'Conan the Barbarian' review: Muscles! Swords! Grunting!

MoviesSocial IssuesEntertainmentJason MomoaRon PerlmanMorgan Freeman

0.5 stars (out of four)

I guess when you’re born in the middle of a battle (prompting your dad to lift you to the heavens and scream), your chances of growing up to be, I don’t know, a florist are slim. Nevertheless, Conan (Jason Momoa) develops into quite the bloodthirsty maniac when he grows up to seek revenge against the brute (Stephen Lang of “Avatar”) who killed his father (Ron Perlman). Conan’s other agenda: Boycotting shirts.

Worth noting: At least in 1982’s overlong, kinda entertaining take on the legendary character, Arnold Schwarzenegger looked like a super-sized human tank motivated to grow into a fighter after a scrawny youth. The new Conan is just a generic buff dude with an ’80s hair metal ’do and disturbingly vicious battle skills that kick in before puberty. His speech patterns also vary between “sentences” like “Woman! Come here!” and “I know not; I care not,” unintentionally suggesting a flicker of a poet within the soul of a guy who as a child cuts someone’s nose off. (The victim’s accidentally hilarious reaction, in case anyone missed what happened, is shouting, “My nose!”)

The verdict: The script for “Conan the Barbarian” must have had a lot of exclamation points, broken up only by scene descriptions such as, “Conan yells and stabs. Body count: Every extra that's available.” Conan has impressively perfect aim when firing a person in a catapult but is barely more likable than the so-called bad guys. The incoherent film's sickening brutality occasionally takes a break so someone can thrust his sword to the sky and shriek. Sadly Morgan Freeman, who I-kid-you-not narrates the film’s opening, doesn’t get to join in.

Did you know? Conan rescues a group of slaves largely comprising beautiful women with their considerable beasts exposed, and almost immediately they become the dancing, smiling entertainment at the party that follows the battle. This is a long way of explaining why seven different actresses are credited as “Topless wench,” not, “Exhausted, traumatized slave.”

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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