Let me first say that I'm a huge fan of the original Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan flick (it's still one of my favourite films to this day). CONAN THE DESTROYER and RED SONJA, not so much. That said, all three of these films are flawless examples eighties lore, loved and cherished by nearly all who grew up in this era. Now, I don't love the first Conan film for the acting, the fight scenes or all the campy amounts of cheese found therein, I love it because of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The eighties were an iconic time and Schwarzenegger was one of those guys you looked up to and wanted to be, pure and simple. Now Arnold had the physique, he looked the part of a barbarian and his broken English certainly helped complete the picture, but beyond that there were some boobs, some violence and some cool bad guys (who didn't love Thulsa Doom) and of course my personal favourite detail, the riddle of steel. Yes, there were enough interesting bits found in the original to carry a tune but no film ever truly did the character any justice...until now.
Jason Momoa breathed a magic into this character that I didn't think was even possible. No offense to Arnold but I'm afraid as of this moment, Jason Momoa IS Conan and I sincerely hope it stays that way. You're rooting for him from day one as a kid, which I'll also add was the best coming of age character sequence I've ever seen, but that's just the beginning. Momoa captures all the fire and intensity inherent to not just Conan himself, but a seasoned warrior as well. The sword fighting is the other aspect of the film that really sold me. I hate seeing actors fluff their way through fighting scenes, be it them trying to seem like they know martial arts or appear as though they know how to fight with weapons. If you know what you're doing it shows...just as clearly as it does when you don't. Momoa demonstrated some these moves in this season of GAME OF THRONES, but he saved the best for last, wielding Conan's sword like it was an extension of his arm. The way it should be.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN was everything a Conan led fantasy adventure should be. There's lots of swordplay, naked flesh, monsters, interesting villains (Rose McGowan creeped me out, but Stephen Lang brought it) and it's all tied together by an original storyline rather than a straight out rehash of the original film. I've never been a big fan of remakes but when you redo a film in such a way that you keep the heart of the story as you explore new directions, giving the audience a fresh take on something they know, you may well strike gold rather than crap out. Conan is pure gold, no mistakes about it. I did however, miss the riddle of steel aspect of the original. They go a different route with the idea which was cool don't get me wrong, I just prefer the original version. I have zero complaints when it comes to this film as a whole and I'm pumped that Jason Momoa is writing a sequel as we speak (you deserve this break brother, I'm rooting for ya). This is one stylish and memorable bloodbath that should have been experienced in theatres, but that's not to say a sweet flat screen and surround sound don't do it equal justice.
The Conan Legacy: The Personally I dug the idea of CONAN resurfacing after all these years and I'm glad the filmmakers wanted to keep the dream alive based more accurately on the original stories by Robert E. Howard. There will always be room to criticise but I felt they laid a pretty good foundation for some cool adventures to come.
Robert E. Howard – The Man Who Would Be Conan: This bit focuses upon the author of the original series, discussing how he created this universe and added some historical perspective. Conan's been around for quite some time and for those who didn't realize that, this is a good feature to check out.
Battle Royal: Engineering the Action: Here we get a look at the fight choreography, which for me was the truest place this flick shined when compared to the original films and as well, was a good enough argument for remaking the films in the first place. After GAME OF THRONES, I knew Mamoa had the fighting prowess to bring Conan to life.
Staging the Fights: These fights were staged by the stunt coordinators and shot during preproduction. Shown side by side with the real deal, they give us an in depth look at how they came together. Cool stuff.
Previews: There are a slew of trailers here and this amazing set contains not only a Blu-ray version of the film, but a 3D Blu-ray version as well as a DVD Copy and Digital Copy.