ALMOST 30 years after Arnold Schwarzenegger donned a leather loincloth, the legendary Conan The Barbarian is back on the big screen and this time it’s been given a 3D reboot.
Based on the original works of pulp fiction writer Robert E Howard, this is a swords and sorcery tale in all its violent glory and stars Game Of Thrones actor Jason Momoa as the Cimmerian warrior.
The film begins as it means to go on with a bloody battle and the sight of a sword ripping into a woman’s womb, which explains how Conan came to be born on the battlefield.
Time lapses and we reunite with Conan as a boy, already showing the warrior-like tendencies that will mark him out as a legendary barbarian.
In one scene, he is sent into the forest to prove his worth and reappears with the decapitated heads of savages he encounters – and all without breaking the egg he is made to carry in his mouth.
One day, while being educated by his father Corin (Ron Perlman) on the symbolism of swords and steel, a group of warriors descend upon the village.
They destroy everything in the path in order to find the final piece of a magical mask that will bring back to life the evil wife of warlord Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang).
When Corin sacrifices himself in order for his son to survive, it leads Conan on a personal vendetta and so we’re introduced to the barbarian as an adult, whose one mission in life is to seek revenge for his father’s death.
Along the way Conan encounters terrifying monsters, Zym’s hulking henchmen and Marique, a powerful witch played with relish by Rose McGowan.
He even finds time for a little romance with Tamara (Rachel Nichols), whose blood is required in order to revive Zym’s wife.
The impressively pumped Momoa makes an impressive Conan, with pecs to rival any of the female breasts often on display.
Though un-PC and proud of it, there’s a glint in this Conan’s eye, which means he just about gets away with demanding his leading lady follow him like a dog before slapping her on the derriere.
Less camp than Arnie’s portrayal, Momoa can also deliver lines without inducing laughter.
There’s plenty of blood and gore throughout the adventure – with one squelching scene that will have you reaching for your nose - but for all the action, it’s really rather tedious.
Scene after scene, the story is set aside in favour of yet another sword fight so that even hard-core fans might find themselves yawning.
The final scene atop a tilting wheel momentarily livens things up shortly before the credits roll, but it’s a case of whether you’ll care about Conan and his quest by this point.
By Susan Griffin
VIOLENCE :: NO SWEARING :: SEX :: RATING: 4/10
(15, 112 mins)
Released: August 24 (UK & Ireland)