Internet-review-site-whipping-boy Albert Pyun (Cyborg, Captain America) embarked on his career as a film director whose lack of talent is only exceeded by his stunning ability to continue to find work with this movie. To paraphrase an old Chinese proverb, “the filmography of a thousand horrible films begins with but one starring the charisma-impaired Lee Horsley.”
Certainly that’s a loose translation, but the point is that when your opening salvo on an unsuspecting public is to cast the once and future Matt Houston as a guy mucking about some fake medieval world with a clumsy-looking three pronged sword that somehow fires its blades at people, no good is going to come of allowing you within a country mile of a camera ever again.
Pyun, who is also credited with being one of the writers, manages to completely muddle even the simplest story elements, such as who is related to who and how. In an effort to be fair, I even went back to parts of the movie to make sure he didn’t explain things after I mentally checked out when I got a gander at how ugly everyone’s wig was, but I still had no idea who these people were.
Horsely plays Talon, the son of King Richard who gets killed by the evil Titus Cromwell so that Titus can take over Rich’s kingdom. Talon has several siblings. One older brother is killed. He also had a sister and he may have had a younger brother, but I’m not about go to the instant replay a third time to confirm this.
Talon escapes Titus and years later emerges as a great warrior who runs around the various kingdoms with his buddies. He comes back to his dad’s old kingdom right about the time Prince Mikah and Princess Alana are planning their big rebellion to overthrow Titus.
You would think that these would be Talon’s younger siblings, but this is never brought up. In fact, Talon agrees to rescue Mikah after Titus captures him in exchange for a night of bumping and grinding with Alana! And Talon never bothers to figure out that as the oldest surviving heir, the throne is rightfully his! (You almost get the sense that Talon didn’t ever realize he was back in his home country until he saw Titus up close and had a flashback.)
Most of that could be overlooked if any of the rest of the movie was any good. The problems though run the gamut, from the off-putting claustrophobic and cheap sets, to the decidedly small scale camera work (there’s a “quickie TV movie, but with some boobies” vibe to it), to the abysmally staged battle scenes, to the annoying attempts of the musical store to sound epic and heroic but only managing to come off as low-grade parody.
You’re also going to feel cheated if you come into this thinking that just because the sorcerer is half the title, that he’s going to be half the movie. There’s actually almost no sorcerer action in this movie.
Titus uses a witch to resurrect the sorcerer at the beginning of the film to aid him in defeating King Richard’s armies. Titus then stabs the sorcerer and throws him off a cliff. The extent of the sorcerer’s remaining activities for most of the movie consist of him assuming a human disguise.
I never get why these super powerful creatures craving revenge on the mere mortals who hosed them earlier always seem to spend their time concocting elaborate revenge schemes instead of just using their powers to kill the guy. What was the sorcerer doing pretending to be Titus’ military adviser when he could make his fingers glow and pull someone’s heart from their chest without even touching them?
Speaking of pointlessly complicating your life for the sake of dragging the movie out, what was the reason again for Titus forcing Princess Alana to marry him? He was already in control of the kingdom and reviled by all its inhabitants, so it wasn’t going to legitimize his rule.
I suppose it could have been a ruse to lure all his fellow kings to the wedding so that he could eliminate them all at once (that was the plan he tried to carry out), but if that’s the case, why not just marry someone you want to and invite these people to that wedding? Why marry the gal who just kneed you in the balls in the previous scene? (Unless, there were some kind of subtleties to Titus’ sex life that thankfully went over my head.)
Even though Talon takes on both Titus and the sorcerer in a pair of battles at the end (his only beef with the sorcerer was that both he and the sorcerer wanted to kill Titus), this movie can’t get to the end credits soon enough.
Between Talon’s lame three pronged sword, the awful effects employed when the sorcerer gets rid of his human identity (I’ll never criticize computer generated effects again!), and the sluggish fight between Titus and Talon complete with colored sparks whenever their swords lazily banged into one another, your finger will be anxiously caressing the stop button on your remote control like it was some kind of home video rosary.
The one good thing about this movie is that it did generate an honest to goodness scare at the very end of things. Talon had defeated the bad guys, there were some forced cheers for him and then the screen went black and the following spooky words appeared on the screen: “Watch for Talon’s new adventure Tales of the Ancient Empire coming soon.” For 22 long years, the prospect of such a project hung over our heads like a clunky three pronged sword until we were all finally put out of our misery when Albert uleashed Abelar: Tales of an Ancient Empire in 2010!
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