19.07.96
TV Guide (NZ)

Kevin Sorbo: "Let's face it, my first offer is going to be action-adventure anyway, just from the show I'm doing, so if I want a feature-film career this is not a bad way to go, working with a producer [Raffaella de Laurentiis] who has a great tracking record coming off "Dragonheart", with Sean Connery and Dennis Quaid, and "Daylight", working with Stallone."

3.11.96
New York Sunday Daily News

Kevin Sorbo: "My initial concern with Kull was that he was so much like Hercules. But it's a different feel, different characters. It is a far more savage and barbarian world than the mythological world Hercules comes from. Kull actually was a guy from the wrong side of the tracks who worked his way up to get his crown."

(12).11.96
Total TV

"TTV: What was it like to play Kull the Conqueror?
Kevin Sorbo: You know what? It was great. The obvious thing people are going to look at - critics, fans whatever - is, oh my gosh, he's doing the same type of show. That was certainly a concern of mine from the start. I looked at the script. I narrowed it down from three scripts. One movie dealt with the '90s. One movie dealt in the future. One movie dealt in the past. And that was Kull. Well, let's do another one of these things. The long hair... there's certainly similarities in terms of the time periods but now that I've already shot the movie, there are no similarities whatsoever. The character is completely different from what Hercules is - in terms of his behavior, in terms of his moods, in terms of his physicality. I have jet-black hair. I look different. I took the role because it was the best of the three scripts. It really was. It was the most complete project that was there in front of me. It was a chance to do feature films. It was a chance to work with Raffaella de Laurentiis. It basically was a chance to follow in Arnold Schwarzenegger's footsteps. (laughs) And Kull was Conan's father, so I'm Arnold's dad, I guess.
TTV: Are you afraid of being typecast?
KS: Certainly that was why I was afraid to do [Kull] initially. You know, like I said it's an obvious place for people to go. But once they see the film, they're not going... they'll see there's not similarities. They'll see it's not the same thing."

(04).97
MrShowbiz

"Kevin Sorbo: It's a prequel to Conan the Barbarian. I met Arnold [Schwarzenegger] after I shot it, and we exchanged notes on it, and had fun just talking about how things don't change, what you have to go through. It was a good learning experience. In terms of the time we got to spend on it, you really got the chance to feel like you got the performances right. Some people will point fingers and say, "You're doing the same type of thing as Hercules." But Kull is a completely different character. To me the difference is, you watch Hercules and it's got that "wink-wink" to the audience type of thing. Kull is a world you could actually believe existed at one time, because it did! It deals with a barbaric era that as far as we're aware of in terms of the history and things, was there."

23.06.97
TV Week (Australia)

The blue-eyed charmer assures [that] his upcoming film character, Kull, "is definitely a womanizer, no question."

 

07.97
Interview Renee Witterstaetter
with Kevin Sorbo in Auckland, NZ

Kevin Sorbo: The biggest difference [between Hercules and Kull] would be that. With Kull I think he's more believable as a person. Kull is far more brutal. I think it's a more believable time period. I think people believe that sort of time period did exist. There were those sort of barbarians at one time. There was that sort of lifestyle. So, I think as a character, he has a lot more depth to him from a darker side than what Hercules has.
<...>
KS: Kull is a prequel to Conan. But, we made him much more family friendly. We got a PG-13 on it. It passed. That was what we were going for, that's what we got. Conan came out in 1981 with Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was rated X (NC-17) because of the sex and violence. They had to do everything to get it down to an R rating. Now, I like that movie, but we wanted to make this one -- you know, we wanted to see the Hercules audience come watch it. Hopefully that's what will happen. I'm nervous. They had the screening yesterday, so... the pre-screening. The first test audience went really well, the second one I haven't heard all the numbers yet, but I hear it went well. Now all the music is in, the special effects are in, the sound effects. I'm nervous.
Q: But it's exciting too?
KS: Yeah, yeah, I know... I'm sitting here seven thousand miles away with an ulcer brewing. <...> We realized early on the story was just not going to be what the production team wanted it to be, what the director and even myself wanted it to be. In its present format, I know it's going to make the die-hard people of those comic books and the books of Kull upset because we don't stay true to what Kull probably really is. We made him not as dark. The violence is gone.
Q: The Robert E. Howard's work itself was very dark.
KS: Well, the guy did blow his brains out after he finished Kull. Let's just say he had issues to deal with. He was only in his early 30's or something. He wasn't very old.

