Kevin Sorbo, Tia Carrere, Litefoot, Karina Lombard, Thomas Ian Griffith, Harvey Fierstein,
Joe Shaw, Roy Brocksmith
1997, 95 Minutes, Directed by: John Nicolella
Sword-and-sorcery tale based on the fiction
of Conan the Barbarian creator Robert E. Howard starring Kevin Sorbo, star
of TV's Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. —
While switching off the VCR after watching Kull the Conqueror
my wife (who watched it with me) remarked: "We've done worse." Sure, we have.
However, being in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 kinda mood and
having some liberal quantities of wine and potato chips (with dip!) at hand helped a lot .
You see, while Kull the Conqueror is no better or worse than your average
episode of TV's Xena: Warrior Princess. It is the sort of low-budget sword &
sorcery affair that you'll probably feel more comfortable with watching on the
free late one evening with nothing better to do rather instead of dishing out the price of
The alcohol, of course, remains a prerequisite. With the success of shows such
as Xena and the like, producer Raffaella De Laurentiis (who co-produced several
celluloid sword & sorcery epics in the early 1980s such as Conan
the Destroyer with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Red Sonja) no
doubt thought that the time was ripe to revive the genre again. So she dragged out another
Robert E. Howard (the creator of Conan the Barbarian) property,
in this case a similar longhaired well-torsoed barbarian named Kull, to film. (It was also
a short-lived Marvel comic book series in case you were wondering.)
"Kull comes across more as a knee-jerk liberal than the barbarian
everyone keeps on calling him!"
Realizing that this sort
of thing appeals mostly to kids, she toned down on the usual T&A and violence
prevalent in these epics to ensure the sort of thing that you'd feel is okay for your kids
to watch: bloodless sword fights mixed with enough strategically covered cleavage to
maintain the interest of very young adolescent males.
However, right from the
opening scene of a sword fight between TV's Hercules (Kevin Sorbo) with a Chuck
Norris look-alike to the accompaniment of pounding Metallica-like guitars and drums
you know this is the sort of thing that you kids had better watch without you. Unless you
have lots of that wine and chips nearby . . .
Plot? Oh yeah, something
to do with Wayne's (of Wayne's World) girlfriend (Tia Carrere) returning as an
evil, yet sexy, witch to get rid of Kull (who hails from Atlantis by the way) who has just
been throned king of some mythical kingdom. Some contenders for the throne aid her. Kull
comes across more as a knee-jerk liberal than the barbarian everyone keeps on calling him.
For starters he refuses to makes use of the old king's harem of buxom
beauties and then insists on abolishing slavery.
In one scene I expected him
to shout "but it's a good health care plan - give it a chance" to some of
the gathered crowds. Needless to say this sort of politically correct "New
Age" man type of sentiments quickly alienates the people around him who
seems more in synch with the barbarian times in which they are living . . .