Conan the Barbarian 2011 is a better made film than its predecessor. It also has the benefit of a much higher budget, which gives director Marcus Nispel free reign to CGI as much as he wants, add as much blood and gore as he wants, and stage as many drawn out elaborate action sequences as he can cram in 2 hours.
I found the 1982 Conan to be frustratingly boring and cheesy. This new version kept my eyes on the screen as the violence and blood sprayed in epic fashion. Jason Momoa is a much better action lead than even Arnold was at this point in their respective careers. He's got a good balance of badass action hero for the guys, and dreamy, confident romantic for the ladies.
Unfortunately, all is not entirely well and good for this remake. I hated the original, but I understand that when it was released, there was nothing else quite like it. It's a dated film, but I know I would have a different view of that film had I been a teenager in 1982. It also launched the career of the granddaddy of all action stars - Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. This new Conan, as well made as it is, does nothing to distinguish itself from the many sword fantasies that are dime a dozen at the multiplex. 300, Immortals, Troy, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Clash of the Titans to name a few. This new Conan the Barbarian simply joins the list for better or for worse.
The film is fun, but it leaves you with nothing. It unfolds in a formulaic, predictable fashion. Even the action scenes feel uninspired. Simple action may be enough for some, especially fans of cheesy 80s inspired pictures, but that's only a small group of people. The turnout may not be enough to launch Jason Momoa as a bonafide action star, no matter how much he deserves it.