08.97
Realms of Fantasy #6

Kevin Sorbo compares Kull and Hercules: "Yes, they're heroes, but they're heroes on totally different sides of the spectrum of what the definition of a hero would entail. Because Kull is a much darker person, he has a lot more skeletons in his closet, so to speak. For me, from an actor's standpoint, it was a kick to play someone like this, because Hercules is kind of a goody two-shoes, let's face it. Yeah, he can get mad and things like this, but [Kull] has got a chip on his shoulder throughout... He's just a nastier guy, and he was more fun to play."

 

"Kull" is the kind of film critics love to hate, and it's easy to do so."

Paul Fischer (11.97 Urban Cinefile, Australia)

 

08.97
Images #4

by Gary Johnson

With pulsating heavy metal guitars grinding during the battle scenes, "Kull the Conqueror" surges forward while buoyed by the infectious grin of Kevin Sorbo. And it's that grin that really makes the difference. While other actors may have only offered a scowl or a leer, Sorbo acts like he's having fun. His powerful muscles are matched by good acting instincts. It's hard to imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger playing Kull. While Arnold can certainly swing a mean axe just like Sorbo, Arnold can only either overpower you physically or upset your expectations by becoming goofy. However, Sorbo thrives on those scenes where he isn't in control, where things have gone wrong and now he has to pick up the pieces. He can play the big action scenes convincingly and then play the quieter comedy scenes with a gentle, self-deprecating style.
<...> Kull is a good, efficient action tale told with plenty of gusto. Nicolella's deft use of comedy keeps the movie from ever becoming ponderous and Kevin Sorbo provides the movie with a strong, charming, charismatic main character. Sorbo may not be in the same acting category as Robert De Niro or even Sylvester Stallone, but he's a strong actor who should have a promising future on the big screen.

08.97
The Atlanta Journal

by Steve Murray

"Kull" ain't art. But its sense of humor, and even its cheesiness, can disarm you. <> Plot is the least important element when you get to sit back and enjoy pure pulp dialogue, such as Sorbo's "My blood is as red as any man's" or "Not long ago, I was just a pirate - today, I'm king." The movie has the smarts to wink at itself, and Sorbo takes his whole macho image with a big grain of salt. When Kull realizes his bride is not only a witch, but 3,000 years old, he moans, "She said she was 19!"
Of course, even the cheeriest intentions can't totally hide the movie's breathless lapses of logic and bargain FX. <> In an era when every special effect seems to be computerized (and some of this movie's effects are computer-generated), there's something refreshingly simple about "Kull." It comes at the right time, a blast of unpretentious silliness that can wash away the taste of some of the summer's more overblow movies.
21.08.97
Chicago Sun-Times

Kevin Sorbo: "Since it's my first big-screen feature, I wanted to play a character somewhat close to Hercules... so audiences would accept it, though Kull is darker - and more human - than Hercules." And he reports that "Kull" co-star Tia Carrere "says her favorite part of the movie (is) the fact that she's finally in a film where her male lead wears less clothes than she does."

24.08.97
Calgary Sun (Canada)

Kevin Sorbo: "... Kull, where I had to take my shirt off more times than I have in the three seasons of Hercules."

 
28.08.97
Jam! Showbiz

by James Wysotski

The film is as much a comedy as it is an action movie. <...> Kull the Conqueror is a clone of Conan the Barbarian. Both heroes have bulging muscles, and each fights better then they act. So why see Kull (Kevin Sorbo) if you already saw Arnie? Because a dagger that turns into a snake is better than a snake turning into an arrow. And because it's still better than Batman and Robin, Speed 2 and Leave it to Beaver.

