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"KULL THE CONQUEROR"
(1997) (Kevin Sorbo, Tia Carrere) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Moderate Moderate *Moderate *Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor Minor Mild None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate None None Minor *Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: An overthrown king attempts to regain his throne from the evil temptress that robbed him of it.
PLOT:
Kull (KEVIN SORBO) is a medieval warrior who wishes to join the ranks of the elite guard of King Borna of Valusia, but his lack of royal blood and a loss to Taligaro (THOMAS IAN GRIFFITH), the king's military commander, in a combat test prevents that from happening. When the King goes crazy, however and is mortally wounded by Kull who's defending himself, the dying King appoints Kull as the new monarch. This naturally upsets Taligaro and others, and they entrust a wizard to resurrect Akivasha (TIA CARRERE), a 3000-year-old evil, magical temptress to marry Kull and kill him. A kiss of death on their wedding night only knocks him out, but the rest of the kingdom thinks he's dead and blames that on his private seer, Zareta (KARINA LOMBARD). Meanwhile, Akisvasha wants Kull to join her in ultimate, never-ending power, but he refuses and escapes. As her power increases, Kull has only one option to stop her, and that is to find the breath of Valka, an icy blast that will put out her evil fire. As Kull embarks on his quest with the aide of Zareta and her priest brother Ascalante (LITEFOOT), they must fight off attacks from Taligaro and race back to Valusia to stop the evil temptress.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of the TV shows "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and "Xena: Warrior Princess," they'll probably want to see this one.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For fantasy action violence and sensuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KEVIN SORBO plays the warrior/king who, despite fighting and killing many people, is a compassionate ruler who frees the kingdom's slaves.
  • TIA CARRERE plays an evil sorceress who robs Kull's throne from him and plans to rule the kingdom herself.
  • THOMAS IAN GRIFFITH plays the original King's military commander who's upset that Kull was appointed as the new king over him. Consequently, he attempts to overthrow and kill Kull for the rest of the film.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 4.5 out of 10
    As a kid I grew up on those magnificent sword and sorcery quest movies of yesteryear such as "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad" and "Jason and the Argonauts." Not only did I marvel at Ray Harryhausen's unbelievable stop motion animation, but I was also entranced by the mystical qualities of the film and the wonderful sense of adventure, travel, and many perils that had to be overcome along the way. Today's kids get a sense of that in the TV shows "Hercules" and "Xena," and this film adds a big screen cousin to this recent family, but I doubt kids are as mesmerized as my generation was. Not that there's a lack of "fun" and weird stuff to behold in this film, but it just doesn't seem the same. Perhaps in today's world where images are beamed around the Earth in seconds and the farthest reaches of the world no longer seem remote, such films can't capture young imaginations as they did in our more "primitive" communications era. Or perhaps as an adult it just seems that way. Whatever it is, that sense of adventurous travel is what seems to be missing from "Kull The Conqueror." Based on the Robert E. Howard stories of the thirties that were then adapted into the Marvel Comics comic book several decades later, this film has much of the same feel that "Conan the Barbarian" did, albeit on a toned down scale ("Conan" was a movie based on another Howard story starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and was produced by the same De Laurentis team). As violent as its earlier cinematic relative, but nowhere near as graphically bloody, the film has enough requisite battle scenes to keep fans of the genre happy, but it's doubtful the film will have any crossover appeal to the mainstream audience. If kids are really into this film, you may be able to interest them in a feature from last year, "The Whole Wide World" that told that story of Robert E. Howard. Although there's no sword and sorcery, some may be interested in seeing the man behind the true "pulp fiction." In "Kull" all of the cast members deliver competent, but certainly not great performances, with Sorbo easily filling the bill of the muscled warrior, but of course he's had a lot of practice doing the same in his TV show, "Hercules." The plot harkens back to those earlier mentioned quest films, but it's nowhere near as imaginative or structurally strong. There's certainly nothing terribly wrong with the story, character motivations, or anything else of that sort, and for the most part all of it's passable and will keep many kids' attention for the hour and a half run time. One only wishes a little more imagination would have been poured into the production -- something magical, a sense of wondrous adventure, a "wow" factor. But in today's computer enhanced features where dinosaurs look as real as the actors and the sky's the limit for what can be seen, writers and directors seem to have forgotten the "ancient" art of telling fun, mesmerizing stories. While many kids may look at the films I fondly remember as goofy old flicks with cheap looking effects, and may think "Kull" is the end all and be all of adventure movies, they don't know what they're missing. I do, and while "Kull" is an okay film (despite the inclusion of a contemporary, heavy metal soundtrack), it could've been a great deal better. We give it a 4.5 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Violence receives an extreme rating in this film due to the many fight scenes where people are wounded and/or killed. While most of that is relatively non-graphic, the amount of it warrants that rating. There are two mild sexual encounters that don't show nudity, but may be a bit steamy for the younger kids, and do include some moaning sounds. For those concerned with occult/demonic issues, there are a few here including a tarot card reading woman and an evil temptress who eventually turns into/releases a demon/devil like creature. Those scenes may also frighten very young kids if they're allowed to see this film. Profanity is extremely limited, but does include one use of the "s" word. Since some kids will want to see this film, we suggest that you examine the content before allowing them to do so.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Zareta mentions that Kull was drunk in the past.
