characters were a bit boring. I mean, I didn’t mind watching a sweaty, shirtless Jason Momoa perform some serious ass-kicking, but I kept wondering how the movie could be two hours long and when it would just end.

Stars: 1/5 (.5 for the hotness of Jason Momoa and .5 for badass mini-Conan in the beginning.)

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