Conan the Barbarian (2011)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Conan the Barbarian</strong> (2011)

(On Cable TV, April 2012) The problem with boring movies is that they make everything seem worse.  Lame jokes in an otherwise solid film are minor blemishes, but they become almost offensive in dull movies.  Gore is, at best, a necessarily evil in good films; in bad ones, it feels immature and forced. This remake of Conan the Barbarian is, in a few words, useless and charisma-free.  The problem start early on, with a gory prologue leading to a lengthy young-Conan sequence that leads, years later, to a third introduction to the Conan character now fully-grown.  But even with three starts, this film seems to sputter out of energy early on: A return to the kind of dull epic fantasy film we thought we’d left behind with The Scorpion King, Conan the Barbarian struggles in keeping the audience’s attention throughout its entire duration.  It doesn’t succeed, to the point that the film seems to erase itself from memory as soon as the credits roll.  Jason Momoa isn’t too bad as the title character; sadly, it’s the rest of the production that seems to fall around him.  As far a sword-and-sorcery fantasy films go, this is routine stuff, made a bit more repellent with the gratuitous meanness and gore.  Some sequences are a bit better than others (including a fight over a wooden wheel), but the initial disappointment of the film never goes away, and the end result just isn’t all that impressive.  Fantasy fans will at least get the impression that the budget was spent on-screen: There are a few good images here and there.  For everyone else, through, this remake compares unfavourably to the original Conan the Barbarian.  Good or bad doesn’t matter when the film is just this dull.

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