Sometimes, you know a movie is going to bad but you watch it anyways because, dammit, you really want it to be good. Conan The Barbarian was a great action/fantasy movie and when I heard that there was going to be a movie featuring Robert E. Howard’s other barbarian hero, Kull, I was excited. Then I started hearing more details about the movie and my excitement started to dim. Then I saw the trailer, and…well let’s just say that I was going to judge this movie on the B-movie scale, rather than the A-movie scale. When Kull The Conqueror finally came out in theaters, myself and a bunch of friends from work went to see it when our shift was over.
The plot: As a test to join Valusia’s elite soldiers, the Dragon Legion, an Atlantean barbarian named Kull is competing against several other soldiers until the battle is stopped by General Taligaro, the legion’s commander. Taligaro challenges Kull to fight him using swords covered with flames and though Kull sets an early advantage, Taligaro wins the fight. When Taligaro learns that Kull is from Atlantis, he tells Kull that all of his soldiers are of “noble blood”, a remark that angers Kull. Suddenly a messenger arrives, informing Taligaro that the king has gone mad and is killing all of his heirs, causing Taligaro and his men to head to the palace, with Kull following behind. Taligaro arrives at the palace and questions the king about his actions, but the king believes that Taligaro is challenging him and knocks him down. Kull stops the king from killing Taligaro and tries to calm him down but the king begins fighting with Kull and Kull eventually ends up stabbing the king. Taligaro and his cousin, Ducalon, both of whom are in line for succession, fight over the crown but the king, with his last breath, gives Kull the crown, making him the new king. Kull is shown around the palace and eventually is shown his harem, where he sees Zareta, a fortune teller who had actually predicted that Kull would become king in the fashion that he did. Later that night, Kull has Zareta use her cards to show the future of his kingdom, with her telling him that he will go on a quest, and that the fate of his kingdom will be found in a kiss. Kull attempts to sleep with Zareta, but when they argue about her being a slave and just being there because he commanded it, he sends her away. The next day, Kull attempts to free all of the slaves in Valusia, but he finds out that he is unable to due to the ancient laws. As he rides through the palace courtyard, he sees an exiled priest being whipped and orders him released and lets him reopen his temple, with Taligaro saying he is going to fast in trying to change things. After an assassination attempt on Kull failed, Taligaro, Ducalon, and Mandara are summoned to the temple of the sorceress queen, Akivasha, by Enaros, who tells the trio that he will help them kill Kull. Enaros resurrects Akivasha, who uses her powers to seduce Kull and trick him into marrying her. After the wedding ceremony, Kull has Zareta read his future but when he draws the death card, Zareta tries to warn him but Akivasha uses her powers to make Kull ignore her warning. That night, Akivasha poisons Kull and blames Zareta for his death, having her arrested. While everyone believes Kull to be dead, Akivasha actually has him chained in a dungeon and tries to convince him to serve with her, but Kull refuses her and so she orders Enaros’ monsterous bodyguard to kill Kull, but Kull manages to escape. Kull meets up with Ascalante, the priest he helped earlier, who tells Kull the truth about who the queen really is. Kull and Ascalante sneak into the palace in order to save Zareta from being executed and, after fighting with Taligaro and the palace guards, they head down a secret passage and manage to escape from the city. They arrive at the port of Tatheli, where Kull visits an old friend name Juba and convinces him to loan them a boat and crew so the can reach the Isle of Ice, where Ascalante claims they will find the Breath of Valka, which is the only thing that can stop Akivasha. When Akivasha learns where they are going, she sends Taligaro after them and uses her powers to help them. Back on Juba’s boat, Kull, Zareta, and Ascalante are drugged by Juba and taken captive but Kull is able to free himself and, with the other’s help, free Juba’s slaves and take command of the ship, throwing Juba and his men off the ship. Finally reaching the Isle of Ice, Kull, Zareta, and Ascalante go searching for the Breath of Valka, which turns out to be a statue of Valka with a freezing wind coming out of it’s mouth. Realizing that she is the only one that can carry the Breath of Valka, Zareta approaches the statue and asks Valka to allow her to be the carrier. Meanwhile, Taligaro and his men arrive and begin fighting with Kull, Ascalante and their crew. The freezing breath enters Zareta’s body, but Taligaro stabs Ascalante, grabs Zareta, and proceeds to trap Kull in the frozen chamber. Kull grabs an axe from a frozen warrior and uses it to smash the statue of Valka, releasing a flood that frees him from the chamber. Back in Valusia, Akivasha has killed Ducalon when Taligaro arrives telling her that Kull is dead. When an eclipse occurs, Akivasha plans to use it to regain her full power and bring back her ancient kingdom of Acheron but Taligaro pushes Zareta into the flame of Acheron in the hopes that it will be extinguished but it fails. Kull arrives and, after fighting with Taligaro, stabs him then turns his attention to Akivasha, who has assumed her true form by standing in the flame. Zareta asks Kull to kiss her, where she passes the Breath of Valka to him, and Kull then kisses Akivasha, killing her and extinguishing the flame for good. Taligaro grabs Zareta and offers to exchange her life for the crown but Kull uses the axe to kill him. The next day, Kull is announced as king once again and he uses his axe to destroy the ancient tablets of law, before claiming Zareta as his queen and saying the shall make a new kingdom.
Kull The Conqueror was viewed pretty negatively by the critics, holding a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Originally this movie was intended to be a third Conan movie, but Arnold Schwarzenegger did not want to reprise his role and Kevin Sorbo did not want to redo a character that has already been portrayed (which is funny considering how many people played Hercules before him). The movie itself was based on a Conan novel, with parts of another Conan story, as well as a Kull story, mixed in. The movie was a box office bomb, coming in at #9 it’s opening weekend and only earning over $6 million domestically off of a $30 million budget.
Yeh, I was hoping for something like Conan, and I got PG-13 version of Hercules. I am not kidding. Kevin Sorbo acted this role exactly the same as he did Hercules, just with a little more sword/axe fighting. Thomas Ian Griffith (Taligaro) and Karina Lombard (Zareta) were both decent but everyone else was pretty bad, although Harvey Fierstein was his usual funny self. I will say that the story was a pretty good for a fantasy movie. The special effects were pretty bad, considering this was a big budget movie. You can watch it to make fun of it if you want, but you are better off skipping this one.
Rating: 2 out of 5