Hollywood seems to be on a remake kick of late. It almost feels like there are no more good, original ideas out there.
One of the latest remakes is of the classic Conan the Barbarian.
When I first heard about this, I had to cringe slightly. I loved the original. A child of fantasy and books, I had read many of the original Conan series (as many as I could still find in print). When they cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as the lead, I was mildly impressed at how close he came to my vision of the legend. His speaking voice was another matter all together, but it could easily be overlooked for his physical prowess on the big scene.
That movie helped to launch Schwarzenegger's career and generated a generation, like myself, who followed a whole series of barbarian based stories. Movies in the 80's were also seeing a natural surge in action and a start in emphasis on the reality of the fight. But still, there was something lacking in the finesse of the fight that kept it from being truly believable.
This new Conan stars a relative unknown again, Jason Momoa. This Hawaiian born model and actor had seen some rise to fame on the small screen with roles in Stargate Atlantis and Game of Thrones. He's also the significant other to Lisa Bonet and father to their 2 children.
His two main roles have already helped to establish him as the "big powerful guy". But it was the role in Game of Thrones that landed him Conan later that year. His audition was to perform the Haka, a traditional war dance of the Maori of New Zealand.
This is a great example of the overall emphasis that the movie takes to combat and martial arts in general.
Unlike the original, in the 2011 version of the movie, Conan doesn't start off life wandering aimlessly or in the slave pits where he learns "the way of combat and women". Instead, he has a father who lives a very martial way of life. The beliefs and principles that his father instills upon him are the basis for many true Martial Arts systems.
This is part of what made the movie truly enjoyable for me. There was a lot of gore and Conan is by far not a saint. But he carries himself in a manner and with the underlying philosophies that ring true to a true warrior.
The choreography to the fights scenes was amazing as well. The fluid motions of the swordplay made it the man and the weapon one. Any practiced Martial Artist should be able to see familiar sword play techniques and enjoy the mastery of the movements.
Overall, I was impressed with this newer version of the movie and I truly hope they do more to continue the great story of Conan.