29.08.97
The Providence Journal-Bulletin

by Michael Janusons

Sorbo plays it with easy charm, though, and you can't help but laugh when Kull is told that his bride is more than 3,000 years old and he replies perplexedly, "She said she was 19." <> Sorbo does cut an impressive figure as Kull, a dashing hero with a sense of humor. And he's not a bad actor. He plays Kull straight, an honorable man who was freed from slavery and now wants freedom for his people. With better material, who knows?

29.08.97
The Cincinnati Post

by Robert Denerstein

Sorbo's bland performance sets the tone for an equally vapid picture, a big-screen adaptation of the work of Robert E. Howard that lacks the Wagnerian grandeur of the Conan pictures. <> This movie's defenders probably will argue that Sorbo is well cast. But it's difficult to become involved with these characters or to be swept away by the movie's low-rent atmospherics.

29.08.97
Scott Renshaw's Screening Room

by Scott Renshaw

Well, Sorbo's got the goods, all right, and he shows them off in the surprisingly high-spirited "Kull the Conqueror". Standard sword-and-sorcery stuff, to be sure, but for a while Kull provides enough satisfying spins to the material to keep you grinning.
Most of all there is Kevin Sorbo, he of the prominent and prominently featured pectoral muscles. Sorbo leaps into the role with enthusiastic good humor, deciding he's going to find the pleasure in playing the hero. It would have been easy to play Kull as camp, to keep winking at the audience to make sure we understood he's really in on the joke. Rather than making fun of the genre, Sorbo opts for finding the fun in the genre. The result is the kind of energetic action which evokes Richard Lester's Musketeer films, with Sorbo providing considerably more than mere pecs appeal.
Kull the Conqueror appears to have so much going for it early on that the final half hour comes as a crashing disappointment. All the energy leaks out of the film, the pacing abruptly drops to a crawl, and the appealing riff on creaky fantasy motifs gives way to creaky fantasy motifs. Every line of dialogue becomes a piece of exposition, explaining everything twice so that even the most obtuse viewer might be able to keep up. Sorbo's efforts deserve better; he gives Kull the charismatic spark a good adventure needs. Now it's time to catch up on the Sorbo oeuvre <work>. Anyone know when the season premiere of "Hercules" might be?

29.08.97
San Francisco Examiner

by G. Allen Johnson

It's one of the better sword and sorcery efforts. <> However, proper regal attire seems to be a bare chest, which Kull wears rather well. In fact, with the combination of "Kull" and the "Hercules" episodes, Sorbo may have the highest percentage of scenes sans shirt of any actor working today.
Sorbo's beefcake obviously won him the role, but he also projects an air of sturdy insouciance and likable charm. His acting is much better than early, Conan-era Schwarzenegger or any-era Van Damme.
With a streamlined plot, Sorbo's competence and Carrere's sultry vamping, only a lack of panache from first-time feature director John Nicolella keeps the film from attaining the level of classic camp. His direction is workmanlike but without style, so the film is nothing more than a breezy, undemanding good time.

29.08.97
New York Times

by Lawrence Van Gelder

With a cast of thousands and an I.Q. of 10, "Kull the Conqueror" has arrived to assault the patience of moviegoers. <> This recycled version of the pulp fiction of Robert E. Howard resounds with clashing steel, chants worthy of the winged monkeys of Oz, thundering hooves in slow-motion, adrenal music, incantations, palace intrigue perhaps plucked from Shakespeare's shredder and dialogue of equal caliber: "Your wife is 3,000 years old." -- "I thought she was 19." <...> Under the direction of John Nicolella Sorbo provides the requisite oiled torso, a hint of humor and the professionalism and good grace to act as if "Kull the Conqueror" mattered.

 
29.08.97
Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee

by Jackie Loohauis

Don't you just love Sword and Sorcery plots like this? Well, no, because, with the exception of "Conan the Barbarian," S&S films are silly and contrived. So is "Kull the Conqueror," but it has something the others don't: Kevin the Loincloth. Yes, fans of the enormously successful H:TLJ will be delighted to watch their hero, Kevin Sorbo, transfer his washboard muscles to the wide screen. Luckily, Sorbo also transfers his charm and humor to this role, which is a mongrel mix of barbarians. It's "Hercules Meets Conan," because "Kull" originally was a darker character than Conan, but here Sorbo is nearly as sunny as he is on TV.
And there is more of a story line than might be expected. But none of this is really important. What is important is the real star of this film, Sorbo's bod. It looks good in lederhosen, it looks good in a wide belt, it looks good in nothing at all.
The Fpecs, uh, FX are good, especially the Witch Queen's make-over from ravishing beauty to drooling demon. And the script is not without wit: "Your bride is 3,000 years old." "She said she was 19." It sounds even funnier when Sorbo says it with his shirt off.

