Kull the Conqueror
R2 - United Kingdom - Fabulous Films
Review written by and copyright: Matthew Crossman (6th August 2015).
The Film

In the past the kingdom of Valusia is built upon the ruins of a city once called Acheron, a place once ruled by demons. The Queen of Acheron, Akivasha, is overthrown by the god Valka who returns the city to itís people and leaves a single, huge flame burning there to remind people of the Ďgodless timesí. Kull (Kevin Sorbo),a barbarian, is involved in a huge battle but all is not what it seems as the battle is actually an entrance exam to be part of Valusiaís elite Dragon Legion. Kull thinks he has passed the test but is denied entry to the legion because he is a barbarian and does not have noble blood in his veins. It is as this moment that a messenger arrives and informs the Dragon Legionís leader, General Taligaro (Thomas Ian Griffith), that the King is has gone mad and is slaughtering all his heirs in his desire to keep his crown and his throne. Taligaro rushes off and Kull follows. Upon entry to the Kingís palace the King attacks Taligaro. Kull attempts to diffuse the situation but instead finds himself under the attack of the King. In defending himself Kull slays the King. With his dying breath the King makes Kull the new King much to the consternation of Taligaro and the other heirs to be. After several attempts to assassinate Kull Taligaro and the Kingís cousin bring Akivasha back to life to so she can destroy Kull and they can take the crown for themselves. Akivasha manages, quite easily, to seduce Kull and marries him. Kullís new Queen promptly poisons Kull and Kull is now believed to be dead. Kull however recovers, finds out about the plot and then goes on a mission to regain his crown.

Robert E Howard wrote the first of his Kull stories in 1929, some three years before his first Conan story, In fact the first Conan story was actually a re-worked Kull tale which had been rejected for publication. Most people have heard of Conan but few have heard of Kull. Kull is a more restrained character than Conan in the stories and is prepared to be more diplomatic where as Conan was happy to start waving the battle axe around from the get go. Kull the Conqueror (or Kull of Atlantis, as he was first known) only appeared in three stories before Howard committed suicide but a further nine Kull tales were published posthumously. The title role of Kull the Conqueror was played by Kevin Sorbo. Sorbo, an American actor, had been playing the titular role in the popular television programme Hercules: The Legendary Adventures. Hercules the TV programme was a very popular series in the mid to late 1990ís and was one of the highest rated television programmes in the United States of America. Standing 6 foot 3 inches and very muscular, Sorbo was the perfect actor to play Kull on film (especially as Arnold Schwarzenegger had turned down the role due to his involvement in The Terminator films). The film itself is a relative success. It aims to be a fun, family film and that it most certainly is. The synopsis may sound a little heavy but all of the telling of the story about the demon city of Acheron is done as a voice over before the main action starts and after that the film is easy enough to follow. It does not take itself too seriously and does not expect the audience too either. The action sequences are well staged and the special effects are reasonable enough for a relatively low budget late 1990ís movie. Kull The Conqueror will never top anyoneís favourite film list but itís a entertaining way to pass a wet, cold winters afternoon.

Video

Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic. The clarity of the picture is typical of the late 1980ís and all throughout the 1990ís in terms of films with this kind of budget. That is to say that the image is a little soft and the colours quite murky. Much of the film is set to torch light making the edges of the picture especially dark in places. The daytime scenes are bright enough but the colours still appear quite muted in comparison to modern day films or even high budget films of the time when Kull was made. Itís never going to be anyoneís idea of a demonstration disc but itís acceptable enough.

Audio

The viewer has two choices. English Dolby Digital 5.1 or English Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 The 5.1 mix is quite bold with Jerry Goldsmithís score being the main benefactor. The separation of the front speakers is good but the score through the rear speakers can sometime over power the dialogue from the centre speaker so donít sit too close to those rears or youíll miss some of Kullís pearls of wisdom! There are no subtitles available of any kind.

Extras

Stills Gallery (1:03) - A rather fuzzy selection of still from the film is the only extra on this disc. Again, a trailer would have been nice but alas it is not to be.

Overall

Harmless sword and sandal fun. Kevin Sorbo is fine as Kull and Tia Carrere is perfect as the evil Queen Akivasha. If watching half naked men bash the living daylights out of each other with huge axes and swords is your thing then this will be a decent addition to your collection. By no means the pinnacle of these types of films (for that I recommend the Conan films starring Ernie and Mario Bravaís Hercules in the Haunted World) but still a decent stab at the genre.






The Film: B- Video: B- Audio: B+ Extras: D- Overall: C+

 


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