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CONAN THE BARBARIAN (BLU RAY)
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Marcus Nispel

Starring:
Jason Momoa
Rachel Nichols
Stephen Lang
Rose McGowan
Nonso Anozie

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Our newest franchise reboot tells the tale of Conan the Cimmerian and his adventures across the continent of Hyboria. This butt-kicking fur wearer is on a quest to avenge the murder of his father and the slaughter of his village.
Is it good movie?
I'm not the biggest Conan nut, but I did grow up with a small collection of the original comic books an uncle had bestowed upon me and I think the Arnold flicks are a real hoot. When I was visiting the set of Drive Angry, I remember talking to producer Mike DeLuca, who was really looking forward to this flick, as Jason Momoa had just been cast as Conan.

Fast forward past a forgettable theatrical run and the home video release is upon us. I would like to state for the record, that this is a flick for the more action-oriented fans of the site. To be fair, I must come out and say it- this isn't a great movie in the 'classic' sense, but I can say that if you came for bloody, barbaric action, you've come to the right place.

First of all, don't get too caught up in plot or character motivation. If you're the Barbarian, you live for battle and the splendors of the flesh, while everything else seems to just happen around you. Conan's out to stop the bad slave drivers and assorted scumbags while trying to save some girl.

Seriously, do you love violence? Because this movie lets you know what's up really, really quickly, from the point where you see Conan's memorable birth in battle, torn from the womb of his slain mother. We get a strange cameo from Ron Perlman, who seems to be simply acting like he's a parody of a warrior. It smacked me as a bit odd.

Marcus Nispel has an eye for violence, and he packs a real visual punch to say the least. it features great sets and certainly feels right, spanning across mountains and dungeons appropriately. The scenery here is beautiful, as the film was shot in Bulgaria and looks nice. Plus, there are a lot of cool and nasty moments. You'll cringe with some of the violence (have you ever seen someone stick a finger through a hole in someone's nose?), and you have no choice but to give props when you see some of the cooler fight scenes, like the battle between Khalar Zim (Stephen Lang) and Conan that takes place on a giant wheel that's tilting all over the place.

Jason Momoa is fine as Conan (I think the guy was made for the role), but seems to be a bit less than memorable. The guy's huge and undoubtedly trying (and his hair looks really phony), but I have to admit that his dialogue can get pretty laughable, in a movie that plays itself almost completely straight. In fact, I have to say that a lot of the dialogue in this movie is going to get you laughing. It's some goofy stuff. The scenes where Conan is demeaning women and wolfing down his food will bring a smile to your face, because they're impossible to take seriously. Hell, maybe the fact that it's all played so straight will provide you with more entertainment.

On the other side of the cast, evil queen Marique is played by Rose McGowan with delirious glee. In some ways, it seems like she's the only one who is having a ton of fun here and it's admittedly a bit out of place. Our heroine Tamara is really a misfire though, and it seems like she didn't read any of her lines before stumbling through them and lacking any sort of ancient dialect at all.

Also worth mentioning is that although this flick is a whirlwind of violence, I felt that there was a bit too much CGI blood enhancing the practical effects. As the viewer, you're constantly getting beaten over your head with it, so you better love it! Sure, there's no socially redeeming importance here, but this is a straight up nasty revenge flick.

Folks, as I said before, I have to be an honest reviewer and tell you that this isn't a technically well made film, but it's a great guilty pleasure. Sure, you can check your brain at the door but know that it's packed full of pulp, cool camera angles and rivers of blood supplied by many dead bodies. if you want to see someone's head get stomped in (which becomes the tip of the iceberg), slide this in your player and get ready for some brutal fun.

Really, I don't know what else you'd want from a modern remake of Conan. The meek need not apply, for Conan brings pain, suffering, one-liners and a whole lot of blood.
Video / Audio
This is a demo disc for your spankin' new TV. The video is presented in gorgeous 1080p 2.40:1 widescreen and is almost flawless. I was amazingly impressed.

Audio is also really impressive, with a DTS-HD master audio track to knock your socks off. This is some crystal clear sound with amazing boom in all the right places. Really impressive.

This package also came with a 3D disc, and the video features the same specs but is obviously 3D. Unfortunately, the 3D isn't overly impressive- there isn't a lot of ghosting or crosstalk (blurry image), but there just wasn't a lot of depth. The color palette gets a bit muted and some detail is lost. Stick to the 2D version.
The Extras
Let's start out with some audio commentaries. We get two, one with Marcus Nispel who gives a lot of facts and seems to be a bit on the defensive about his film. The second is with Nispel, Momoa and Rose McGowan, who do a lot of glad-handing but seem to really like each other and have more fun than the previous commentary track. I suggest listening to the second track.

Next up is the Conan Legacy, a twenty minute piece that talks about how Conan came to be, from written word to the current film. It's good stuff, worth watching.

Robert E. Howard: The Man Who Would Be Conan runs about 10 minutes long and details the life of Conan's author, who really led a life cut short. Sad piece, but good to commemorate the man.

Battle Royal: Engineering the Action is another 10 minute piece that is loaded with behind the scenes stunt action. If you're into the choreography of badassery, check it.

Staging the fights is another bit about the prep work involved with some of the battles, featuring 6 minutes worth of videos made by the stunt team as they laid out some action.

Finally, there's some trailers for Highlander 2, Warrior, The Expendables and Set Up. There's also a Digital Copy included to take the flick on the go.
Last Call
Conan is a battlehound's action film that will not disappoint its audience. Sure, it's kind of goofy and almost nothing but wall to wall violence, but the flick delivers where it counts. It helps that this movie has been given fantastic treatment, and sports a great overall package. If you can get into some swords and sorcery, pick this one up and slap it in your player, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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