Conan the Barbarian

Film review by Tom Sturrock

Starring: Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang | 15 | 112mins    


After two studios spent a combined nine years developing this Conan reboot, the script went through a major rewrite three weeks before the start of production.

That’s not a good sign, and the end result is a £50m turkey, a film that is, to put it bluntly, one of the worst mass-market popcorn films of the past 20 years.

The plot, if you can call it that, is familiar. Young Conan’s village is attacked by the armies of warlord Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang), who is searching for the last piece of a magical mask that, as we know from a pre-credits sequence that borrows heavily from the first Lord Of The Rings film, imbues its owners with dark powers. Conan’s father meets a grisly end and the young barbarian vows revenge.

We flash forward to find that Conan (Jason Momoa) has grown into a glowering gay pin-up who runs around in a little kilt and heavy eyeshadow.

In the course of hunting Zym to avenge his father, Conan finds himself protecting Tamara (Rachel Nicholls), a ‘high priestess of pure blood’ that Zym needs to capture to complete his evil plan.

Their inevitable coupling culminates in one of the most gratuitous shots of a man’s naked arse since Michael Douglas in Basic Instinct.

But then, this is a film that feels gratuitous from start to finish. There’s lots of fighting – on bridges, in fields, in ships, in temples – but it all feels utterly pointless.

You’ve played video games that invested more heavily in chararacter and story and, by the end of it, you’ll be pining for the 1982 original starring Arnie, which looks like Shakespeare compared to this one-dimensional, incoherent mess.

Good for: People who will sit through anything. Seriously, don’t do it. It’s an abomination.


Watch the trailer below:

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