Kull the Conqueror (1997)

kulltheconqueror_1Starring Kevin Sorbo, Tia Carrere, Thomas Ian Griffith, Litefoot, Roy Brocksmith, Harvey Fierstein, Karina Lombard, Edward Tudor-Pole, Douglas Henshall, Joe Shaw, Sven-Ole Thorsen

Directed by John Nicolella

Expectations: Pretty low.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


I may be one of the few to ever say this, but I loved Kull the Conqueror. Perhaps thanks in part to my incredibly muted expectations, I found Kull the Conqueror to be relentlessly fun. Around every corner was something to excite and entertain, both in ways expected and unexpected. I can’t go so far as to call it a good movie, though, it’s definitely in the B-Movie camp and those inclined to scoff at these kinds of films will definitely scoff throughout Kull the Conqueror. But the movie is clearly designed to be a load of fun instead of being something hyper realistic, so when taken as such it gets the job done exceptionally well.

Our story begins in a dimly lit camp where Kull (Kevin Sorbo) is battling some dudes. We’re led to believe he’s fighting for his life, but this quickly proves to be untrue. In fact, Kull is getting jumped into the King’s elite guard, but after facing the King’s general in one-on-one sword combat, Kull is refused entry because he is not of noble birth. Meanwhile, the king is going crazy and slaughtering his children, so everyone heads over there and through some unexpected turns of fate, Kull ends up with the king’s crown and title. Say what?

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Quick Takes: Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Red Riding Hood, Safe Men

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)

Starring Phil Caracas, Murielle Varhelyi, Maria Moulton, Tim Devries, Ian Driscoll, Josh Grace, Tracy Lance, Glen Jones, Mike Funk
Directed by Lee Demarbre

This one’s not even close to being a B-Movie, it’s more like a D-Movie, but it does have its moments. Jesus on a moped, God speaking to his only begotten son through a bowl of ice cream and cherries, the arrival of Santo in a small aeroplane, etc. Santo gained some weight though, which might explain why he’s not driving that sporty convertible around any longer. There’s a lot of “kung fu” fight scenes and over every one, there’s an inane techno track that ruins any goodwill the scene itself might have had prior. Not that the fights are good. While watching I couldn’t imagine that these filmmakers would ever do anything else, so I was very surprised to learn that I had actually seen another of this dude’s movies, the 2009 horror movie Smash Cut. I liked that one pretty well, so I guess if your first feature looks like it was made by a no-talent hack, you can still grow into a passable filmmaker. Who knew?

Red Riding Hood (2011)
(No Stars)

Starring Amanda Seyfried, Virginia Madsen, Billy Burke, Julie Christie, Shiloh Fernandez, Gary Oldman, Max Irons, Michael Shanks, Christine Willes, Michael Hogan, Lukas Haas
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke

This movie is fucking awful in every imaginable way. No redeeming value whatsoever. Literally the equivalent of gouging out your own eyes, Red Riding Hood should be a shoe-in for every category of the 2011 Razzies.

Safe Men (1998)

Starring Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, Michael Lerner, Paul Giamatti, Michael Schmidt, Christina Kirk, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Pais, Harvey Fierstein
Directed by John Hamburg

Safe Men is a fair enough movie, but it could have been so much more. It’s basically a bunch of crime film clichés strung together in a wholly unbelievable way, which I’m OK with, but instead of providing lots of laughs and making itself stand out from the crowd, it flounders in mediocrity. At times it is amusing, with great supporting performances from Michael Lerner and Paul Giamatti, but mostly it is ho-hum. The music, while good, is often used poorly, sounding like they used what they could get instead of what worked with the scene. The Bar Mitzvah scene and the followup party are the film at its funniest, but because it’s so middle-of-the-road up to those points, many viewers may not make it that far.

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