Conan the Barbarian

Created by Robert E. Howard in 1932, Conan the Barbarian has run the gamut of popular culture.  Comics, novels, games and most famously a set of films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1980’s, the character’s popularity shows no sign of waning.  This latest interpretation of the series should add to the allure with a well-crafted romp utilising the concept to maximum effect.


When his village is attacked and his father murdered by vicious warlord Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang), Conan (Jason Momoa) sets out to find him.  His quest is made all the more difficult as he battles an array of witches, warriors and women.  With his brute force his only weapon, Conan aims to defeat those in his path and claim victory on behalf of the weak and oppressed.


Much like those old movie serials of yore, Conan the Barbarian finds the hero in one scrap after another.  It’s certainly a fast moving yarn with Director Marcus Nispel zipping along from one action spectacle to the next. He’s well served by Momoa who gives a more laconic rendition of Conan than seen previously.  Whilst these add freshness to the franchise, it perhaps could have used a little more of the rich mythology to tell its tale.


Although without any name stars, Conan’s main attraction are the special effects which are suitably eye-catching.  Thankfully the script services the CGI instead of the other way around and logically follows Conan on his quest with fine skill.   Fans of the original Schwarzenegger film may quibble about the lack of reverential seriousness although any solid creation can withstand many interpretations.  Conan the Barbarian definitely doesn’t disgrace the legacy bequeathed it and is a fun slice of escapism.


A mix of the ‘sword and sandal’ epics of the 50’s and with a lead almost as rugged as Victor Mature Conan the Barbarian should find some new fans.  No doubt its creator would marvel at how long lasting his idea has been with this latest version giving it a new lease on life.


Rating out of 10:  6


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