Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
Short Takes: Conan the Barbarian
Leo Howard plays the callow Conan.
The opening passage, with a tough, near-mute little scrapper (Leo Howard as “Young Conan”) beating the snot out of every adult the script throws him, held promise. There’s the reasonably engaging running-of-the-egg procession (contestants hold the speckled-cackleberries in their mouths, so no spoons required) and Lil’ C even orchestrates a Chinatown tribute of sorts. As the Big C, all the insufferably preening Jason Momoa can muster is a hint of Ashton Kutcher on steroids. The filmmakers wisely let the overbearing CGI and occasionally effective 3-D gimmicks supplant acting and storytelling. At least the brutality and bevy of “topless wenches” demand an R-rating “for strong bloody violence, some sexuality and nudity.” Too bad Hyborians don’t know curse words. Glorified garbage-recycler Marcus Nispel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th) directed. Rent the John Milius original instead. With: Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Ron Perlman, Rose McGowan, and the voice of Morgan Freeman.
Rating: One Star
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