conan the barbarian 2011Lionsgate

“Run from me…and I will tear apart the mountains to find you!  I will follow you to hell!”

A quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior soon turns into an epic battle against hulking rivals, horrific monsters, and impossible odds, as Conan realizes he is the only hope of saving the great nations of Hyboria from an encroaching reign of supernatural evil.

I will preface this by openly admitting that I’ve never seen the original Conan The Barbarian.  Yes, I’m well aware of what kind of scorn this might inspire in my fellow geeks.  Don’t care much, really, as I’m not not much for sword and sorcery type fantasy.  Though, I shall point out that the original Arnold Schwarzenegger cult classic is one of those movies I know of despite never having seen it.  I know the premise.  I know the quotes.  Heck, I know that James Earl Jones turns into a giant snake.  It’s been ingrained in modern pop culture.

So why did I decide to watch this recent remake, instead of checking out the original?  To mess with you, obviously.  That, and this remake version was readily available on Net Flix streaming, and the original wasn’t.

So, we start with a young Conan going through some trial thingie, as his father (Ron Perlman?  This just got one Awesome Point just for him, there) doesn’t think he’s ready to wield his own sword.  The village is attacked by some guy looking for pieces of a mask to revive his dead wife with (I’ve seen this particular episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer; these things don’t end well, trust me) and lil’ Conan is the only one left alive and swears revenge.  Obviously.  Fast forward, and Conan has grown up to resemble Ronan from Stargate: Atlantis, and he’s a pirate that sets slaves free and enjoys the womens.  Since he still remembers about that revenge thingie, he gets a bead on the evil sorcerer guy, who now has Rose McGowan as his freaky daughter (she used to date Marilyn Manson, what do you expect?), he gets into fights, tangles with a Cthulhu spawn, other weird stuff happens…then Conan is victorious, ready for the sequel.  The End.

Really, this Conan The Barbarian is everything I came to expect when I plopped down to watch this: a big pulpy fantasy tale, gorgeous to look at and exciting to watch.  The actors exhibit more than their share of ham and cheese, and in a movie like this that’s more than enough to keep me interested.  I’m sure to get around to watching the more popular Ah-nold version, but even then I urge anyone to drop any hangups they may have about this being a remake and enjoy yourself.