While critics prefer the remake to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s original, reviews aren’t glowing.
By Terri Schwartz
“Conan the Barbarian” isn’t trying to pull any punches. From the beginning, the remake of the 1982 cult classic proclaims that its lead lives, loves, slays and is content. And critics are saying that’s exactly what you get in theaters.
Reviews haven’t necessarily been positive, with critics complaining about the script and the one-dimensional characters. But they seem to agree that Jason Momoa did a better job in the title role than Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the movie is fun — at least as a mindless summer blockbuster. It might not be worth spending the extra money to see the flick in 3-D, but the fighting is good and gory if that’s what fans are looking for.
But don’t let us tell you what to think. Before you head to theaters to watch “Conan the Barbarian,” find out what the critics thought of “Conan the Barbarian” in our review round-up:
“With a script so pat and humor-free, Momoa has little to do but sneer and slice. The film informs us that Conan has the heart of a lion and ‘the loyalty of a bloodhound,’ but we get nary a sniff of that in this carnage fest. He’s built like a tank, but Conan emotes like one, too.” — Scott Bowles, USA Today
“This ‘Conan’ plods along, regularly erupting in action scenes that make scant visual sense in two dimensions and none at all in 3-D. The few that stick out involve supernatural beasties; there’s one ferocious battle against warriors made of sand that combines athletic parkour and digital effects to surprisingly exciting ends. Other than that, it’s tame stuff, and there’s little sense of the larger mythical stage the hero strides across.” — Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
“The original ‘Conan’ was a sloppy, grandiose, unforgivable muckbath directed by the (I say the words lovingly) right-wing maniac John Milius. I watched it about four times to make sure it had no redeeming qualities. The reboot (re-sandal?) isn’t good either, exactly. But it has a certain commitment to its cause, and by that I mean it supplies the necessary flayings, slayings, beheadings and, um, a be-nose-ing, all of it dancing to the tune of those amusingly stilted He-Man declaratives — King James Bible cadences applied to comic-book visions. It knows it’s a B movie, and gets on with it.” — Kyle Smith, The New York Post
The Schwarzenegger Connection
“In this dank ultimate-fighting challenge, Jason Momoa as Conan provides the only visual vivacity; he has an eye-catchingly sensuous face atop the requisite statuesque beefcake. Much more than Schwarzenegger in his early Teutonic-slab phase, Momoa nicely fulfills the law of Hollywood Darwinism: survival of the dishiest. Such is his sex appeal that he almost brings plausibility to the movie’s silliest scene, when Conan tells Tamara, ‘I live, I love, I slay, and I am content,’ and the virgin instantly falls into his arms. Guys bringing their dates to this murky holocaust are advised not to try using Conan’s credo as a pickup line.” — Richard Corliss, Time
The Final Word
” ‘Conan the Barbarian,’ starring the excellent rippling chisel of Jason Momoa, is brutal, bloody beyond belief, and has no socially redeeming value. So it is with a certain amount of guilt that I say it’s kind of a wicked blast to watch, especially if you’re in the mood for some righteous revenge.” — Betsy Sharkey, The Los Angeles Times
Check out everything we’ve got on “Conan the Barbarian.”
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