Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BAD MOVIE REVIEW: Tales of an Ancient Empire (2012)

(Don't get too excited)

SIXTEEN. 16 is the number of minutes it takes to get through the opening credits/monologue/title screen. 16 is also the number of minutes it takes to get through the end credits. 16 times 2 is 32. This movie is 89 minutes long. 89 minus 32 is 57. This movie is 57 minutes long.

And about 15 of it contain Kevin Sorbo.

Let's start with the cover. It is my understanding that Albert Pyun, the director of this movie, had a different cover in mind but Lionsgate fought him and they ended up with the DVD cover above. There should at least be one half naked vampire on there. Minimum. And that brute behind Kevin Sorbo is in this movie for one scene. One that I can recall anyway. But he makes the cover and Michael Pare is just stuck hoping to get some kind of career back.

That's a little better.

And speaking of Pare, you ever see Streets of Fire? It's only one of the most 80s-tastic movies ever made. And one of Walter Hill's finest. And Michael Pare is the lead. He was awesome in that movie. But after Streets of Fire his career just crashed. He's been nowhere and in nothing of importance. And his acting has suffered severely. I'll admit, I haven't seen many of his movies so comparing his acting in ToaAE to SoF is about all I got going for me....but man, he just doesn't care any more. I've never really noticed "wooden" acting before but I've read some reviews that mention Pare's wooden acting in not only this movie but several other ones so I paid a little closer attention to it and WOW. Stiff as a board, he is.

Gives me hope that one day, I, can make a career as a 2x4.

Alright, now to Tales of an Ancient Empire. I hate myself for ever being excited for this thing. I've seen Pyun movies before. They're all hit or miss for me. Like Nemesis...fucking awesome. Nemesis my eyes out. Captain America 1990...fucking awesome. Captain America 1990 the Directors my eyes out. Tales of an Ancient Empire...shoot me now. Here, check out this trailer and tell me you're not excited for this:

  • Sword and Sorcery
  • Long Awaited sequel to The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982!)
  • Naked Vampires
  • Kevin Sorbo
  • Sword Fights
  • Hot Chicks
  • Possible Nudity (which I'll tell you there is actual nudity in this movie)
  • Adventure
It's all bullshit. You know what this movie is? FLASHBACKS. There's so many flashbacks you'll swear they threw you into a ball pit you bounce around so much. 2 months later, 2 years ago, 3 months later, and sometimes they don't even tell you, you fucking figure it out! BAH. That's the whole reason I shut off Nemesis 3, it kept fucking flashing back. I'm all about a good flashback but come on! The flashbacks in this movie take away from the one thing that this movie SHOULD be about:

ADVENTURE! There's none. Maybe 5 minutes worth. We bounce around the backstory SO MUCH that when it comes time to grab your swords and hunt down some vampires....well, they just grab their swords and go into the final fight. There's no adventures, no perils, they just show up and start killing everyone. And it's not even any fun.

The only thing that makes this movie worth watching is Kevin Sorbo. I love that man. He pretty much brings his Hercules character to this role...and thank god. I don't think I could stand anymore terrible acting from everyone else. They all try to play it as straight as possible. And not a straight in a good/bad way, it's a flat straight. Boring. But Sorbo, he plays a good ass grabby/drunk guy.

It's movies like this that detour me from watching Albert Pyun movies. He has a long list of movies and they all look awesome but every time I try to watch one they just aren't that great. He takes forever to convey his messages. He'll hold a scene for 5 minutes too long. He'll pad out his running time with credits...then more credits...then tell more story than is necessary. Why not just go back to the drawing board, write in more FUN things, and then tell a story. Don't flashback. Give a brief background of what's going on and then let's figure out this thing together through ADVENTURE and ACTION. This is sword and sorcery, we want less story and more swords. And Sorcery.


  1. The cast for this movie was a huge lie too, it claimed at first that Christopher Lambert and Val Kilmer were in this! haha, if only!

    So was Lee Horsley in this? I heard that he had a cameo, and that he's fat now or something

    Captain America the Director's cut? I've never heard of that. Why's it so bad? (And Nemesis 3, I need an exceptionally bad film to review for my blog, I must try and hunt that one ddown and watch!)

  2. Looking at the google pics for Lee Horsley...yes I'd say he was in this. He is fat too. I think he's the father of one of the chicks. He's got like 2 lines and just disappears.

    CA: The Directors Cut is something that Pyun did himself. He built it from a workprint he received after filming was complete as a way to push him away from the project. I bought it cuz I thought it'd be awesome but it's just a recut of the film that just adds clips of other parts of the movie to convey some kind of drama to a certain character. It's laughable at best. But the worst part of it is just the film quality. The bluray is sub-VHS levels of picture quality, the commentary track is pretty bland and uninteresting, and the sound...It's there I guess.

    You can buy it through his website here:

    Nemesis 3 is tough. It has some new footage but the lead from Part 2 is back and every fucking 2 minutes she has a flashback to Part 2 and there's this horrible "hammer hitting anvil" sound crashing while she flashes back. I couldn't handle it. The flashbacks are one thing but the BAM BAM BAM every time just put it over the top.

  3. Horsley had a cameo while Pare's kids were recruiting him. Pyun said Lion's Gate took the film from him and made edits to the beginning and end that give you roughly what you didn't enjoy here. He posted on my Facebook page that the European distributor wants his original cut, and wants to screen it at Cannes, so we'll see if it helps. Cross your fingers.

  4. I'd give this movie another try with a different cut.