Tales Of An Ancient
Picture: B- Sound:
B- Extras: B Film: C+
Way back in 1982 Albert Pyun released The Sword and the Sorcerer,
a campy, action-packed sword and sorcery tale that managed to check off all of
the required “boxes” for a fun fantasy romp.
Swashbuckling and swordplay? Check. Weird magic?
Check. Beautiful, scantily clad
(or naked) women? Check. Bad wigs?
Check. The end credits of Sorcerer
promised a sequel, but that movie never materialized. Until now.
Almost thirty years later, Tales of an Ancient Empire
has been made! Featuring the bastard
children of the previous film’s main hero, Talon (Lee Horsley), Empire
tells the tale of the fantasy kingdom of Abelar’s struggle against a
reanimated Vampire Queen Xia (Whitney Able).
Looking amazing in her diaphanous costumes, and with a strangely
modulated voice, Ms. Able chews the scenery with reckless abandon. She and her vampire minions threaten all of
Abelar, forcing Queen Ma’at (Jennifer
Siebel Newsom) to send a call for help to Talon’s scions.
Among them we find Aedan (Kevin Sorbo) languishing in a
dive bar, over indulging in drink and living the life of a renowned thief and
rogue. It seems the lusty Talon stayed
quite busy, as once Mr. Sorbo’s services have been secured, the group of heroes
slowly grows to include three daughters, and even a granddaughter. This small group of somewhat reluctant heroes
moves to confront the threat of Xia and her servants. Along the way we’re treated to plenty of
Empire tries very hard to follow the happy-go-lucky spirit of its
predecessor, and it manages to succeed at this on some level, but it lacks the
innocence and pure fun of Sorcerer. Director Pyun and script writer Cynthia
Curnan sometimes try too hard with the dialogue, as in case where Aedan (Mr.
Sorbo) suggests an assignation with his half-sister, pointing out that it would
not be so bad as she is only his half-sister. A moment where they were trying to convey
Aedan’s roguish qualities turned weird on one piece of dialogue.
Extras include interviews with cast and crew, and a
trailer gallery. These do provide some
insight into this film’s long journey from glimmer in the director’s eye to
finished product. It seems from the
interviews that the cast genuinely had a good time making it, and fans of the
genre should have a good time watching it.
Because it is sprinkled with some cringe-worthy moments, I would
strongly urge director Pyun to submit this film to the fine folks at Rifftrax
for some good-natured lampooning.
Still, fans awaiting this sequel, or even folks just
interested in a sword and sorcery romp, will find quality moments and an
overall entertaining film in Empire.
- Scott Pyle