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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Kull the Conqueror (1997)



Reviews and Comments


The above is a representative excerpt from the soundtrack of Kull the Conqueror, an epic fantasy film in the tradition of Conan the Barbarian and television's Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The soundtrack is largely metal, especially during the fight scenes, and consisted almost exclusively of somebody hammering on the same flat note on an electric guitar ad nauseum. It's not only bad music, it's a bad idea. Epic fantasy should have a powerful orchestral score or a traditional folk score. Kull's metal just served as a reminder that these were a bunch of people from modern times dressing up and play-acting.

But moving on to more important matters, the story of Kull the Conqueror is moderately fun, yet far overlong. It has some interesting elements. The freezing breath of an ancient immortal is captured for a kiss. Our hero is bewitched by an evil serpent enchantress who can cure and inflict burn wounds at will. Naturally, the kingdom is what's at stake, and the hero must prevent the land from falling into the hands of evil, as it once was in the past -- in a time to which the characters are only allowed to refer with grave expressions and dramatic figures of speech. But there's also some insidiousness that's used to fill the movie's running time that are not only senseless but uninteresting -- including a friend's nonsensical betrayal in circumstances that never should have come about.

With an uneven plot, it's up to the dialogue, the cast, and the atmosphere to pick up the slack. But the dialogue is sadly uninspired. The cast, led by Kevin Sorbo and Tia Carrere, is all right. The atmosphere is nonexistent. Even with lavish medieval sets, the direction is banal and plodding -- fit for television, perhaps, but one expects better from the movies.

So in conclusion, I cannot recommend Kull the Conqueror as good entertainment. However, fantasy movies are so extraordinarily few and far between that I must at least note that the movie is not physically painful to watch. For fantasy buffs, this is often all the acclaim it takes to make a fantasy film worthwhile, given the dearth of good ones.