CONAN THE BARBARIAN

Tagline:

Thief Warrior Gladiator King

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:

Conan hates animals. People, too.

Homoeroticism:

A very confusing movie. As I have stated before, the very presence of Governor Schwarzenegger in a film makes said film more homoerotic than a leather bar. Yes, that means that Kindergarden Cop is more NAMBLA friendly than Over the Top. And yes, Arnold’s hunky chest and even hunkier biceps are ever present in two out of three scenes here in Conan the Barbarian. Moreover, he wears this ridiculous cod piece throughout the film that makes his Austrian Sausage look as mighty as the rest of him. But… he also sleeps with three women. Now granted, two of the women (following the dictates of all 80s Action films) die horrible deaths, but what about the third?? She don’t die…. Weird. Now, I should point out that Conan actually kills one of the women while having sex with her, but what about the one that lives? I just don’t understand. Why would Conan let her infect him with her vaginal filth and not see to her bloody end? Very strange.

Granted, Conan’s father does tell him that “You can’t trust a woman” and then points to a giant, phallic sword and explains that Conan “can trust this.” But see, that could be a hidden right wing message (what am I saying “could be?” John Milius, hello?). Still there is a lot of wrestling taking place while men are wearing leather G-strings. I just don’t get it. Like, he sees a good looking blond woman, so the first thing he does is pull a sword on her. But then he winds up having sex with her!?!?!?! Weird, man. And like at one point Conan says to a guy, “SNAKES, did you say snakes,” and you htink he’s going to blow his god-like load in the dude’s face. But then we see his buddy walking around grabbing women’s asses! I’m so confused… I mean, his mother gets beheaded in the first four minutes of the film, but he is upset about it. And what about the fifteen uninterupted seconds of female nudity. There is even an openly gay character, but Conan rather than fucking him, kills the guy. Weird… Though I should point out that after he kills the guy, he puts on the gay guy’s clothes.

conan

Corpse Count:

Ah, here is where Conan really excels. This movie is violent! I counted 83 on screen murders. But not just your average 80s Action deaths, no! Conan typically busts a guy in the face, then pounds on the back of the guy’s head while the vic is all doubled over, and then guts him or cuts an arm off or whatever. There is a particularly brutal sequence where Conan is like a slave or something and he has to fight all these dudes gladiator style and he has one little getup where in addition to the leather loan cloth, he has these big metal gloves with daggers on the end. He wastes like two dozen dudes in about three minutes. Excellent stuff. Plus, at least fifteen animals die horrible, painful deaths–including a fifty-foot snake! And of course, everybody’s favorite part; Conan gets drunk and punches out a camel!!

How Bad Is It Really?

Not too bad. I remembered it being worse, but one thing that struck me this time around were the utterly fantastic sets. Really spectacular. OK, kids, once upon a time before computers, people actually built sets. It’s true. More importantly, these sets that were actually made from stone and wood, look better than sets made from pixels and diet Dr. Pepper. Point is, Conan is definately otherworldly and I love that.

Story-wise, it is not even that bad. I’m pretty sure that Arnold didn’t speak enough English at that point in time to have any clue as to what he was supposed to be saying or doing, but no matter, he is really good at flipping his sword around and killing scores of people. He even gets beaten and crucified in a scene that is way too similar to Mel Gibson’s evil-jew snuff-film to not be a coincidence. There is also this totally Kafka-esq part where a young Conan is made to push this wheel-thing. He is taken away from his looted village and sold into slavery and they harness him up to this giant ass wheel-thing and he just pushes it around in a circle for like twenty years! The movie never explains what it is–rather young, wimpy Conan simply pushes it with a bunch of otehr kids and then twenty-years later he is the only one pushing it and he’s all buff as shit. Very cool set piece.

One-Liner:

A khan of some sort asks a fellow fighter, “What is best about life?” The guy mentions some Scandinavian sounding black-metal bullshit about the sky or whatever. The khan is very disapointed with the answer, so he asks Conan, who replies, “Crush your enemies. See then driven before you; hear the lamentations of the women.” God damn that’s a good line!

Stupid Political Content:

Considering that Conan was not only directed by right-wing kook John Milius but written by left-wing kook Oliver Stone, you just knew there would be something in there. And there is. As I mentioned earlier, Conan’s father explained all that can be trusted in life is a sword. Additionally, Stone himself was less than a decade back from ‘Nam. As a result, Conan’s love-interest’s catch phrase was the familiar, “You want to live forever?” You know, back in 3500 BC. Also noteworthy was that the evil cult of Thusla Doom bore a striking resemblance to modern day Buddhism, except for all the virgin sacrifices and pointless killings. But, the followers of the cult were trying to “become empty.” Conan of course kills several dozen of them and burns down their temple.

Novelty Death:

Jesus, there are like close to fifty novelty deaths. Um, I guess the funniest was when Conan’s girlfriend gets shot by James Earl Jones–with a snake!

Was There An Atomic Blast At The End?

No. But we hear Milius is working on a bio pic about Curtis LeMay which will surely have several.

What You Learned:

Oliver Stone is a fucking hack. John Milius is not being black-listed by Hollywood because of his self-descibed fascist tendencies; rather he is just a clunky motherfucker behind ye old camera. James Earl Jones plays down to the level of the competition. Most of the main bad guys look like ex-Motorhead members. Our Governor is fucking hillarious.

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About Jonny Lieberman

Jonny was the site’s co-founder and helped carry the place in the early years. There was a falling out with Erich and he left the site for good, but a lot of his reviews live on. He has moved on to a successful career writing about cars. Look him up.