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‘Conan the Barbarian’ laughable

By: Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger
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The first scene of “Conan the Barbarian” takes place in the midst of battle, where a dying female warrior gives violent birth to a baby and a yelling, grieving father holds aloft the infant to gleam in the sun. If you make it past this scene without seizing into a fit of uncontrollable laughter, then stick around for more because this movie could be right up your alley. For the rest of you choking back tears at such a ridiculous display, there’s plenty more fodder to feed your tickle box throughout the rest of the film. Sadly, none of it is any good. It’s not even the kind of happy schlock that could find a cult following someday. The film is so terrible that once you realize that the unintentional comedy is played with such obviously lofty intentions, it becomes an almost tragic exercise in holding back your pity for those involved. The only one who walks away from this uninspired remake of the 1982 film of the same name is actor Jason Momoa, who plays the titular hero. Momoa, who was probably immaculately conceived by the god of testosterone, is an imposing presence on screen and would seem to do well if given any material that didn’t require him to grunt and sweat. Director Marcus Nispel doesn’t fare as well. His previous track record with remakes (“Friday the 13th,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) leaves little to be desired and “Conan” is equally inept and lifeless. One good aspect that could come from this film is the violent shake it gives on the death rattle of 3D. The film, at times, looked normal even with the glasses off. Last week, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” showed what a good remake looks like. Go ahead and count “Conan the Barbarian” squarely in the bad remake column. It’s a wholly unsatisfying film that withers on the vine and continues to stink long after it goes rotten. Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer. ---------- “Conan the Barbarian” Directed by Marcus Nispel Starring: Jason Momoa, Stephen Lang and Rose McGowan Rating: One out of five stars