Saturday, September 21, 2013

TOP TEN THINGS YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE IN A KULL FILM


1. Kevin Sorbo. This guy was wrong as Hercules and he's equally wrong as Kull. The part requires an actor of much larger physical stature who is able to play a dark and brooding character. The Rock maybe? And whatever happened to Kull's earned-in-battle facial scar?

2. Electric guitars and a rock and roll band scoring the opening fight sequence.I don't know who Joel Goldsmith is, maybe Jerry's little brother or son. But this man had no business to score this film the way he did.

3. Bloodless fight sequences. There are several fights in the film in which characters swing broadswords and battle axes at each other with never a drop of blood spilled. I don't want to come across as bloodthirsty, but I do want to see blood and gore in my sword-and-sorcery movies.

4. A PG-13 rating. In addition to more extreme violence, the s&s genre requires some nudity (male and female) and sex. An antiseptic, cleaned up KULL just doesn't make the cut.

5. A simpering, mincing, effeminate royal eunuch.

6. Harvey Fierstein. As a gay pirate captain no less.

7. Special effects that look like they belong in a made-for-television movie on SyFy. KULL THE CONQUEROR, filmed in Slovakia, has a cramped visual style and offers no big money shots, no epic battle scenes, no sweeping shots of magnificent ancient cities. The royal throne room looks under-designed and Kull's tiger banner looks like it was painted by a high-school cheer squad. A visionary director, a much bigger budget, state of the art CGI and a faithfulness to the source material could give us a KULL film on the level of LORD OF THE RINGS. Don't hold your breath.

8. One liners.

9. Royal crowns that look like hotel room wastebaskets.

10. A villain with a mullet.

KULL THE CONQUEROR (1997), which I suffered through this afternoon, displays a complete and total disregard of the Robert E. Howard source material. Howard wrote several very good Kull stories but this mess isn't based on any of them. Shame on you "technical advisor" L. Sprague De Camp, screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue and rookie director John Nicolella.
The works of Robert E. Howard have not done well on the silver screen. There have been three CONAN films (two of which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger), one RED SONJA film, a never-released-in-the-states SOLOMON KANE film and the abomination that is KULL, and none of them have, in my opinion, done justice to the imagination and storytelling powers of REH. In fact, the best cinematic depictions of Robert E. Howard style material that I can think of are the opening battle scene in Ridley Scott's GLADIATOR (2000) and the entirety of Mel Gibson's BRAVEHEART (1995). 

Robert E. Howard himself was fairly and accurately portrayed by Vincent D'Onofrio in the marvelous independent film THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD (1996), with Renee Zellweger as Novalyne Price, the only woman (outside of his mother) that Howard had any kind of a relationship with in his short and tragic life.

You want a good Kull story? Go to the original source material. It's never been beaten. Heck, there are many issues of Marvel Comics' KULL that are far better than this film.

 By Valka it stinks!


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