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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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Joaquin_de_la_Mesa Aug. 18, 2011 @ 11:18 a.m.

The original is actually a pretty cool epic tale.

I don't mean epic in the silly way it's used today -- "Dude, epic sandwich" -- but in the Beowulf, Odyssey sense.

It wasn't the greatest movie ever made, but it had a good story and plenty of good fighting. In fact, I think the art of depicting fighting on film was better back then. it's gotten so choppy lately -- nothing but a collage of short takes of hacks, stabs, kicks, and punches.

I watched the old Errol Flynn Robin Hood recently and the climactic sword fight scene between Flynn and Basil Rathbone is stunning -- Nice long takes, expertly lit and photographed, and two dudes acting and fencing like crazy. Those were the days.

Then Mel Gibson won an Oscar for random limb hacking in Braveheart and we've had nothing but that ever since.

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Joaquin_de_la_Mesa Aug. 18, 2011 @ 11:21 a.m.

And of course there's this awesome bit... "the lamentation of their women." I love it.

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