29.08.97
Calgary Sun (Canada)

by Louis B. Hobson

Who cares if it's corny, violent, raunchy and oozing with testosterone, Kull is a howl from start to finish. Kevin Sorbo certainly has the biceps, triceps, abs, pecs and quads to play Kull but he also some real acting muscles that he brings into play. His Kull can wield a joke with as much skill as he does a sword or battle-axe. His eyes twinkle with lust each time he encounters a voluptuous woman. Given the eye-popping costumes, there's a lot of wattage in Sorbo's twinkles. Kull is the real action hero of the summer because his movie truly is a Kull-ossal amount of fun for the whole family.

29.08.97
San Francisco Chronicle

by Peter Stack

Kull is this week's hunk movie, starring television's shirtless Hercules, Kevin Sorbo, whose construction-worker good looks have turned him into the newest stringy-haired small-screen icon in America. On the big screen for the first time, Sorbo as Kull is a dashing, thick-headed warrior in need of a shave who gets messed up by a "bitch demon'' named Akivasha. Kull has a plot that makes no sense and characters whose names tend to get lost in the blur of clanking action, but it's visually engaging. As for intellectual content, well, does the name `Kull' bring to mind a hero with a noggin full of brains? It could just as easily be a TV movie, but it somehow keeps churning along. Sorbo can't act either, but Kull is technically a galumphing step forward, including fiery special effects and an enormous ice cave that gives the film a visual shot of interest just when the plot seems to be drifting toward the snore zone. Some of the plot twists rely on sexual encounters and magic kisses. Sorbo seems to enjoy his work.
29.08.97
Seattle Times

by John Hartl

Sorbo's smirking, throwaway performance suggests that he can't wait to get off this set and back to his series.

29.08.97
The Austin Chronicle

by Marc Savlov

The large-screen debut of Kevin Sorbo is a sort of Conan Lite: twice the dialogue, but only half the fun. <> Sorbo makes for a likable hero; he's less musclebound than Schwarzenegger's Conan was, and his acting skills make Lou Ferrigno look like a pillar of salt. He brings the same sort of "aw, shucks" good humor to this role as he does to his television persona, and as such, Kull is rarely as offensive as it could have been. Apart from Sorbo's good-natured superguy schtick, Kull's only saving grace comes from Fierstein's Juba.

29.08.97
The Detroit News

by Daivd Hunter

Fans of TV's Hercules have been itching to see how the series' wooden and clean-cut star Kevin Sorbo would do in his feature-film launch. Still wooden and clean-cut. Kull doesn't have enough gore, memorable humor or cinematic brawn to capture the fancy of any except Sorbo's most avid followers, but his weakly realized lead character is a major factor undermining the overall production.

