Marcus Nispel's name alone is enough to strike fear into the heart of the hardiest movie buff, as the filmmaker and I use that term loosely has been cranking out bomb after bomb since 2003. Nispel kicked off his career with ‘03’s reprehensible remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and followed that up with 2007’s incoherent Pathfinder and 2009’s worthless Friday the 13th reboot. With Conan the Barbarian, yet another needless re-imagining, Nispel brings his particular brand of incompetence to Robert E. Howard’s iconic creation.
It’s clear immediately that Nispel’s abilities as an action director haven’t improved a whit since Pathfinder, as Conan the Barbarian is filled from top to bottom with battle sequences of a disappointingly (and aggressively) incoherent nature. Nispel, along with director of photography Thomas Kloss, employs a gritty, handheld visual style that makes it impossible to tell just what’s going on, with the rapid-fire editing and relentlessly shaky camerawork transforming the movie’s various fights into a blurry, jumbled mess of dimly-lit images.
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