Okay folks, I just saw my namesake movie, as the title suggests. I'm going to be doing the review in one of two ways, breaking away from the usual mold. The first review, this one, is a completely serious review, and the second one is going to be my attempt at poking fun at it as well as rolling with the obvious documentary of my life (just rolling with the whole "Conan" thing there). Here goes part one of two.
First of all, the movie was based off of the Robert Howard books, which I will say that I've read and they're pretty awesome. However, this means that the basic plot, if you can call it that, is that some bad guy has done something bad/is planning to bring some nasty evil back to life/wants to cause massive harm to the world/all of the above. Hence, this generally results with a lot of violence and dead bodies, and in the end, Conan (I love typing my name, even more so with what I'm about to say next) ends up getting a girl(s) and...well, unwinds with them. Apparently the director decided to remain relatively faithful as, well, death, tons of bodies, and plenty of gore happens during the movie. As for the plot, the only thing you need to know is that there's this mask that gives the wearer pretty much unlimited power to do whatever he wants-in this case it's to be the one ruler to rule them all. Once this is established, that plot really goes right out the window. I'll admit that I like it when there's not much to think about plot-wise; however, some more plot could have made the movie a bit more intelligent and have added to the "Conan's killing everybody and anything that gets in his path to stop the baddie from winning" bit. Oh well. Though it wasn't like I was expecting anything really special regarding to the plot, it's just something that I may have liked to have seen.
The acting was, in a nutshell, just looking mad or shocked. One may think that this isn't so much as acting as just reacting, and I kinda have to agree, but once again, I don't think anybody really was expecting it involve exceptional acting in the first place. Once you move on from that, I really like the characters. The right people were cast in the right roles, I thought. As a side note, the actor who played my namesack (or vise versa) has been in TV/movies where he's required to be the military guy, so you could see that that experience carried over. Plus, he made me proud to share a name with him. I thought that the main female protagonist, Tamara, really seemed genuinely shocked at being a key point in the story, and thus I think her part was very solid. On the note of females to note in the movie, the main female antagonist was well played too-by the end of the movie, I hated her guts and her looks (that makeup is hideous, holy crap. I kid you not on this, it's hideous. Though the part kinda calls for it, I will say that she didn't look bad portrayed as a child, but something really got lost in translation when she got older.), and thus was happily cheering her demise. I don't want to get lazy, but the other actors did their parts and it wasn't bad.
The violence really stands out, so if you're either squeamish and/or don't like blood, then you probably won't like this movie. Nothing too bad, but this movie definitely earned its R rating. I came in expecting dismembered limbs and the like, but the only few times were a few decapitated heads. I apologize if this disgusts you, and I know to a certain point it did for me, but it was far more manageable than I thought. And the only real violence came during the first half an hour of the movie, so thankfully the more gruesome/violent bits sorted themselves out of the way quickly. Come to think of it, another possible turnoff is the female nudity involved. As there are very bare chests for the females (and this most likely is a part of the faithfulness from the books), which makes sense given the context, if you're with parents and even grandparents, it isn't exactly your cup of tea. Like the noted violence that I mentioned earlier, this nudity is confined to the first half an hour of the movie, thankfully.
Comparing this to the Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan film, there are some things different for both good and bad. Getting it out of the way, I felt like this movie was like a video game in terms of the fighting. Not necessarily a bad thing of that, as it's a movie after all, but I really did feel like it was a bit rushed as well as the general feeling of being too cliched at times. Another negative comparison to the original film was that the way the baddie dies felt cheap; my friend and I agreed, and I'm sure others will/did too, was that the suspense building up to the final duel wasn't sustained, and thus, he died in a way that didn't make me feel like it was worth it. What I mean to say is, it was a moment of "we're going to have to bad guy die just to end the movie", whereas I know the ending of the original was a "you're going to die, you son of a bitch, and I'm going to enjoy ending your life" kind of deal. As far as the negative comparisons, that was it for me. The positives were the scenery of the movie (I still need to look more into where they filmed-it was picturesque!), the faithfulness to the books, and the effects. It may be unfair to compare the 80's movie to today's one with all the digital effects Hollywood can produce, but dang they really made an impact on the effect of the movie.
Overall, I can see why the movie was widely panned. After all, this was just sword fighting porn with the plot introducing itself and then promptly handing the ball over and never really gaining possession back. Yes the movie is built off of violence, but that was one of the key points of the movie anyway. Yes, the movie felt like it should have/could have gone on for at least an extra half an hour, but I was satisfied with it. Will I ultimately buy this when it comes out on DVD? Probably not. Is it worth seeing in theaters? I guess so. Is it a decent time to spend watching for about 2 hours? Yeah, though come prepared for death and mayhem. It is by no means a life changing movie, but I won't lie, it was a great way to spend an afternoon.