This summer marks the arrival of the Conan the Barbarian reboot – and so far, the project seems like kind of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it would appear that director Marcus Nispel (the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th remakes) has crafted a film that bears a strong and stylish visual resemblance to the Conan comic books. On the other hand, the movie overall looks a bit like “Clash of the Barbarians” at this point.
While the newest character posters released for Conan the Barbarian don’t really shed any light on whether the film will be a fun bit of B-movie cheese or just big and dumb, they do suggest one thing: Nispel’s reboot will certainly look appropriately grim and dirty.
Much like the 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle of the same name, the new Conan the Barbarian follows the titular Cimmerian warrior as he sets out to avenge the death of his father Corin (Ron Perlman) and village, by killing the vicious warlord Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang). As can be seen in the official Conan trailer, the Cimmerian encounters numerous deadly warriors, fantastical monsters, and bizarre enchantresses along the way.
Jason Momoa is playing the new cinematic incarnation of Conan – and it’ll be interesting to see how his take on the muscular brute compares to his similar turn as Khal Drogo on HBO’s latest hit TV series, Game of Thrones. He at least bears a stronger resemblance to the Barbarian character as presented in comic book form; also, while there’s been disagreement among fans on this matter, Momoa arguably has more of a fittingly beefy build than Schwarzenegger, whose version of the character was always a bit on the bulky side.
Check out the latest Conan the Barbrian character posters – which include Rachel Nichols as the mysterious Tamara and an almost unrecognizable Rose McGowan as the sorceress Marique – in the gallery below (via Latino Review):
The casting for Conan the Barbarian seems pretty spot on, with Momoa as the titular ancient world marauder, Perlman as his aging but nonetheless intimidating father, Lang as a cruel and bloodthirsty villain, and McGowan as an exotic-looking magician. However, one has to imagine that Khalar Zym’s having a prominent facial scar is only going to encourage jokes about how Lang is clearly already being typecast as a bad-ass solider-type after his role as Col. Quaritch in Avatar (see: Terra Nova for further proof). He’s good in that kind of role, though, so there’s not really anything to complain about. Moving on…
Conan co-screenwriter Sean Hood has spoken out before about the influence of Robert E. Howard’s source material – and how the reboot aims to embrace the author’s “fleshy and brutal” depiction of Hyboria without simply becoming gratuitous or exploitive. So it seems that those working on both sides of the camera on the reboot are approaching the Conan universe with a straight face – gory decapitations, topless slave girls, CGI sand creatures, and all. Whether that means the film will be a rockin’ good bit of summer entertainment – or dive over the edge into unintentional campiness – remains to be seen.
Conan the Barbarian arrives in 2D and 3D theaters this summer on August 19th.