Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Before Aquaman, Jason Momoa was almost another franchise star with this 2011 reimagining of Conan. Directed by Marcus Naspiel (who was also behind the remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th) and narrated by Morgan Freeman, it failed at the box office and had mostly negative reviews. That’s never stopped us from loving a movie before, so let’s check it out.

Conan is the son of Corin (Ron Perlman!), who is the chief of the Cimmerians and also a tough dad who doesn’t think his son is ready to hold a sword, despite him beheading several enemies. There’s also this Mask of Acheron that needs put back together, something that big bad Khaler Zym needs to bring his wife back to life. His troops attack Corin’s people, killing everyone but Conan.

Fast forward to Conan’s days as a pirate, where he meets Ela-Shan , a thief and together they embark on a journey to destroy Zym. Conan disfigured Lucius, one of the guards, as a child and goes further now. They learn that Zym seeks Tamara, a descendant of the sorcerers of Acheron, whose death will unleash the mask.

Bob Sapp, who was a major pro wrestling, MMA and pop culture star in Japan plays Ukafa, the leader of Zym’s soldiers. 

Zym and his daughter, Marique (an unrecognizable Rose McGowan who spent six hours a day in makeup for the role) attack a monastery, but Tamara runs away and is saved by Conan. For the rest of the film, Conan fights off many attempts on her life before saving her and recovering the sword that was taken from his father. 

This was also made before Momoa became a big star on Game of Thrones. Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke and Arnold Schwarzenegger were all asked to play Conan’s father, yet refused.

This film felt like a video game cut scene for nearly two hours to me. It’s glossy and filled with CGI, with a huge budget compared to any Conan film that ever came before. Yet it just didn’t have the feel that I was looking for. Perhaps you’ll feel differently.

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