• Kull The Conqueror (Mill Creek Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: October 19th, 2021.
    Director: John Nicolella
    Cast: Kevin Sorbo, Tia Carrere, Thomas Ian Griffith, Edward Tudor-Pole, Lifefoot, Harvey Fierstein
    Year: 1997
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    Kull The Conqueror – Movie Review:

    Made way back in 1997 when leading man Kevin Sorbo was still kind of entertaining, director John Nicolella’s film, Kull The Conqueror, based on the Robert E. Howard character of the same name, started life as what was intended to be a third Conan movie. Schwarzenegger didn’t want to do it and Sorbo didn’t want to play a character that Schwarzenegger had made famous, so things were switched around and Sorbo became Kull instead of Conan, despite the fact that the movie is kinda-sorta based on Howard’s book The Hour Of The Dragon, which is about Conan, no Kull. Got it?

    When the movie begins, Kull is in the midst of a fierce battle, hoping that his demonstrated abilities will allow him to join the Dragon Legion. Since he's not of noble blood, however, he's told by General Taligaro (Thomas Ian Griffith) that this is not to be. When Taligaro learns that King Borna (Sven-Ole Thorsen) has gone insane and killed off a bunch of his court, he and Kull ride to Borna's domain of Valusia where Kull winds up killing Borna, who declares Kull to be his successor before he passes, much to the dismay of pretty much everyone around him.

    When Kull then meets the members of his harem, he recognizes Zareta (Karina Lombard) as a fortune teller who he once interacted with and who had declared he would one day be king. Kull wants to get it on with her but she reminds him that she's a slave and that kind of turns him off. That said, he takes this as inspiration and the next morning decides that the slaves deserve their freedom, but local laws put a thorn in the side of this plan. Meanwhile, Taligaro and his dastardly cronies coerce with a necromancer named Enaros (played by Edward fucking Tudor-Pole, better known to those hip to what's cool as Tenpole Tudor) who decides to side with them and resurrect a sorceress queen named Akivasha (Tia Carrere) from the dead to aid in their quest to get Kull out of power and put someone more to their liking on the throne.

    A shocking reminder about the perils nineties-era CGI effects, Kull The Conqueror is a mildly entertaining sword and sorcery film complete with a farting, urinating camel and a lot of bad acting. There’s some nice set design work on display and some decent costuming work as well, but it’s impossible to take any of this seriously. And that’ll be okay for those of us who don’t necessarily need to take a sword and sorcery movie seriously, because there’s definitely plenty of entertainment value on hand here, even if the script lacks anything close to deep characters. Kull The Conqueror is a movie about an oily muscleman fighting bad guys and wooing women, and on that level, it provides pretty much exactly what you’d expect it to within the confines of its PG-13 rating.

    Sorbo, best known for Hercules The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess before going on to a lot of direct to video movies, looks the part. He doesn’t have a lot of range but the material doesn’t really need him to. He’s fine here. Tia Carrere overacts a lot but she looks good doing it and is actually pretty amusing. Thomas Ian Griffith plays his role straight and is kind of boring because of it but Edward fucking Tudor-Pole is pretty rad as the evil necromancer type, skulking about through much of the film looking amusingly sinister and playing the part to the hilt. The movie could have used more of him, but then, you can say that about most movies.

    Director John Nicolella mostly worked in television but he did direct one other movie, that being 1992’s Sunset Heat starring Dennis Hopper, Michael Paré, Adam Ant and Little Richard as well as Don Johnson’s ‘Heartbeat’ music video. He passed away shortly after this movie was made, much like Sorbo’s movie career, at the all too young age of fifty-two.

    Kull The Conqueror – Blu-ray Review:

    Kull The Conqueror arrives on a 25GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen with the feature taking up 24.2GBs of space. Very likely taken from an older, existing master provided by Universal, the transfer is okay but not mind-blowing. Detail is good but not on par with what a new scan could offer these days, even if it clearly bests a standard definition offering. Colors look good and black levels are fine. Compression isn’t a problem. Again it all looks okay, just not reference quality.

    The English language 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track sounds pretty solid. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. The sound mix is a good one, with plenty of aggressive and very active surround channel usage. Levels are balanced well, dialogue is clean and clear and both the sound effects and the score have really good range to them.

    A lot of Mill Creek releases are bare bones but this one does at least include a trailer as well as the menus and chapter selection options you’d expect to see. It is worth pointing out the neat retro VHS style packaging though, which is a nice touch.

    Kull The Conqueror – The Final Word:

    Kull The Conqueror is seriously goofy stuff but if you’re in the mood for mindless entertainment and just want some dumb escapism, you could do a lot worse. Mill Creek’s Blu-ray looks okay and sounds quite good, and the novelty VHS style packaging counts for something. Essential? Probably not, but fun.

    Click on the images below for full sized Kull The Conqueror Blu-ray screen caps!