Conan the Barbarian Review
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In 1982, an Austrian bodybuilder with a tricky last name broke into Hollywood by playing a barbarian warrior on a mission to avenge the destruction of his people. Now, 29 years later, another muscle-bound actor steps into the role that turned Arnold Schwarzenegger into an action star. But don’t expect director Marcus Nispel’s new Conan the Barbarian to rocket Jason Momoa to superstardom—because most audiences will lose interest before he even makes his first appearance onscreen.

As a child, the young barbarian Conan (Leo Howard) was destined to be a great warrior—just like his father, Corin (Ron Perlman). But then a nameless man led an attack on their village, killing everyone but Conan and his father, who gave his life to save his son.

As an adult, Conan (Momoa) travels the world, fighting, carousing, womanizing, and searching for the man who destroyed Cimmeria. His search finally leads him to Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang), an all-powerful ruler who’s hunting for the one thing that will finally turn him into a god: the blood of the last pure descendant of the ancient warriors of Asheron.

It may sound like an epic adventure, but Conan the Barbarian is actually an epic bore. It’s drab and gloomy, further weighed down by long and tedious expository scenes that explain the complex set of circumstances leading up to the story in the most mind-numbing ways possible. After opening with a long introductory scene that recaps hundreds of years of history, Nispel spends even more time focusing on young Conan—an arrogant little punk who doesn’t exactly make a likable hero. By the time Momoa finally appears onscreen, a half hour has passed—and audiences will have already checked out.

Of course, if you’re just looking for brainless violence, you won’t be disappointed by the action sequences. They’re excessively violent, with plenty of gushing blood and shattering bone. But, between those short bursts of action, you’ll have to sit through long, rambling discussions about witches and monks and mystical masks and ancient civilizations. And since there’s little or no real story to make you care about the characters or the outcome, the battle scenes feel just as pointless as the rest of the movie.

To make matters even worse, Conan is visually bland and uninteresting. The fake-looking CGI sets are dull and monochromatic, and the 3D graphics—which could have added some depth to an otherwise flat movie—are fuzzy and disorienting.

Conan the Barbarian is alternately dull and ridiculous—but mostly just dull. An action-filled epic fantasy like this one should have audiences cheering in the aisles. Instead, it’ll have them snoozing in their seats.

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