29.08.97
Boston Globe
Kull full of dumb fun in Conan tradition

by Jay Carr

''Kull the Conqueror'' isn't quite ''Conan,'' but it's got enough heavy lifting and heavy metal to rate as the bonehead movie of the summer. It's dumb fun, full of huffing and puffing and campy, overripe dialogue that began back in the 1930s when Robert E. Howard sat down at his typewriter in the barren flatlands of Texas and began pounding out names like Valka, Akivasha, and King Borna. ''Conan'' got Schwarzenegger off on the right foot when he said he wanted nothing more than ''to crosh my enemies and hear de lamentations of dare vimmen.'' ''Kull'' has nothing that plummy, but it does offer Kevin Sorbo's Kull a shot at regret for a disastrous marriage to an evil sorceress. When an ally says, ''Your bride is over 3,000 years old,'' Kull replies, ''She told me she was 19.'' Shows you how much he knows. Sorbo has the physique to stand around in animal skins and throw himself into the sword 'n' sorcery stuff. He projects good-naturedness - no small thing in this kind of movie, where appearing to be a good sport can carry a muscle-bound primitive past the sheer silliness of the adolescent power-fantasy plot. Some of Kull's rough edges have been smoothed away in this film, which, for all its rudimentary substance, has been shrewdly and efficiently assembled to appeal to Sorbo's TV audience. It's one level more aware than the big, dumb sand-and-sandal epics of the '50s, even though that's what it most resembles. What makes it more contemporary is an ease of manner in Sorbo's Kull that would have been stifled by solemnity a generation ago. The script is laughable, sometimes intentionally. Sorbo's strength is his ability to bring a sunny ease to the dungeons-and-dragons stuff and not fall on his face when he's forced to act as delivery boy for the decision to infuse the film with a contemporary feel, including four-letter words and a rock score. The film isn't quite the big cannonball it should have been. It's too busy being functional to give itself over obsessionally enough to Howard's whackathon. But it's more user-friendly than one would have supposed. It keeps moving, doesn't pretend to a stature it can't bring off, and makes its Slovakian locales count for a lot. If he isn't quite yet breathing down Schwarzenegger's neck, neither will Sorbo do his career any harm here.
''Kull the Conqueror'' stays at the level of problem-solving rather than conviction. Crowd-pleasing if not rousing, it's Kulture with a Kapital K.

29.08.97
Montreal Gazette (Canada)

This looks funny and exciting in the preview trailers, but as a film, it is no rival for the small screen Hercules. Kull presents a faulty script that doesn't know what audience to aim for. It's an A-quality film technically, with a B-movie script that undermines any attempts at serious acting.

29.08.97
Los Angeles Daily News

Sorbo is bare-chested during so much of "Kull" that it begins to seem like a running joke. <> The fight scenes are well-choreographed, and Sorbo is a likable action hero whose wiseguyness never seems smug.

31.08.97
The Denver Post

by Kevin Thomas

"Kull the Conqueror" is a deliciously silly, ancient times fantasy-adventure that works because its makers know exactly what they're doing and how to do it. Tone is key in any picture but absolutely crucial when reviving an old genre. Director John Nicolella and writer Charles Edward Pogue never condescend to their material or their audience but instead approach their tale with affection and just enough saving tongue-in-cheekery to make it work as an amusing contemporary entertainment.
As a result, "Kull" is fun and fast-moving, avoiding the pitfalls of kitsch and camp. TV's Hercules, Kevin Sorbo, moves to the big screen with the greatest of ease in the title role. Sorbo displays a welcome dry humor. His supporting cast, which includes Harvey Fierstein as an ebulllient con man, play it straight without taking themselves too seriously. "Kull the Conqueror" has a remarkably light, buoyant touch for its genre. As a Universal production, it is reminiscent of the studio's escapist fare of past eras.

 

09.97
rec.arts.movies.reviews

review by Timothy Voon

One thing "Conan" and "Kull" do have in common is bare flesh and humping. Sorbo performs adequately in both departments, but this really isn't his forte. I believe Sorbo's strength is the subtle comic talent evident in H:TLJ, which should have been utilised to his advantage in this film but is sadly swept under the rug. Everyone is so serious in 'Kull'.

4.09.97
Weekend Movie Guide and Show Times

"Q: Who wins in a street fight, Kull or Herc? -- Kevin Sorbo: That would be a good battle. Hmm. I'm going to go with Kull, because he's a tough guy. Hey, he's a barbarian. This guy grew up in the wild with wolves. I mean, he's an animal. But it would be a good fight. That one I'd like to see."

5.09.97
Tri-City Herald

by Gary Wolcott

Kull works because Sorbo and the rest of the cast don't take their roles too seriously. They deliver their lines with a smile, get into the moderately decent special effects, and produce an enjoyable work. Kull the Conqueror is one of the rare films where I'd like to see a sequel.

8.09.97
Tucson Weekly

by DiGiovanna

Kull is essentially a porno film without the hardcore: hyper-muscular guys, and women in bad Frederick's of Hollywood outfits mouth inane dialogue that they seem to have just memorized, all in the name of getting to the sex scenes. <> Kull is campy in a way that's not overly cute and moves at a swift enough pace to keep adults from falling asleep while junior thrills to the manly fight scenes and makes faces at the yucky parts where Kull kisses girls.