  • Several people raise a toast (of some sort of alcohol) at Kull's wedding.
  • Kull and a black marketeer drink wine and later are seen passing out (but from drugs in the wine, not the alcohol itself).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Some of the people involved in fights (involving swords and punches), including Kull and Taligaro, have a little blood on them, but no great amounts.
  • Kull has many old, whip scars on his back.
  • A wizard has massive scars on his face that cover up where one of his eyes once was.
  • We see a skeleton and a decomposed-looking mummy.
  • A wizard pours a small amulet of blood onto a knife during a ceremony.
  • Zareta accidentally scrapes Kull with her fingernails leaving slightly bloody marks.
  • Though neither bloody nor gory, we do see a camel's urine stream (that gets Kull wet) and hear farting sounds.
  • Akisvasha strikes the wizard leaving a bloody scar on his face.
  • A sea monster is cut open and its stomach contents (fish and a thick liquid) pour onto the ship's deck causing Zareta to vomit over the side.
  • Many dead and frozen men are seen inside a cave. One has their head chopped off by a sword, and another's hand cracks off.
  • Akisvasha's hand suddenly turns into a very bloody, pulpy mess.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some viewers may not like the film's representation of Zareta's fortune telling cards or Akisvasha's representation of evil (which is later seen in a devil-like form).
  • Akisvasha is an ancient evil temptress who marries Kull only to grab his throne and its power.
  • Taligaro and others plot to overthrow and kill Kull and thus have both types of attitude.
  • An old friend of Kull's drugs him to collect reward money from Akisvasha.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Younger kids may find some of the fighting scenes to be tense and suspenseful.
  • Some kids may be frightened by the sight of skeletons, Akisvasha's mummified body, some frozen dead people in a cave, or a monstrous looking apparition that appears on the face of the moon.
  • Kull and Ascalante fight with soldiers as they try to free Zareta from being burned at the stake.
  • Kull finds Akisvasha floating in a huge stream of fire. Her voice takes on a deep, demonic sound and she starts to change into a scary looking (to younger kids) monster. Eventually a demon/devil looking creature is seen outside of her body for a minute or so.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Swords/Battle Axes/Knives: Used to injure or kill many people. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Whore" and "Bitch."
  • Kull and Taligaro duel with flaming swords while blindfolded.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A mummy's eyes suddenly open.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There's a mild amount of suspenseful music (including some medieval-type chanting) here and there during the movie.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 1 "s" word, 1 hell and 1 damn are used as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Several women, including Akisvasha and Zareta, wear cleavage revealing outfits.
  • Several of Zareta's fortune telling cards show drawings of bare-breasted women.
  • Zareta, recalling an earlier encounter with Kull, says that it wasn't her waist that he grabbed while drunk.
  • Zareta believes it's her duty to give herself (sexually) to Kull and asks him several times if she should undress (he says no). She then tells him not to "...confuse compliance for enthusiasm," but tells him that she will do her best "to satisfy" him. Nothing else happens, however, in this scene as Kull tells her he won't "have" a woman against her will.
  • Akivasha stands nude in front of the wizard after being resurrected, but due to the way the scene is shot, nothing's seen.
  • As Kull is introduced to prospective brides, a young woman is said to be "as pure as virgin snow." Kull then comments that he knows her and that she's not as pure as everyone thinks.
  • Kull and Akisvasha have sex on their wedding night. While some female moaning is heard and they roll around on the bed and kiss, no nudity or sexual movement is seen.
  • A black marketeer and old friend of Kull's asks him how many women he'd like for the night. "One? Two? Ten?" When Kull responds that he doesn't want any, his old friend asks if he has "a problem."
  • Kull and Zareta have sex (he's on top of her) with more moaning heard and some slight sexual movement seen (but no nudity).
  • Zareta removes her top and walks toward a large statue (we only see her from behind in a very sheer, nearly see-through skirt), but her bare breasts are briefly seen from a great distance when she falls to the cave floor.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The life of pulp fiction writer Robert E. Howard (featured in 1996's "The Whole Wide World").
  • A character refers to himself as a eunuch, and you may need to tell kids what that is.
  • VIOLENCE
  • There are many sword/battle ax fights where people are injured or killed, but for the most part the wounds/deaths aren't graphically presented. Additionally, many people are punched/hit throughout the film by others.
  • Several of the original King's heirs are seen dead on the floor and the maddened King attacks Taligaro and then Kull who, when defending himself, mortally stabs the King.
  • An attempt is made on Kull's life and he knocks the assailants aside and Taligaro stabs one of them to death.
  • Kull fights with the wizard's helper/creature and both punch and toss the other around the room until Kull wraps a rope around the creature's neck, eventually hanging it.
  • Kull and Ascalante fight with soldiers as they try to free Zareta from being burned at the stake.
  • Zareta is backhanded and then strung up on a rope and repeatedly dunked into the ocean from a ship.
  • A big fight breaks out on board a ship with many people struck with swords or forced overboard.
  • Another big fight breaks out in an ice cave with more people being wounded or killed with swords, along with a frozen man being decapitated.
  • A man stabs Akisvasha in the chest with a knife (that's seen sticking from her chest), but she's not harmed and instead pushes this man from a castle window where he bursts into flames as he falls.
  • A fight scene ends with another dead man and the demonic creature is killed/destroyed.



  • Reviewed August 31, 1997

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