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Rating History

Conan the Barbarian
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

These days it seems like all the movies made are just reboots or remakes. So naturally Hollywood was going to remake Conan: The Barbarian sooner or later, and thankfully the results are sensational. Before Conan, the only remakes worthy to bear the title of the original, off the top of my head, were True Grit, The Thing and perhaps Friday the 13th (I would say Scream 4, but that movie is a reboot) and even with those movies, I still preferred the original over them any day (except for The Thing), even though the latest 'True Grit' was indeed a work of cinematic genius. With Conan: The Barbarian, however, I am not so sure. So does this remake hold up or improve upon Arnold Schwarzenegger's original movie? Read on to find out.

Okay, so first things first; no, Jason Momoa is not as good as Arnold was when he played the role all those years ago. We all know that nobody will be able to play a better Conan then Arnold himself, and to all you Robert .E Howard fans: I don't care. Before you all say "well the original Conan movies did not correctly portray how Howard had written the story of Conan to take place, and Arnold was a terrible Conan when you compare him to the Conan in Howard's book.", We have all heard this repetitive argument umpteenth times and guess what? I don't care. At all. The Conan Howard made is completely different to the Conan the rest of us all know. And yes, I have read the book, and I much prefer the story told in the original movie in comparison to the book any day. Now that I have that out of the way I can get on with the rest of the review. But as I was saying before, no Jason Momoa does not even compare to Arnold in the role of Conan, but he still manages to pull his character off with great elegancy ... as much elegancy as there can be in someone that is cutting off a guy's head every three seconds. There are still plenty of cheese-ball lines in this new version of Conan: The Barbarian though, and some of them even rival those of Schwarzenegger himself. One line that instantly comes to mind is; (in an overly dramatic voice) "I live. I love. I SLAY! ... and I am contempt." Cheesy isn't necessarily a bad thing though, and I took all the cheesy moments of the film as something of homage to the original Conan: The Barbarian movie. And no, unfortunately Conan doesn't say "BY KROM!" at any point. The acting by the rest of the cast wasn't too shabby either, it was by no means perfect, but it definitely got the job done well enough.

Now onto the story: It's different. Much, much different. Different to what, you say? Different to the original Conan: The Barbarian movie. I know that this film was meant to be more related to the book than the original movie, but I was still surprised about how much they changed it. That isn't a bad thing, either. I was actually very glad to see a totally different story to the original movie; otherwise I would have known everything that was going to happen. So if it wasn't for Conan's origin story at the beginning of the film, you could almost call this "Conan 3" (Conan 2 was "Conan: The Destroyer", in case you were unaware). The story itself is actually very good, which is always a bonus. It has plenty of everything that makes a Conan movie; Swordfights, sorcery and magic, blood and gore, sex, nudity, giant supernatural monsters, more blood and gore, epic journeys, more swordfights... Not only does the story have everything you expect, it is executed with absolute brilliance as well! Sure, this film isn't going to win any awards for script originality, but that doesn't change the fact that it is ... well ... awesome! I won't dedicate a whole paragraph to this topic, but it needs to be mentioned; I need to talk about the 3D in the movie. This film was shot in "2D" and converted into 3D, and it shows. The 3D doesn't make things worse, but it doesn't make things better; there really isn't much difference. I actually got a free ticket to see this movie in 3D, so I went with a few friends on the day of the film's release, yesterday (18th August 2011), to see it in 3D. A few hours later I decided I liked the movie so much I should return and watch it in 2D, so I did. There was virtually no difference whatsoever. So if you have the option, go 2D. You will save money and you will get the same experience. The 3D isn't bad - it just doesn't add anything to the viewing experience. And before you ask (and I know some of you would), no, the sex scene is no different in 3D.

If I am going to explain the gore in this film, think "300" times 10, I'm not even kidding. The deaths may not be as violent as in 300, but there is an absolute shitload more blood, guts and brains. In fact, the gore is a very welcome surprise. The film is rated R, but I still expected very little gore so that all the parents wouldn't complain and have a cry when their little kids saw it (which they shouldn't anyway - Conan: The Barbarian is well deserving of its R rating). But I haven't even gotten to the good bit yet! I still haven't mentioned the action sequences! Put it this way; I shouldn't say 'action sequences' because there is only one action sequence. Yep, you heard me right, only one. Only one that goes for about 113 minutes! There is non-stop action, which is no understatement either. Every few seconds there is a decapitation, dismemberment, torture, or just simple blood splatter ... and as I said before: It's awesome. And for all you guys reading this: there are boobs every 10 minutes or so as well, if you expected less from Conan then you don't deserve to watch this movie anyway.

Conan: The Barbarian (2011) definitely rivals Arnold's original Conan: The Barbarian, but I'm still not sure which is better. I'll leave it at a stalemate and let you decide. This movie is a great deal of fun and I recommend it to anybody that loves their action movies fast and brutal. It isn't perfect, but it does one hell of a job of entertaining you.