By Crom! Brett Ratner Will Direct Conan

Rush Hour director tackles fantasy icon

Rumours have been circulating like vultures for a few weeks but it’s now official: Brett Ratner will direct the upcoming Conan reboot. The Internet has been awash with speculation since word first leaked and, while we commend the pig-headed refusal to accept the cold, hard truth when it’s staring you in the face, fans must now face reality: the director of Rush Hours 1 to 3 will usher the Cimmerian into the new millennium.

While many believed the director would be far too busy making preparations for Beverley Hills Cop 4 (which will likely still go into production first), Ratner has agreed to take on the project, due for a release sometime in 2010. Robert E. Howard’s barbarian - first brought to the screens by a then unknown Schwarzenegger back in 1982 - has been an icon for over 70 years and fans initially rejoiced at the news that, like Batman Begins, the new Conan would take the brawny hero back to his roots with a story far closer to those that Howard originally told. Much of that excitement will have now evaporated with news that it’s Ratner standing at the helm.

Now, the obvious thing to do here would be to wail, gnash our teeth and join in the inevitable torrent of whinging and moaning that’s taking place all over the world. We’re not going to, though. While it’s true, Ratner doesn’t have the most confidence-inspiring body of work (and taking on projects like Cop 4 certainly don’t increase his credibility), that doesn’t mean Conan will be a de facto disaster. X-Men: The Last Stand, for all its flaws, was not a bad film. It didn’t hold up particularly favourably to Singer’s superb X-Men 2 but then few comic book movies do.

Naysayers reacted with similar histrionics when McG signed on for Terminator: Salvation but from what we’ve seen of that so far, the film is shaping up nicely. Conan could be Ratner’s chance for redemption – an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and prove to movie fans everywhere that he’s not the hack they accuse him of being.

Empire remains cautiously optimistic. Anyway, there’s always Red Sonja.