Tag Archives: Kevin Sorbo

T for Tales of an Ancient Empire


by Lillian Csernica on April 23, 2015

By a strange twist of Fate, today’s movie happens to be the sequel to yesterday’s epic adventure.  Lee Horsley, star of The Sword and the Sorcerer, was not available, so the producers did what producers always do in these circumstances: they cast Kevin Sorbo.  It’s only fair to warn you that this movie is rated R, full of half-naked vampire women and a few guys with fangs.

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The plot of this train wreck is a hopeless muddle that combines guys with swords, girls with fangs, a queen about to lose her realm, and the ultimate threat: Vampire Queen Xia, roused from the sleep of centuries by treasure hunters stupid enough to break into her tomb.

Gosh, does this sound familiar?  It should.  Kull the Conqueror starred Kevin Sorbo as he went up against Akivasha, the demon queen.

The ruler of Abelar who originally imprisoned Queen Xia is long since dead, so she goes after the current royals.  Queen Ma’at sends her half-sister Princess Tanis off to Douras, some landlocked equivalent of Tortuga where all the outlaws stop off between crime sprees.

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Tanis is looking for her father, but has to settle for her half-brother Aedan.  (This is where Kevin Sorbo comes in.)  She finds him thanks to the pendant he wears, an exact match of the one given to Tanis by Queen Ma’at.  Aedan is drunk, rowdy, and not really in the mood for a heroic quest.

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Does this shot look familiar?  In The Sword and the Sorcerer, Talon uses a big joint of meat as a club against Cromwell’s guard when the guard is about to attack Princess Alana.

So the princess and the outlaw waste valuable time finding one half-sister Malia, and then another, Rajan, who brings her daughter Alana along for the ride.  The man who fathered these five must have been a cross between Rob Roy and Don Juan.  Thanks to him we very nearly have the sword & sorcery equivalent of the Magnificent Seven.

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Maybe I’m being too picky, but if Douras is knee-deep in outlaws, shouldn’t Aedan be able to round up a few mercenaries?  Women can be just as dangerous with a sword, heaven knows, but if Queen Ma’at’s throne is at stake, Tanis better bring back enough manpower to secure the throne and take out Queen Xia.

If you read the plot summary on imdb.com, it says, “A princess is on a quest to unite the five greatest warriors to save her kingdom from a demon sorceress.”

Uh huh.  Let me sum up a lot of really bad dialogue and tedious travel shots by saying things don’t go well.  Here’s Queen Xia in all her subterranean glory:

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She looks like Magenta with a bad hangover.

But wait!  There’s more!  Princess Tanis has yet another half-sister, a servant girl named Kara.  While Tanis and Kara share the same father (who must have knocked up almost every woman he ever met), Kara’s mother is Queen Xia!  GASP!  Queen Xia turns Kara into the equivalent of a daywalker so Kara can hunt down Tanis and prevent her from rallying any serious opposition.

When Our Heroes encounter Queen Xia and her bloodthirsty minions, poor Rajan and Alana end up joining their side.

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When I talk about these movies, I do post the occasional Spoiler Warning if I think you might really want to see what happens.  Let me save you from making that mistake here.  Movies used to be 90 minutes long.  This one is listed as being 86 minutes.  The actual movie is only 70 minutes.  The last 16 are devoted to “Coming Attractions” of the third movie in this supposed trilogy, Tales of An Ancient Empire: Red Moon.  You know what this means, right?  It means Our Heroes don’t drive a stake through Queen Xia and her minions then ride off into the sunset.  The movie has the chopped-off ending that’s the sure sign of a badly planned sequel.

Lee Horsley made an appearance in this film, listed as “The Stranger.”  I’ve looked high and low for a shot of him in the movie, but I can’t find one anywhere.  Perhaps that’s for the best.

funny-pictures.picphotos.net

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K for Kull the Conqueror


by Lillian Csernica on April 13, 2015

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Kull the Conqueror (1997) was supposed to be Conan the Conqueror.  Problem: Schwarzenegger did not want to play Conan again.  (After the way Conan the Destroyer turned out, is anybody surprised?)  The producers et al called up Kevin Sorbo, already a hot property thanks to his lead role in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.  Kevin Sorbo did not want to play Conan given that Schwarzenegger had already put his stamp on the role.

What did the producers et al do?  Changed the title to Kull the Conqueror.  For those who don’t know, Kull is another Robert E. Howard character, one that actually predates Conan in that Kull is from Atlantis.

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Wow!  Kull looks nothing like Conan! <insert sarcastic laughter>

Kull shows up for the try-outs being held by the King of Valusia for his elite Dragon Legion.  General Taligaro won’t allow any lowlife Atlanteans into his legion, so Kull doesn’t get the job.  Meanwhile, the King has gone mad, butchering people in his throne room.  For some reason Kull rides along with General Taligaro and then tries to reason with the King.  Anybody who has ever watched a single episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys will know exactly how Kevin Sorbo plays this scene, making the most of his rich, deep, soothing voice.

No luck.  The King pulls a surprise attack, forcing Kull to land a mortal blow.  Before the King dies, he makes Kull his heir just to put the screws to General Taligaro one last time and set Kull up for more or less immediate assassination.

Does the General, who is the valid heir to the throne, summon the Dragon Legion and put several dozen arrows into Kull right then and there?  Of course not.  Taligaro and the King’s cousin take the scenic route by raising the long-dead witch queen Akivasha, played by the Queen of the ’80s Bad Girls, Tia Carrere.

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Akivasha seduces Kull and gets him to marry her, so now she really is Queen.  Taligaro thinks this is just spiffy until he discovers Akivasha has plans of her own that involve bringing a bunch of demons to Valusia.  In the middle of all this, there’s a slave girl named Zareta who gets all the great lines.  Kull has the hots for her and being King, does something about it.  Zareta tells him, “Do not mistake cooperation for enthusiasm.”

When Akivasha decides to poison Kull, she frames Zareta for the evil deed.  How farfetched does this tangle of passion and intrigue become?  You tell me.  Here’s Akivasha in her true demonic form:

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How powerful is Akivasha’s magic?

I’d love to see the outtakes from this scene, because you just know there had to be some.  This is not a shining moment in Kevin Sorbo’s career.

Somehow Zareta manages to get the antidote to Kull in time to save him.  The only thing that can stop Akivasha and her demons is the “breath of Valka.”  The quest for this artifact takes Kull and Zareta through the usual perils and intimate moments.  Zareta’s brother Ascalate comes along for the ride.  He’s some kind of shaman.  The “breath of Valka” is a rather literal artifact, so much so that Zareta has to inhale it.  Prolonged exposure will kill her, so Kull and Ascalante rush her back to Valusia for the big showdown with Akivasha.

This is the only photo I could find that will give you a hint about where the “breath of Valka” comes from.  See that face in the background, the big one carved into the wall of snow?  Valka’s breath comes out there.

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So there you have it, folks.  Nobody was happy with this film.  Not the writers, not the producers, not the casting directors, and (I’m willing to bet) not the actors either.  There is one saving grace to this movie.  It enables me to ask this question:

Where else do you get to see Kevin Sorbo French kiss  a demon?

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