Khal Drogo The Barbarian Vs Low Box Office

We loves us some Sword and Sorcery here at Day HW Stood Still and the very pinnacle of the B-movie Blood and Boobies genre is the original two Conan films.

Now, a remake has hit our screens featuring Khal Drogo from Game Of Thrones as the titular Cimmerian scrapper. Can it renew the franchise or even just entertain on a bank holiday afternoon? Hit the jump to find out:

Conan is the creation of the very king of pulp fantasy, Robert E Howard. A troubled man, Howard nonetheless wrote cracking yarns full of exploitation raunchiness, gore and cheesy science fiction and fantasy; in fact, many of the tropes he created drive the films we write about here today. Most of his creations, from Solomon Kane to Kull The Conqueror have made it to the screen, but none achieved the success of Conan.

If you've never read any Conan tales, why not? They're brilliant. Our hero is an amazingly-strong warrior from a lost tribe. He wanders a magical ancient realm of sorcerers and warlords, making his way from common street thief, to pirate, to mercenary, to soldier and eventually becoming king of his own land. He enjoys whoring, drinking and violently killing things, whilst his turn-offs include: magic and women not knowing their place.

Giving the new movie full credit, it does follow this formula fairly exactly. Alas, this still doesn't feel like Conan. Clearly, the film is influenced more by the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies than the books, but The Governator's attempts,whilst wildly different from Howard's stories, at least echoed their style. This film feels like a generic actioner, just another Hollywood Blockbuster in different clothes. Unfortunately, Hollywood does not seem to have realised that Sword and Sorcery flicks are no longer the rage and box office has corresponded to the fashion for superheroes and weird scifi concepts. The closest successful comparison would be Pirates Of The Caribbean, a similar swashbuckling, supernatural epic; yet, that film was carried through by tongue-in-cheek, self-referential wit, something this po-faced outing completely lacks.

On the other hand, to say that this is a bad film would be completely unfair. There's a wonderful lack of political correctness to the proceedings, from the tribe of women who are all constantly topless for no reason to an illustrative scene where a pregnant woman is stabbed in the stomach. The swordfights are enjoyable, though full of unnecessary, badly-done swathes of CGI blood. Elsewhere, though most of the cast are hitting above their abilities, we'd watch Ron Perlman in anything, Rose McGowan excels at psycho bitch queen, though dipping occasionally into cheese, and we fear Khal Drogo himself, Jason Momoa, deserves far better than the reputation he will get from being associated with this flop. The direction is sub-par, which is a shame as Marcus Nispel did well at this kind of thing with Day HW Stood Still-favourite Pathfinder, but not bad enough to ruin the movie.

This may not be a success, but there is plenty to enjoy here. With a quick script rewrite, a better supporting cast, a better director and some comic relief, this might have been a cult classic up there with Scorpion King. As it is, it's just an interesting curio.

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