Monday, October 18, 2010

Tales of an Ancient Empire (2010)

In 1982 Albert Pyun released The Sword and the Sorcerer, which could be one of the funniest and most violent fantasy movies of the eighties. Lee Horsley was Talon and was fighting against the evil Cromwell (Richard Lynch). Now, 28 years later the sequel comes, another adventure… and it both teases you and disappoints you at the say time.

A demon sorceress awakens from her deep sleep and creates havoc on a small kingdom. She kills the queen, but the princess escapes and tries to find a couple of warriors that can help her to avenge her mother’s death and take back their country. After some minor adventures she finds her half-brother (Kevin Sorbo), who though he knows they are sibling still has the hots for her. Luckily for him there are more chicks willing to help the princess and together they continue their long and dangerous trip…

In my hand I have the recently released Thai edition of Tales of an Ancient Empire. According to Mr Pyun this is an earlier version of the movie that lacks some footage – and even actors what I’ve heard. This could be the case, because it’s a bit confusing here and there. First, let me be honest. In this version, the first five minutes are terrible. The graphics are awful, I’m not impressed by the processing of the footage, the editing is weird… and it just does not feel completely right.

BUT after those five minutes (it’s almost exactly five minutes), some idiots are entering the tomb of the demon sorceress, treasure-hunting of course, removes the lids and unleashes the demon – and from that scene and forth, the movie looks very good. Now, Pyun has a little bit different approach to this movie. It’s more nude women (some very talented actually) and more focus on dialogue than action. It’s not bad, it’s well made, looks good and has a good rhythm. But of course I would like more action and gore to the sequel. It has blood and some minor gore of course, but not like the first movie.

The budget is low, but it has a comic-style vision that works good in the bigger scenes where they couldn’t afford travelling to exotic places or build big sets. If you accept that, you will find that the movie works very good and gets your attention all the way to the cliffhanger-ending. Even my Gregory, who can be a bit suspicious to movies in this genre, got stuck watching the movie from the beginning to the end. That’s impressive.

It’s not a perfect movie, but has that visual and poetic atmosphere that Pyun can create from nothing. I will buy the finished version too, when it’s released in the US or Europe next year – mostly to compare, but also to see how the movie transformed from the fan-activity that Pyun kept going from the start, to this version until the final version and the sequel Red Moon.

Now Mr Pyun, please make give us that cool director’s cut of Nemesis that you teased us with some years ago…


  1. Excellent Fred, I can't wait to see it myself. Interestingly, would this have been the version that was on the limited edition that we had ordered? I guess it would, since the updated edition includes material not shot as of this writing!

  2. I guess so too, and that new footage that will bless the US edition will make it even better and more complete as a movie!