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"Conan the Barbarian" carries a big sword but lacks the discipline and charisma to wield it

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by Ken San Nicolas

Director: Marcus Nispel

Time: 1 hour 52 minutes

Genre: Adventure

Starring: Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Rose McGowan

The 2011 version of "Conan the Barbarian" boasts gory action, decent 3D effects, a handsome protagonist, and a pretty fast-paced plot. Unfortunately, while more true to the book series from which it is derived, the 1982 version of the film is just a hundred times better.

First, let me just say that the 2011 version is a complete revamp of the character. Unlike the Schwarzenneger version, the new Conan (Jason Momoa) was never a slave -- instead, he stole, murdered and pillaged in his teens to avenge the death of his parents and clan.

I'm going to get straight to the point here. Jason Momoa, as handsome as he is, lacks the charisma and screen presence necessary to carry the role. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure he will have a stellar career as it matures, but at this point, he has done little to deserve top-billing in this film. Ironically, Arnold's breakthrough role was probably the 1982 version of Conan, yet the film is iconic in so many ways. Having rewatched the 1982 flick, I can say that although the film was pretty bad, there is no doubt that it is iconic. Arnold was given little to no lines in the film, and yet his screen presence defines the entire film. Momoa is given more to work with (albeit not that much) yet fails to live up to the expectations. Sorry, Jason -- Arnold just does it better.

"Conan the Barbarian" is an average film -- it is what you would expect for B-movie fare. Unfortunately, it carries a brand that is revered in so many circles. It is like buying a Lexus yet it runs like a Toyota Tercel (no offense to anyone who owns a Tercel) -- it fails to live up to it's expectations.

2.5 out of 5 stars. 

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