Kull the Conqueror movie full length review - Enjoyable Fantasy Flick
On the scale of sword and sorcery flicks, this ranks below 'Conan The Barbarian', above the dreary 'Red Sonja', about on par with 'Conan The Destroyer'; which is to say that it's an energetic fantasy film that doesn't take itself seriously and can be a lot of fun if you let it be.
Kull of Atlantis seeks to join the army of Velusia, but instead, through an unexpected turn of events, he finds himself proclaimed king of the empire instead. Holding onto his new throne will be much harder than taking it, as the blood heirs to the empire make a deal with a wizard to revive a 3000 year-old demon who seeks to kill King Kull and claim the empire for herself.
'Kull the Conqueror' originally started out as 'Conan the Conqueror', but after Arnold refused to reprise the role, the script was changed to accommodate Howard's other barbarian hero, Kull. As such, much of the story is actually taken from the Conan stories ('The Hour of the Dragon' in particular). Interestingly, the first Conan movie took most of it's story material from the Kull tales. A little bit of irony for you.
As for the film itself, it does enough things right to entertain; Sorbo fits Kull role perfectly (actually truer to the source character than Arnold ever was), Griffith is an effectively grim villain and Tia Carrere hams it up nicely as the evil Akiavasia. The locations and sets have a wonderfully fantasy feel to them and the assorted fight scenes are well choreographed and fast paced. Given their age, the FX and make are good without ever looking terribly real. One thing I found very enjoyable in the film was the liberal dose of humor; not lame one-liners or goofy antics, but some solid humor that compliments the scenes rather than ruining them.
The biggest problem the movie has is the damn PG-13 rating; it keeps the movie from really delving into adult fantasy the way you want it too. Both 'Red Sonja' and 'Conan the Destroyer' suffered the same problem. Another issue is the generic butt-rock music that accompanies the fight scenes; the music for the rest of the film is epic and fits the period nature of the film, but the lame guitar riffs that get churned out during every fight is just annoying. Also, many of the supporting actors just aren't any damn good at acting and tend to injure many of the scenes. Lastly, the script is a little lean for an epic adventure film, clocking in at just 90 minutes, almost no time is spent getting to know the characters any better than is necessary to drive the plot.
All told, this is a fun, fast, fantasy film meant to be enjoyed rather than analyzed. It makes a decent entry in the Howard film canon (the best way to watch it is part 4 of a Howard marathon; Conan 1 & 2, Red Sonja, Kull). The film made no money in theaters, which is too bad, as we aren't likely to see any more of these any time soon.
Energetic, humorous, and full of action (though not without some issues), a solid sword and sorcery flick.