Conan the Barbarian 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
When CONAN THE BARBARIAN hit theaters in 2011, I questioned whether or not a Conan film had a place in today’s world. Now that six years have passed, the world has clearly passed Conan by. The age of muscular barbarians beating people over the head and treating women like dirt is over, but no one seemed to tell that to Conan.
This iteration of Conan is sort of an origin story, picking up with Conan as a young child where he witnesses his family getting brutally murdered. This sets Conan on a path of violence and vengeance as he searches for the man that killed his father, Khalar (Stephen Lang). Conan ends up rescuing the beautiful Tamara (Nichols) and uses her to get closer to Khalar. Things are pretty straightforward as far as the plot is concerned and most of the film is focused on Conan busting heads on his way to confront Khalar. Rachel Nichols had a short run as the tough heroine of the moment, but during Conan, I felt like she was much better than this.
As a child of the 80’s, I definitely understand the appeal of the mindless action film that plays on an audience’s obsession with mindless violence, but I think we’re past the days where a film relying on mindless violence can succeed. Jason Momoa did a surprisingly great job as the titular character and actually convinced me for a moment he knew how to wield a sword. It’s his performance and natural charm that makes CONAN THE BARBARIAN bearable and even enjoyable at times. But he needed help that never came. We’ve seen this type of story before and the film offered nothing in the way of surprises or originality for the audience.
I know there’s another Conan movie in the works with Arnold Schwarzenegger circling a returning role, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work. The things that made Conan fun in the 80’s just don’t fly today and any attempt at modernizing Conan will feel disingenuous. Plus, we have better alternatives today that Conan can’t compete with. I’m sure the effort to revive the character will continue, but I think CONAN THE BARBARIAN is as good as it will get and that’s just not good enough.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: This is another odd choice for Lionsgate to release on 4K, especially since it had a really nice Blu-ray. Truth be told, there’s not a big difference in video transfers between the 4K and Blu-ray. If you’re searching for them, you’ll notice a slight uptick in detail in clothing and facial features. The HDR will give you more clarity in the settings, but there’s nothing that will jump out at you as far as video quality is concerned.
Audio: Although the video offered a mild upgrade, the audio definitely ups the ante. This is a loud, booming soundtrack and the Dolby Atmos treatment really brought it to life.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film and you can read our review by clicking CONAN THE BARBARIAN Blu-ray Review.