There’s no two ways about it, the new Conan The Barbarian isn’t going to be for everyone.
Just as last year saw the re-emergence of such throwback, mega violent spectacles as The Expendables and Ninja Assassin, Conan The Barbarian follows suit, swinging its sword proudly above its head, while keeping its tongue firmly in its cheek. Naturally, he holds the new-born Conan up to the heavens and screams.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that Conan’s onscreen encounters are mostly reliant on stunt work and real sword fights, giving a sense of tangible brutality and edge to proceedings, which are plentiful and very violent. CGI only plays a part in a couple of scenes.
Jason Momoa’s Conan falls somewhere in between, as he’s unafraid to speak, but hardly breaks into long monologues either.
Momoa actually filmed Conan before (now wildly successful) Game Of Thrones. And he exudes more charisma in his big screen leading role than most of the muscle bound heroes in previous decades, carrying the film with ease, even if Conan himself is restricted by his own motto “I live, I love, I slay and am content.”
Two members of the G.I. Joe team also play supporting roles, Said Taghmaoui and Rachel Nichols. In Conan, Lang delivers lines so vehemently that he physically spits some of them out.
And he’s not alone, there’s a whole lot of shouting, screaming and frothing in Conan. One character even dribbles. I’m sure, though, that the new Conan’s antics will appeal to a blood thirsty younger generation, who’ve been denied this kind of film at the cinema for far too long.
Conan The Barbarian is perhaps the greatest sword and sorcery movie never made in the eighties, full of non-stop violence, naked flesh, slow motion explosions and a thumping orchestral score (fear not, the music used in the trailer is nowhere to be heard). Flying back to America from Bulgaria, where he had just filmed the new Conan the Barbarian movie, director Marcus Nispel was stopped by a customs agent and asked to declare just one thing: Who is the new Conan?
Arnold Schwarzenegger made his Hollywood breakthrough by playing the charismatic Cimmerian warrior in the 1982 original Conan the Barbarian. In the new 3-D film, his father (played by Ron Perlman) is killed by a warlord, and Conan embarks on an epic quest to avenge his death with the help of a female monk named Tamara (Rachel Nichols), who's also handy with a sword.
Conan's mantra: "I live, I love, I slay — and I am content." Since Conan's creation in 1930s stories by Robert E. Howard, the barbarian has gone through various incarnations in books, cartoons, video games, comic books, movies and artwork.
Momoa was of the generation that would sneak into the R-rated Schwarzenegger movies Conan the Barbarian and the 1984 sequel, Conan the Destroyer, to see all the testosterone-filled fighting.
But Momoa's introduction to the character came with the Howard stories.
We weren't watching too many orgies and people getting their heads cut off," says Momoa, who was born in Hawaii and raised in Iowa. "I've never played a character who's already been played."
Momoa's roles have primarily been on the small screen, from beachy soap operas Baywatch Hawaii and North Shore to starring as the fearsome warlord Khal Drogo on HBO's hit Game of Thrones.
Momoa still had the Khal Drogo beard when he auditioned for Conan. When Momoa walked in, "he looked like a Klingon commander" from Star Trek, Nispel says. Yet Momoa refused to shave off the beard for a screen test. Though some may wonder if Momoa's performance will be iconic enough to dethrone Schwarzenegger as the pre-eminent movie Conan, Nispel says the bigger question may be whether there's a place in today's pop culture for this type of character.
Nispel wonders. Get Conan back out there. Haka and plant slaying got Hawaiian Jason Momoa the role of Conan, but he is still fighting Baywatch memories.
Momoa told website Movieline.
The audition was so successful it not only won him the role of Drogo but also a meeting with Lionsgate Motion Pictures over their planned remake of Conan the Barbarian.
Kill the plant!’ I’m grabbing a sword, killing this thing. Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo in Game Of Thrones. I’m constantly fighting that stigma."
"When I got cast as Conan, people were like, 'You’re hiring the Baywatch dude to play Conan?'