Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Conan the Barbarian.
Conan the Barbarian.
An epic fantasy centred around the barbarian warrior created by Robert E. Howard, Conan is a Cimmerian, who is kidnapped, along with all the other children, from his village in the grim northern realms when a mad cult, led by the eerie and brilliantly portrayed Thulsa Doom (who, incidentally, has an awesome name) played by none other than James Earl Jones. As he is seemingly strapped to a giant wheel for most of his life, we see the young Cimmerian grow into Arnold, who is taken away to be trained in the art of war by Eastern warriors.
Cue a long montage of Arnold kicking ass repeatedly, taking women for his, ahem, pleasure and then finally being set loose into the world to find the terrible cult who destroyed his life, along with a thief, a sexy theif and a sorcerer.
In typical AHNULD fashion, Conan annhiliates the competition, shags all sorts of women, becomes rich and wins the battle, only for his love to be killed by the mad snake cult leader who uses a snake as an arrow. Yes.
The film is considered by many to be the seminal fantasy action film, complete with women, weapons and wizards, and is is damned true. Conan is a brooding warrior, true to the barbarian of Howard's tales. He is unsuited to civilisation, and mocks it more than once. He has side kicks and a love interest, but hey, this is Hollywood.
While not wholly original in concept, it's a damned fun ride, with Conan even fighting a giant snake at one point and decapitating the cult leader and heaving his head onto the vast flight of steps before the temple, into a throng of disillusioned cultists. The film really captures Howard's descriptive ways of story telling, even though the actual book 'Conan the Barbarian' was written by somebody else than Howard.
James Earl Jones is brilliant as Thulsa Doom, with his enigmatic and often mystical looking thousand-mile stare and ominous, rumbling voice.
Evern Mako is brilliant in this as the wizard!
The only thing that got me was that Conan didn't have the square-cut black mane that is always described in the books. It would have been perfect.
Sure, it's cheesy and a little funny sometimes, but that's what makes it Conan. It has great sets and locations, great actors, a fun story and absolutely brilliant music by Basil Polderous.
It's Arnold Schwarzenegger. It has to be awesome.
By Crom, buy the film AND the books, you sons of dogs!