Kull the Conqueror

USA - 1997

Movie Review By Andrea Chase

I've never seen the series, "Hercules," but I follow the trades so I know that it's the biggest thing in syndication anywhere. Bigger even than Star Trek. This means, of course, that it's not too muscle-bound star, Kevin Sorbo, has a built-in audience for pretty much anything he'd like to do. Kev seems like a nice kid, and he certainly has some smarts, because for his leap to the big screen, he didn't pick Hamlet. Quite sensibly, he chose a prime piece of pulp fiction, "Kull The Conqueror," a character created by that master of the genre, Robert E. Howard.

Sorbo's Kull, is a right kinda guy - nice pecs and dreamy blue eyes. He also has a keen sense of right and wrong. But more, he actually thinks right is the better idea. This quirk gets the ex-galley slave crowned lord and master of his very own kingdom. It might seem like a piece of cake, but the baggage that comes with royalty includes unhappy disinherited heirs, eunuch-driven court protocol, not to mention the very extensive, potentially lethal harem. All this happens ten minutes into the flick, so you just know things are going to go downhill. Sure enough they do. He ticks off the nobility by freeing the slaves, then proclaiming religious freedom. Next thing you know, some wise-guy's resuscitated a 3000 year old witch who promptly metamorphosizes from a Sunsweet prune into an inventively evil Tia Carrere, who wears a really, really bad red wig.

What happens next is all pretty complicated, and o so very solemn until Harvey Fierstein pops up to add a little camp, but the sets are high kitsch, the costumes are shiny and just a scooch scandalous, and the pace is appropriately fast and furious as befits the expertly purple-prose that inspired it. And I'm pleased to report that no one embarrasses him or herself, except maybe one ill-mannered camel and that red wig I just mentioned. Also, considering the amount of sword and sorcery going on, the violence is surprisingly lightweight.

Now, when they make the sequel to Kull the Conqueror, and you just know that they will, here's my suggestion, inject a little more humor and shell out a few extra bucks for the deluxe red wig.

© 1997 Andrea Chase Air Date: 8/27/97

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