9.09.97
The Cavalier Daily (University of Virginia)
Sorbo rocks, rules as 'Kull the Conqueror'

by Andrew Sugermeyer

One word: Sorbo. The burly star of the TV series H:TLJ, has had ample practice at being uncultured and handy with a sword. While "Kull the Conqueror" is neither as intense as "Conan" nor as humorous and offbeat as "Willow," Sorbo has a commanding presence to rival the stars of both those films. His is Mad Martigan's wit and the Barbarian's viciousness in battle. <...> With so little help in the supporting cast, Sorbo gets a much-needed boost from the fight choreographers. The swordplay is creative and furious. And there are those penetrating looks Sorbo gives every once in a while in the middle of a swordfight, for which his enemies must pause. Remember, this guy used to play the son of a god.
His bigger-than-life persona defeats what could have ruined the film all by itself. The sets are cramped and artificial, but Sorbo's intensity easily cuts through the paper-mache.
"Kull" encompasses so much cheesiness and bad acting that it was surprisingly sad to see it end. Perhaps all films of this type touch a little bit of the barbarian in all of us. Perhaps Sorbo is just that good at gaining an audience's attention. He may be Kull, but Sorbo rules wherever he goes. Hopefully, next time he can find a better film to conquer.

9.09.97
Michigan Daily

by Prashant Tamaskar

Attempting to cash in on the surprising success of the television series "Hercules," "Kull the Conqueror" features many of the same elements that have made the small-screen program popular, including beefcake-of-the-moment Kevin Sorbo. Still, that which makes a good TV show rarely makes a good movie, as "Kull" proves. Despite a valiant effort, the two-hour running time ends up magnifying the weaknesses of the style, while diluting the strengths.
As the main characters, Sorbo and Carrere help make "Kull" watchable. Sorbo, who bares his big, hairy chest throughout the whole movie, brings a buffoonish charm to the lead role. A limited performer, he doesn't really try to act, instead letting his body do the talking. Still, it's obvious that he doesn't take himself very seriously, making him more likable.
<> Kevin Sorbo's body cannot save "Kull the Conqueror" from its many shortcomings - pointless dialogue, weak humor and weak characters.
11.09.97
Oklahoma State University issues

by Brandy Jones

<> Fancy script rolls down the screen while a deep-voiced narrator [Kevin Sorbo] gives the necessary background information.
Surprisingly enough, good acting on the parts of Lombard and Carrere take the man's movie edge off Kull. After all, it is Akivasha who breaks Kull while Zareta ends up saving his muscled tail. This means big, strong women's roles, and Carrere and Lombard really play these well.
However, Sorbo has to be given special credit. Some TV actors just don't have the ability to cut it on the big screen, but he does a great job. His acting makes Kull a multi-dimensional character that you really want to root for. Sorbo's performance is especially impressive considering the pressure he was under. He must have known everyone was going to compare his Kull with Arnold's Conan.
Finally, Kull is a moving film about a man who fights his way to the top, screws it up, and then fights his way back. It was just inspirational. Okay, that's true, but it's not the point. It's a barbarian movie. It's supposed to be fun and full of primal battles, bare-chested men and pretty women. It is.

