Action superstar kevin sorbo slams evil as kull the conqueror a barbarian warrior turned king who risks all to save the kingdom and his love in this fun adventure fantasy. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 01/06... more »/2004 Starring: Kevin Sorbo Tia Carrere Run time: 96 minutes Rating: Pg13 Director: John Nicolella« less
Good Action Fantasy Sword and Sorcery movie . Sorbo is the legendary Kull and swings a mean axe. Tia Carrera plays an all powerful queen that is brought back to life after thousands of years and intends to bring the world back into darkness and once again to be ruled by demons.
Lots of action . Great Special Effects and one of the most evil bad gals(did I mention she's sexy as heck ?) in the movies.
A lot of fun !
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
WRONGHEADED BUT ENTERTAINING . . . SORT OF
John Salonia Jr. | New Jersey | 09/05/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"To begin with, Jeff Shannon needs to do some fact-checking. Kull as the son of Conan? Huh? Kull only existed a hundred thousand years before Conan's Hyborian Age . . . but this film WAS intended as the third Conan movie, and was in fact considered by Schwarzenegger for his return to the role. Arnold ultimately passed on the part, leaving it for Kevin Sorbo to inherit. So in a sense, KULL THE CONQUEROR is the illegitimate child of CONAN THE BARBARIAN. Perhaps that's what Mr. Shannon meant. If so, my apologies. If not . . . check your facts, J.S.!
The basic plot is taken from Robert E. Howard's THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON (his sole Conan novel) and his Kull tale "By This Axe I Rule!" Conan's brief but eerie encounter with the ghoulish vampire-queen Akivasha in the depths of a Stygian pyramid provided the producers with a villainess to use in place of the resurrected sorcerer Xaltotun (a situation hijacked for THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER -- with the heart-stealing sorcery of the Master of Yimsha from "People of the Black Circle" thrown in for the hell of it. Howard has been so consistently ripped-off that we've been seeing bits and pieces of his work for a long, long time, although uncredited). Kull's smashing of the stone tablets of the law so that the lovers can marry loses something of its dramatic value when he does it purely for his own convenience (as the film translates these events). Screenwriter Charles Pogue (who did such a fine job on Cronenberg's version of THE FLY) meshes the elements of the novel and the story fairly well, although I suspect his script was heavily tampered with. (Most of Harvey Fierstein's dialogue seems to have been ad-libbed.) Typical of this is the clumsy, "Oops, we forgot to explain this", thrown-in-at-the-last-minute exposition of Kull's quest for the Breath of Valka.
Based on such strong story material, this could and should have been a much better film. However, Raffaela de Laurentiis decided to camp it up, probably in an attempt to hedge her bets by drawing in the HERCULES fans. Foremost among the offenses is a truly execrable, irritating and just plain lousy rock score by Joel Goldsmith. It's about as appropriate to Kull's world as PSYCHO would be if scored with the zither music of THE THIRD MAN. The score constantly ruins the mood of the film with annoying MTV riffs that prevent any sort of emotional involvement in the material.
Other reviewers have noted that this is just a liteweight, campy, "don't-take-it-seriously" popcorn movie. Yes, that's just how it ended up, and that's my chief complaint. Howard's splendid fiction deserved better treatment than this tossed-off, by-the-numbers version.
The casting: I like Kevin Sorbo as an actor (his portrayal of Hercules was highly enjoyable), but he just isn't Kull, any more than Arnold was the pantherish, quick-tempered barbarian from Cimmeria (though I enjoyed the first CONAN film, the second was just plain putrid). Part of the problem is that the film was made in the tongue-in-cheek HERCULES vein. While some of the comedy lines Sorbo is given are undeniably funny (and he delivers them well), Kull had less of a sense of humor than Conan did, and Conan's was more along the lines of dumping treacherous courtesans in cesspools than dry one-liners. Sorbo doesn't display Kull's savage impatience with civilized strictures. His approach is too gentlemanly -- a far cry from the raw Atlantean savage Howard envisioned. He's an appealing hero, but he just ain't Kull.
Another problem is that the producers tried too hard for their PG-13 rating, robbing the material of serious treatment. This is probably another reason so much comedy crept in -- as the old saying goes, "if you can't be good, be funny." KULL comes across as a grade-schooler's version of Robert E. Howard, sanitized and made safely squeaky-clean.
Tia Carrere, resplendant in green contact lenses and red wig (although the makeup artists did nothing to hide her brunette's complexion, which renders the wig a tad fake-looking), is a marvelous villainess, making the most of her feline playing with her patsy Enaras, a masochistic renegade priest, to whom she reveals the true meaning of pain. By turns she's vicious and alluring. She plays Akivasha almost as broadly as one of the villains on the old BATMAN TV show. She has some wonderful lip-curling moments of bitchy arrogance.
Harvey Fierstein is just plain annoying, turning Jubah into a sneering, woman-despising gay stereotype. (Can anyone else have injected more snide venom into his "You know I hate the smell of fish" line?) If you like that sort of thing, I suppose he's amusing enough. He's about as inappropriate to Kull's world as Quentin Crisp would be, though.
Karina Lombard is a bit stiff at times, although she hits her stride nicely in the temple of Valka. She brings a nice intensity and conviction to this scene, giving it some much-needed credibility. (Valka's gigantic, cross-eyed stone face is rather risible, I'm afraid.)
Litefoot tries hard as Ascalante, but his character is written badly. The priest of Valka won't take a man's life (refusing to accept a sword from Kull when they're surrounded by enemies), but he doesn't have any problems with setting them on fire or drowning them when the occasion demands. It's tough for an actor to bring such a muddled mishmash to life.
