There are guilty pleasures, and “Conan the Barbarian” is one of them. I wouldn’t call it a great movie, far from it actually, but it did manage to keep me entertained, and because of that, I have to cut it some slack. Given that I had basically no expectations whatsoever, I thought that the movie succeeded on some level; it’s well paced, bloody, and never boring. Ron Perlman plays Conan’s father, the powerful leader of a tribe known as the Crimmerians. After his death at the hands of an evil rival, Conan goes on a quest for revenge and satisfaction. Fast forward a few years, and Conan is now older, muscly and defending the poor and the slaves. At some point, he is captured and finds himself closer to the man he wants to kill, Khalar Zym (played by Stephen Lang), and his daughter, an exotic sorceress (an unrecognizable Rose McGowan) with wicked powers. Ok let’s take care of the elephant in the room right away: you don’t go to a movie like “Conan the Barbarian” expecting to hear a clever dialogue. In fact, the dialogue is incredibly bad, and there’s absolutely nothing to be inspired by. It’s all predictable for sure, but the battles scenes are constantly exciting and well crafted. Ditto the visual effects, from a great battle with sand creatures to a struggle with some kind of a sea serpent. But it’s Stephen Lang and Rose McGowan who deliver the goods; both are solid opponents with a strong presence.
Overall, “Conan the Barbarian” is not a good film, but it is fun for what it is. If you’re a sucker for a brainless guilty pleasure, look no further. But in case you’re looking for something gritty or only interested in the story, I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Categories: The Twenty-First Century