‘Conan the Barbarian’ is a $90 million sack of shit
Sword-and-sorcery and/or sword-and-sandal films occupy a precious position in my heart. Not too long ago I penned a brilliant thesis on this genre and scored top marks for my presentation about how popular they’ve become. Unfortunately, Conan the Barbarian is a perfect example of how not to execute this type of picture. Thanks to Khal Drogo’s man boobs, Rachel Nichols’ tepid performance, and Stephen Lang’s inability to escape his Colonel Miles Quaritch role, this outing is less fun than a colonoscopy.
The problems begin with Jason Momoa. Just like a blowjob from Anton LaVey, Momoa can’t carry any feeling of satisfaction or intrigue. His acting skills are limited to:
- Looking tough without a shirt on
- Looking tough with a shirt on
- Looking tough with a sword
- Looking tough while balls-deep in Tamara
- Looking tough while doing tough-looking things
As good as he was in Game of Thrones, that’s how bad he is in Conan. There’s no plausible scenario where Momoa has the acting chops to carry a big-budget endeavor on his shoulders. And what’s worse, his supporting cast does little to keep the picture afloat. Rachel Nichols, who I would definitely like to bury my dick in, is less exciting than a titty-fuck from an 80-year old Armenian prostitute. And like I mentioned before, Stephen Lang’s role as the antagonist is so boring I almost had to stick my left thumb up my own butthole in order to feel some sense of enjoyment.
But what kills Conan the most is that there’s no sense of adventure. Director Marcus Nispel would have done well to take a page from Mike Newell and his 2010 extravaganza Prince of Persia. While obviously Prince wasn’t a shining jewel in the genre, at least it had the fortuitous glamour of being a Pirates of the Caribbean clone. Every penny of its enormous budget was put towards stimulation of the senses instead of hiring B-grade actors and expecting them to magically produce something excellent. Just like a David Cronenberg film, that idea is about as flaccid as my non-existent erection.
The combat is mildly pleasing in its bloodiness, and here Momoa does actually excel. Experiencing him slash and cut up people with a sword is at least fun to watch, and while the body count is somewhere in the vicinity of the number of people who have banged Lindsay Lohan, at least it’s sensually appealing. Sadly, while the fighting is bloody, it lacks any feeling of congruity. The cinematography makes everything from the stunts to the jousting seem cheap and underdeveloped. But what do I know, I’m just some asshole who writes film reviews on the internet for an audience approximately as large as the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog.
Conan the Barbarian is an embarrassment to the genre. Its failure (financially and critically) obfuscates the possibility that more sword-and-sorcery films will be made. It’s shit like this that really pisses me off about half-assed “blockbusters.” If you aren’t going to produce something worthwhile, then make like Jon Nödtveidt and fucking kill yourself.
Conclusion: It fails to stimulate genre die-hards in almost every way. Avoid. 1.5/5.0