Pretentiously slow and largely dull sword and sorcery, based on the popular character created by Robert E. Howard in the 1930s. As a young boy Conan witnesses the massacre of his people, including the murder of his father and the beheading of his mother, by a triumvirate of evildoers led by Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones), the shapeshifting head of a cult of snake worshippers. Freed after years of slavery, Conan the man (Arnold Schwarzenegger) seeks vengeance, sleeping with a witch and killing a giant snake along the way. As well as picking up a couple of companions, with one of whom, the thief Valeria (Sandahl Begman), he falls in love. Schwarzenegger, who certainly looks the part, isn't given much to say, metaphorically mirroring the entire film.
Ebert the Politically Correct
Roger Ebert, the late reviewer of films for the Chicago Sun-Times, liked the film, but admitted its conclusion, which featured Nordic Arnold Schwarzenegger defeating black James Earl Jones, disturbed him. "Am I being too sensitive?" he wonders. Given that black Jones is responsible for the murder of Schwarzenegger's white father and the beheading of his white mother and that this incident is passed off by Ebert as a convenience (since it "gets them neatly out of the way"), I would have to conclude that a more fitting question would have been, "Am I being ridiculous?"