Kull the Conqueror - * 1/2*

Kevin Sorbo of TV’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys is trying to break into the movies. Taking a page from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Hercules to Mega-Moviestar Handbook”, he has taken the title role in a swords and sorcery epic adapted from a Robert E. Howard pulp novel. Not the better known Conan, however, but Kull.

Kull (Kevin Sorbo) is a barbarian warrior from Atlantis who becomes king of the country of Valusia. This angers some of those Valusians with royal blood, who proceed to plot his downfall. With the help of a local warlock, they resurrect the long dead evil queen Akivasha (Tia Carrere) to enchant Kull and be his bride. But she has grander schemes…with Kull out of the way, she can seek to bring back her evil god, and turn Valusia into Hell on Earth.

Kull discovers her plan too late. There is only one way to stop her. He teams with a palace slave, Zareta (Carrina Lombard), and a religous outcast, Ascalante (Litefoot), to seek the Breath of Valka, which holds is the only thing that can prevent Akivasha’s evil plans.

Taking a cue from Hercules, Kevin Sorbo doesn’t play Kull straight and serious. There’s a touch of whimsy here and there and plenty of anachronisms, though not as many as the television show. Do they help? Well, although they don’t add much, they don’t really hurt, and may help to satisfy any of the Hercules fans in the audience.

And any part of the audience that leaves satisfied from Kull would be quite an achievement. The acting throughout is pitiful. Sorbo could be playing Hercules for all you could tell, there’s nothing that makes Kull a unique creation. The only other acting that is even worth an interest are those who blatantly overact for some quick laughs (Carrere and Harvey Fierstein, as an old associate of Kull’s).

The action scenes are more notable for their pounding electric guitar score than their excitement. A couple of the special effects scenes are well done, but not enough by a long shot to carry the film.

Kull the Conqueror is a rather weak freshman outing for Kevin Sorbo. If you’re looking for Conan, don’t bother. If you’re looking for Hercules, stick to the small screen.

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