Now this is the Conan that I remember from "The Savage Sword of Conan" magazine/comic: dark, gritty, ugly and a lot of fun. The makers of this film really, really tried. The visuals remind of "The Lord of the Rings" films, style-wise (with slightly inferior quality.) When a ship rams through a gate and the large stone bricks come crashing down, it actually DOESN'T look like CGI crap! When they do use CGI they edit it slickly to try to hide the fact (which I appreciate!) It's also been a while since I've seen a film with battle scenes this satisfying. And sure, some of the acting could have been better, but overall it's pretty good. With more shots (multiple close-up shots especially) everything could have come out looking sharper. With such a large budget, this film could have looked more spectacular. Not that it doesn't look really good, because it does. Set and costume design are great, and those working hair and makeup had the sense not to make these look like Hollywood actors. For what it is, I really enjoyed this film and would like to see more like it.
One minor point: if it was a little less ambitious it might have accomplished more in some respects. It's too bad this couldn't have been a 2 hour film and had more time to explore character and relationship development. It definitely feels a bit rushed, however the pace does add to the excitement. Not many films keep me on the edge of my seat these days, but this one did. The battle scenes are definitely its strongest feature. Even though you know Conan is unlikely to die, being the hero of the film, the action is so intense and so many dangers are thrown at him that your sub-conscious can't help but register the danger he's in at every turn.
Recommended for fans of dark and gritty adventure films.