So what's the final score? As a liteweight investment of 90+ minutes, the film is enjoyable if somewhat uninvolving. However, as a longtime admirer of Robert E. Howard, KULL strikes me as only marginally better than drivel like CONAN THE DESTROYER, or the even-worse RED SONJA. What really grates is that now probably nobody will ever film Howard faithfully -- deeming his work to be a failure because most of the films based on it have been failures.
MR. HOWARD IS NOT PLEASED!!!
Tim Janson | Michigan | 02/02/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Poor Robert E. Howard...He never lived nearly long enough to enjoy the fruits of his labors that would have made him a very wealthy man. Conan movies, TV shows, comics, magazines, toys...He'd be startled to learn just how popular barbarian hero had become. He'd be equally horrified to see the results of Kull the Conqueror. Kull was actually created by Howard before Conan and in fact Howard re-wrote several of his Kull stories that Weird tales rejected, as Conan stories.
One immediately knew things were not going to be good with Kevin Sorbo playing the title role. He's too slender, and altogether too 'pristine' to have played Kull who was essetially a savage tribesman, much like Conan. In Howard's original works, Kull took the throne of Valusia by force by killing the petty despot King Borna and took the crown from his head and became King...no matter who liked it or not. There was nothing so trite as the dying king merely handing over his crown to the man who just killed him...a man who was a savage at that.
Borna's heirs are none too happy that they've been left out of power and enlist the aid of a resurrected witch named Akivasha to get rid of Kull. We then get some mish mash of a quest that Kull has to complete to defeat the witch...ho hum...It's obvious that Sorbo was cast to cash in on the popularity of the Hercules TV show but he's just too nice a guy to be playing the savage Kull.
Tia Carrere fairs no better than Sorbo. Again we have someone just a little too good looking to be playing their role. And again someone whose acting talent is meager to begin with. And where is Kull'f long time companion Brule the Spearslayer? And instead of creating the new character of the witch Akivasha, why not use Kull's actual arch-enemy Thulsa Doom?
This plays more like a maede for TV movie than a big screen film. A huge disappointment."
AN UNDERCROWDED GENRE GETS A MEDICORE OFFERING...
Robert Law | Indiana | 06/11/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Kull, wise-cracking barbarian of Atlantis, somehow finds himself in the midst of a distant kingdom's strife, and before he knows it, manages to earn the respect, and the crown, of the recently deceased king - who dies, mind you, at the end of Kull's sword. As Kull claims the throne, there is much plotting to have him removed, and secretly the nobles who long for his place ally themselves with an evil witch who has only recently been resurrected, and plots to bring back the ancient demons who once ruled the land before the coming of mankind. The key to thwarting her wicked designs rests in the Breath of Valka, which can only be found across the sea upon the Isle of Ice. Naturally, Kull must go there and seek it out, not only that he might maintain his throne, but also that he might save the realm from eternal darkness and demonic rule. Originally written as a third installation in the much more respectable Conan series of films, Kull the Conquerer is utterly passionless and devoid of spirit. It is truly as mediocre as fantasy films get, and given the recent crop, that is certainly saying something. Still, I can appreciate almost any effort in this untapped genre, and therefore Kull does taste as good to me as even a relatively tasteless ort of food can to a starving man. It does have its moments, but they should have come far more often. Kull does distance itself from a mere Conan the Barbarian clone quite nicely, however - Kevin Sorbo plays a far less grim warrior who seems to think before he strikes. The world itself is less like Conan's and more like what we have seen in Dragonheart. Given that Kull is from some of the people who gave us Dragonheart, this isn't particularly surprising. Still, a Kull film should be more gloom-and-doom, and Kevin Sorbo, quite simply, doesn't make for a good barbarian, even if he is likable enough as the lead. It's all a few rungs above The Legendary Journeys, at the least! And yet it feels more like a lavish episode of said show than a film adaptation of a character from the mind of madman Robert E. Howard. Even the more obscure Conan-esque fantasy films of the '80s (The Beastmaster, The Sword and the Sorcerer) offered more, even given their lower budgets and dated techniques. Yet still Kull is a decent movie, and a fantasy movie in a medium that often abandons that genre, and that alone makes it recommendable to fantasy buffs. There's much room for complaint, but that doesn't necessarily an awful movie make."
Not REH, but fun.
Garett Kutcher | Anpachi-cho, Japan | 01/27/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Okay first and foremost, like the Conan movies this one had nothing to do with the Robert E. Howard story save the main character`s name. This is, of course, an incredible dissappointment. Mr. Howard invented Sword-and-Sorcery as we know it and none of the movies made from his characters (Conan, Red Sonja, and now Kull) have even come close to measuring up to his stories. However, if you enter the movie in the mindset that it is another barbarian movie and don't think about the writings, the movie is fun and can be enjoyable. It does not do Howard justice, but is good as barbarian movies go. Tia Carrie trying to copy Darth Vader though seemed a bit off."
Disappointing to a Robert E Howard fan
Garett Kutcher | 09/21/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As I expected when I found out that kevin sorbo was starring, this film took a classic Robert E. Howard legend and turned it into a laughable, PG-13-rated flick for Xena/Hercules-watching-kids. While the effects were good, and Tia definately was hot.. I felt like I wanted a refund for going to see it. Having read all of the original R. E. Howard material, I have to say that this effectively misrepresents the stories. Kull shouldn't make jokes, shouldn't speak perfect English (he's a barbarian, for god's sakes). Not enough realistic violence, too much humor, too light-hearted, not enough suspense. Not satisfactory. Come on boys, you can do better than this.."