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This article was first published 12 years ago  » Movies » Review: Conan The Barbarian is an awful rehash

Review: Conan The Barbarian is an awful rehash

By Shaikh Ayaz
August 26, 2011 14:02 IST
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A still from Conan The BarbarianShaikh Ayaz feels that Conan The Barbarian lacks intrigue and imagination. Post YOUR reviews here!

hese are not the days of heroism in the everyday life. An overriding superheroism marked out for the battle-ridden periods either set in history or in an alien space, has taken over the movies.

Hollywood, in particular, has kept this genre alive, briskly animated and a dough-spinner in most cases. But who can doubt that the Japanese made far more superior warrior movies?

Director Marcus Nispel clearly isn't aware of that cinematic legacy, of Hollywood or otherwise, for his worldview is inhabited by creative limitations to which his material (Robert E Howard's character) is not held.

Conan is not new to the spotlight, having been earlier played by Arnold Schwarzenegger with poignant surprise and grand accomplishment in the 1982 John Milius movie with Oliver Stone for company in the writing department.

The film opens with the birth of Conan (Jason Momoa) right in the middle of a battle, with assistance from his father Corin (Ron Perlman). Corin would soon die in a duel set off by a pack of warriors who storm into their village to get back a prized possession. With both his parents dead, Conan has no purpose -- or let's say the single-most important purpose of revenge.

His target is Khalar Zym and his daughter who wish to gain control over everything.

Just when you think that Conan would realise that he has to rise above personal 'score-settling' to something greater than himself  -- as a protector of his ilk, as one to bring order back  -- he fritters away everything, using his gallantry strictly for personal emotions. That's not the stuff warriors are made of. It's the one-sided, blinkers-on story that lets Conan down.

Instead, Marcus Nispel injects the film with intense sword-fighting, battle sequences and surreal clashes with the evil forces. When the characters are engaged in none of the above, they indulge in machinations which lack both intrigue and imagination. Where's the drama?

The actors, including Mamoa who knows he has big boots to fill, go about their task with sincerity but are not effective enough. Mamoa has the built of a warrior and is correctly cast but he lacks the aura and authenticity that Arnold brought to Conan. Arnold was never a great actor but he showed prudence in choosing roles that befitted his action star image. Honestly, Mamoa stands for everything Arnold is not.

Awfully rehashed with not a single saving grace (probably Morgan Freeman's presence instead of just his voice would have instilled some hope), Conan The Barbarian is second-class entertainment with zero compassion and sympathy towards its inhabitants --  and its audience.

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Shaikh Ayaz in Mumbai