Well it looks like Robert E. Howard gets to be responsible for almost half of our Sword and Sorcery week. Kull the Conqueror is currently available on Netflix instant play.
PASS: Kull the Conqueror (1997) – Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and sensuality
“Kull (Kevin Sorbo), a barbarian and warrior, becomes the king of Valusia when he kills the old king in battle. But to maintain his royal title, Kull must conquer many enemies, including Taligaro (Thomas Ian Griffith) — the head of Valusia’s royal guard who wants to take over the throne. In hopes of ousting the king, Taligaro summons Akivasha (Tia Carrere), a 3,000-year-old demon whose looks could be deadly if Kull can’t resist her.”
I think the main difference between this film and Red Sonja is that Kull seems to know that it is pure cheese. Originally planned as Conan the Conqueror, it became Kull when Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to participate. Lacking Conan they went with TV’s Hercules, Kevin Sorbo. Kevin Sorbo plays this with the same tongue-in-cheek style he uses in Hercules – in fact he doesn’t so much act as simply change his character’s name.
There is a nicely timed shot where as Kull’s time as a prisoner is mentioned, we see his scarred back for the first time but other than that there aren’t many directorial flourishes. Akivasha steals a line from Darth Vader at one point – “I am altering our bargain. Pray I don’t alter it any further.” which caused me to groan when I originally saw this. Most of the rest of the dialogue is anachronistically modern – just enough to be cheesy but not polished enough to reach the level of the far better film, A Knight’s Tale. They also throw some heavy metal licks in the score.
I have to say that while I hated this film at the theater, I enjoyed the cheesiness on this second go-around. I really can’t recommend it except on that level so I’m rating this a pass.
People Watch: Look for Harvey Fierstein in a small part as Juba