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Laramie Movie Scope:
Kull, The Conqueror

A popcorn movie with plenty of swords and sorcery

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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August 30, 1997 -- "Kull, The Conqueror" is the third of the main pulp fiction characters created by the 1930s writer Robert E. Howard, brought to the screen. The others are "Conan the Barbarian" and "Red Sonja." The last two characters, of course, were portrayed in films by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This film stars Kevin Sorbo as Kull, a character identical to Conan. Sorbo, of course, stars as Hercules in the popular syndicated television show, so he is right at home in this tongue-in-cheek sword-and-sorcery stuff.

Thankfully, this film is not as dark as Howard's stories were (he committed suicide), but it does have Howard's anti-intellectual view that civilization is corrupt and that society can only be rescued from that corruption by the virtues of the barbarian.

In a very typical Howard plot, Kull, a barbarian, becomes King of a corrupt empire (after the king has killed his own sons to make sure there is no fight over succession), only to be tricked out of his crown by an enchantress. He must go to a faraway island to bring back magic to prevent the kingdom from falling under her evil spell.

The typical no-emotion action hero would go through the film on a single note, but Sorbo is better than that. His performance is surprisingly subtle and well-rounded. He is a much better actor than Schwarzenegger, but that isn't saying much. If he is smart picking his future roles he will have a very successful future in the movies. Tia Carrere ("Wayne's World") is good as the evil Akivasha and Karina Lombard is effective as Zareta, the love interest.

The action sequences and the special effects are adequate and the sound track sounds like a rock and roll music video, but there are some nice humorous touches along the way. It is not a bad film, but it isn't quite a good one either. It rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1997 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)