Conan the Barbarian

23 08 2011

You can look at Conan the Barbarian from two different angles. If you see it as an action-packed, testosterone-pumping action movie, you’ll be pleasant surprised. If you like things like thoughtful characters, meaningful dialogue, and good acting, you’re better off watching just about any other movie in the world.

The film starts to falter the minute anybody starts to talk. When Conan is asked about his mission in life, he simply responds, “I live. I love. I slay. I am content.” Deep stuff. Or, when an enemy honestly asks Conan what gives him the right to kill him, Conan shouts “Death!” and then charges him down. While a warrior like Conan isn’t supposed to be a poet, this installment takes his stupidity to a whole new level.

Unfortunately, the ridiculous dialogue doesn’t stop with Conan. Other characters also shout out nonsensical, overacted lines.

In fact, every time the movie tries to be dramatic, it seems like a joke. The silly lines are delivered with such ridiculous conviction that we start to forget about the lives of the characters that hang in the balance. Instead of feeling tense, I started to laugh at most of these scenes. I remember doing the same thing in the original Conan movie after almost everything that Arnold Schwarzenegger said.

That being said, Conan does have some positive points. It remains faithful to the original film, as there are scenes in which horses are knocked out by a single punch, or by swinging a heavy chain, and there are plenty beautiful, scantily-clad women to keep the guys entertained.

I also have to give the producers of Conan some credit for creating such imaginative and interesting settings. Over the movie’s 112 minute length, Conan travels to at least eight different cities, each with its own unique art style and design. Unfortunately, the special effects are the only thing that differentiates these cities apart, as the movie doesn’t delve into the background of any of these regions.

It would be wrong to discuss Conan the Barbarian without mentioning the special effects and action. While these aspects are certainly not jaw-dropping, it does get the adrenaline pumping. There are some very cool sword-fighting sequences, along with a couple large-scale battles that look great when rendered in their full 3-dimensional, high-definition glory.

I wouldn’t say the 3D significantly improves Conan, but it is utilized a lot better than other movies of late. Plus, the dimness effect that many 3D movies experience is all but gone, making for a much more enjoyable viewing experience.

For those who like gory violence and naked breasts (although there isn’t even much of that), Conan will keep you sufficiently entertained. In fact, as a 20 year old male, I found these aspects were entertaining enough on their own that the movie didn’t need any touchy-feely dialogue or character development.

That being said, if you expect anything more than that from your movies, then avoid this one at all costs.

3 stars out of 5