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Overall Rating

Awesome: 8.33%
Worth A Look: 4.17%
Pretty Bad: 8.33%
Total Crap: 33.33%

1 review, 18 user ratings

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Kull the Conqueror
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by Brian McKay

"Would it kill someone to cull up an R-rated hack and slash film these days?"
3 stars

Based very loosely on the works of 1930's pulp novel god Robert E. Howard (whose stories are irritatingly out of print these days), KULL THE CONQUEROR follows the adventures of a Barbarian who unexpectedly becomes a king, and must deal with court conspiracies, monsters, and the evil Tia Carerre (and if that's what evil looks like, I don't wanna be saved!)

When Kull (Kevin Sorbo) defeats a king on the battlefield, the dying old man gives him his crown, apparently having been impressed by Kull's prowess. When Kull shows up at the palace to make his claim, the king's legitimate heir (who is of course a right bastard) plots to kill him at every turn. Meanwhile, Kull falls for slave girl Zareta (a smoking-hot Katrina Lombard), while his enemies resurrect a three thousand year old witch named Akivasha (Carerre) so that she can help them overthrow Kull. Akivasha has her own agenda, however, and plans to reign over the kingdom once she has let loose a plague of demons upon it.

So it's the typical sword and sorcery crap. However, as crap goes, it's fairly entertaining and not nearly as painful to sit through as expected. This is in spite of the fact that Sorbo is not only an awful actor, but completely anachronistic. However, occasionally the anachronisms are good for a chuckle - as when Kull is told that Akivasha is over 3000 years old, and he responds with "She told me she was 19!" Throw in a jarringly miscast Harvey Fierstein as the court advisor/comic relief, and you have a period piece that's about as authentic as a Medieval Times Steak n' Joust theme restuarant. But while acting is uniformly mediocre to bad and effects are cheap but serviceable, the action scenes (while relatively scarce) are effectively coreographed and manage to deliver a few exciting moments. Between that, and the excess of bare-bellied eye candy from Carerre and Lombard (Or Sorbo's pecs, if that's your thing), there should be enough here to kill 90 minutes without the trade-off of losing too many brain cells.

The gripe I have with this flick is the same one I have with the new "kinder, gentler" zombie flicks like Resident Evil (which managed to be entertaining in spite of itself). Just as the average zombie flick these days is sorely lacking in the kidney-gnoshing gore department, the modern sword and sorcery flick has grown remiss in the breast-baring and limb-lopping quotas. Granted, for an epic saga like Lord of the Rings, one does not require nudity and gore as window dressing. But when making some B-movie turd with a lackadaisacal script and roster of "talent" that are just a notch or two above direct-to-video or porn movies (or direct-to-video porn movies), some T&A&G certainly couldn't hurt. They knew this back in the 70's and 80's, when S & S movies were huge but usually miniscule in budget. But throw in a few titties and some severed extremities, and they at least gave us something to work with. Yet even the "small" S & S films these days, like this or the equally mediocre Scorpion King, try to pander to the "safe" family-friendly PG-13 crowd, with high titillation but little payoff. For once, will somebody make a truly trashy and blood-splattered Sword and Sorcery flick? Especially when speaking of an adaptation of one of Howard's worlds. If there were two things you could almost always count on in a Robert E. Howard tale, they were that someone was going to have something chopped off, and that the girls would always end up naked. They were bodice-rippers for men, and we loved them! We need more of that good, old-fashioned "boobs and gore" formula back in the marketplace today. If it was good enough for them in the more puritanical 1930's, it's good enough for us.

While a watered-down tale with production values slightly above the average HERCULES episode, KULL THE CONQUEROR has just enough action, skin, and humor to keep things moving at a brisk clip. And while Robert E. Howard probably isn't spinning in his grave over it, he might have a few chuckles in his pine box before ultimately offering up a shrug.

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originally posted: 06/18/03 17:56:50
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User Comments

11/03/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 3 stars
12/08/06 Sugarfoot For people who thought Deathstalker was just a tad to heavy on the brain. 1 stars
11/29/04 Code Red It was entertaining, those looking for deep movie from film need to go to the artsy movies 4 stars
9/30/04 blue so-so 3 stars
6/05/03 Jim Amusing badly acted campy nonsense 3 stars
2/21/02 CAT This.. movie was alright but lacked good developement in areas 3 stars
11/27/01 sdfr Much better than one could ever expect this kinda flick to be! 3 stars
8/06/01 Ciji Grade-B, but fun, and Kevin Sorbo is great for the part 5 stars
10/19/00 Ground Zero Sorbo is good in Hercules and Andromeda, but this movie is a piece of phat shit! 1 stars
9/01/00 bart geyskens this movie sucked so bad i did'nt even come 1 stars
8/29/00 Me Tarzan It's Sorbo's Hercules minus the huge monsters and creativity. Still fun in a mindless way 5 stars
3/12/00 Barb Let's hope the folks who thought this was a good film concept are not allowed to breed. 1 stars
12/11/98 Scion of Graveheart Kev Sorbo tried to a do good job... He got screwed up. Badly. Any comments? 1 stars
12/09/98 Shadow Raider Go back to Hercules, you silly putz. Oh, screw yourself. Xena's the girl for this! 1 stars
12/05/98 Scion of Sailor Jupiter Advice for ol' Kev. GET THE HELL BACK TO HERCULES! 2 stars
10/18/98 Kwyjibo Oh, fuck off. 1 stars
8/20/98 The Man With The Helmet Oh, Tia. Forever destined to star in the year's crappiest films. Back to the M&M's. 2 stars
8/18/98 {{{OZ}}} Sordid Sorbo trying to copy his TV "success" on film. He fails. Miserably. 1 stars
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  29-Aug-1997 (PG-13)



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