Mojave Flick Review: Conan The Barbarian

Editor’s note: We all love movies, but rather than ask a syndicated columnist who has never visited our beautiful High Desert, we commissioned our own local movie critic: Nolan P. Smith to review films and give us a local perspective. Enjoy!

Miguel Gonzalez


By Nolan Patrick Smith

High Desert Daily

(Victor Valley)—In a summer of apes, heroes and comedies, a fantasy action film comes bearing arms, and it’s no stranger to the big screen. Conan the Barbarian brings back the barbaric hero, after last appearing in films back in the 1980’s. Yet, this film boasts a smaller Conan, a different story and an R rating: how did all these aspects stack up?

Surprisingly well. Being a huge fan of fantasy films, especially the old Conan films, I was mildly worried about this remake. Conan was created way back in 1932 by Robert E. Howard, and has been an action hero in films, an icon in comic books and livable experience in video games. People know Conan as soon as they hear the name: a massive hulk of a man wielding a broad sword and a demeanor of a warrior. Well, not quite this time.

The new Conan is brought to life by Jason Momoa, who was a part of such TV shows as Game of Thrones, Stargate: Atlantis and Baywatch. That’s a track record that doesn’t really scream “CROM”.  Yet, Momoa does pull of an entertaining performance of a man who has been raised to know nothing but war. Sure, he is no Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he does pull off the look and feel of a young barbarian.

The film takes viewers from the very beginning of the warrior’s violent life to becoming a young adult on a path of revenge. The villain of this story is bent on becoming a God, and is played by Stephen Lang, who also played the antagonist role in the smash hit Avatar. Hero and villain cross paths early in the barbarian’s life, which leads to the search for inevitable fights against each. Ron Pearlman (Hellboy) plays Conan’s father to a T, as he really fits the part of a barbarian warrior.

The action scenes are nicely done, but not for those that get squeamish of blood. The supernatural aspects of the film (monsters, sand people) are well executed as well. Though not ground breaking by any means, the film does provide a fun journey into a land of wonder. Many will have gripes with such a small Conan, but if you can look past that, you will be treated to a fun yet extremely violent piece of fantasy fiction.

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