2010 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie #49
The 1982 film The Sword and the Sorcerer ended with the promise of a sequel. 28 years later, it arrived. It's no secret that I am a fan of Albert Pyun's work and I grant him a lot of consideration, however, Tales of an Ancient Empire is a dud. To call it a sequel is a massive stretch. It bares no relation that I can see aside from Lee Horsely reprising his role (presumedly) as Talon for all but 5 minutes of the movie. He is referred to as "The Stranger" and so it's a huge assumption that this is supposed to be Talon. The movie stars Kevin Sorbo and Michael Pare and tells the story of a kingdom overrun by a Vampire queen. The movie begins with a tedious 15 minute opening credit sequence, which sabotages the rest of it. It's a convoluted tale of family lineage and heroics and it's very scattered. The performances are sub-par and inconsistent and the intricacies of who's related to who are not fleshed out enough to make it coherent for the viewer. It's a huge shame because for the most part the film looks great. Pyun's visual style is strong and the production value is good. For an estimated $1M he has produced a polished looking film. If only it had been a fair continuation of The Sword and the Sorcerer as promised, then some of its misgivings could have been forgiven. I am stumped as to why Albert abandoned the established storyline that had become so loved by fans for over twenty years. Surely he owed them more than this and using the same title, which he had boldly promised is a real slap in the face.... and has he done it again? Tales From An Ancient Empire finishes with a familiar promise of yet another sequel, Red Moon. Is it 30 years away? Will it abandon this story? It remains to be seen.