20.09.97
Creative Loafing (?)
A Time To Kull

by Bert Osborne

"Because of the Conan connection, Arnold had been holding onto the script for a few years, and I got to have a meeting with him that was a lot of fun," Sorbo recalls. "I don't know if it was an age thing or what [Schwarzenegger's decision to hand off the script], but we swapped war stories about working with [producer] Raffaella [de Laurentiis]. He was very nice. It was great." He pauses. "People ask me if I'd like to follow in Arnold's footsteps, and I think that's a really big compliment. We all know he's done pretty darn well for himself," Sorbo says.
Sorbo is sans shirt for much of Kull - and while that may be compatible for the purposes of flexing his muscles, you have to wonder whether he's at all concerned about being perceived less as an actor than as a 6-foot-3, 215-pound body. "I didn't realize just how many scenes there were until I finally saw the film," Sorbo concedes with a laugh. "I wouldn't say I'm your stereotypical, top-of-the-line bodybuilder. The way [Universal] described both of these characters to me, I think they were looking for more of a decathlete than just a shot-putter, so to speak."
Ask him why he'd want his first feature film to be cut from the same cloth as his popular TV show, and Sorbo seems to suggest you've answered your own question. He says, "That's exactly what made sense to me, to make my first big movie something somewhat familiar, and in the process bring that television audience into the movie theaters, hopefully."
Ask him about the character similarities, though, and Sorbo seems to contradict himself: "I didn't look at it that way. I saw the characters as quite different, and I think that when people see the film, they'll see that they're totally different." The bottom line is, "This is a family-friendly film, and it was a lot of fun. It just seemed like the wise thing for me to do. I'm not embarrassed by it. It is what it is, and I think that's what people are going to enjoy about watching it."

(09).97
Reeling: The Movie Review Show

by Robin Clifford

"Kull" is an entertaining ditty whose main problem is there is simply not enough humor written into its action script. Kevin Sorbo proves to be an extremely likable actor who exudes charisma in his role as the title character. Too bad the script does not allow Sorbo the opportunity to lend much of his charm, and obvious sense of humor, to his character. When he does get the occasional funny line - for instance, when told that his bride is a 3000 year old demon from hell, he responds, "She told me she was 19!" with a delivery that is dead on and funny, but the editing chops off the extra beat needed for the audience to get the joke - the comic timing is not allowed to play through.
<> A good introduction for Kevin Sorbo to the big screen. He'll keep his TV fan's happy and opens himself to a whole new audience. If the producers did anything right with "Kull The Conqueror," it is casting Sorbo.

 

10.97
TV Guide (NZ)

Raffaella de Laurentiis: "When I saw Kevin, I knew we had found our Kull because he's got it all - charm, sex appeal, strength and he's a great actor."

11.97
Starburst #231 (UK)
Hercules muscles in on Kull

by Alan Jones

Shot in Bratislavia last Autumn, with interiors filmed at the Slovensky Film Studio Koliba, high on a hill overlooking the Slovakian city centre, 'Kull' marks the feature film debut of Kevin Sorbo.
Sorbo said, "I've been offered numerous scripts ever since Hercules became a success. Kull was the only one that had a good story full of character and emotion. True, Kull is sort of set in the same Hercules time period with the same kind of Fantasy stuff going on. But the chance to work with such an industry luminary as Raffaella swayed my decision. She really believed I could do it and I was very comfortable with how she viewed the movie as a vehicle for me."
"I wouldn't have made the movie without Kevin," declared de Laurentiis.

Sorbo remarked, "Unlike Hercules, Kull's a barbarian, so most of the comic relief comes from the other cast members. Kull is a guy who was abandoned as a 6-year-old by his father and grew up in the forest. He's from the wrong side of the tracks but he fought against that and worked his way up the ranks to become king of his empire. But he misuses the power and through stupidity loses it very quickly. Kull is perhaps the flip-side of Hercules, but I made sure they both had a totally different look."
Tia Carrere commented, "Originally they asked me to play Zareta, but when I read the script I was more drawn to Akivasha."
Litefoot wanted the complete reverse with his role. The rap artist, who also stars in 'Mortal Kombat: Annihilation', remarked, "This film has been my most difficult assignment to date because I didn't want to play a typical priest caught up in his own reverence. 'Kull the Conqueror' is definitely not your typical Sword and Sorcery Fantasy, that's for sure."
De Laurentiis: "I'd just worked with John Nicolella on the mini-series 'Vanishing Son'. <...> It had taken so long to get Kevin Sorbo and I wanted someone I could trust to direct and nurture him in the way I wanted." Nicolella said, "I don't want to scare audiences to death with Kull, or be violent and bloody. As long as Kull has the original comic strip's substance, and we never lose sight of that, then I'm happy." <...> Sorbo added, "John is a real pleasure. The patience he has to muster to lead this parade is staggering. He's a very funny guy and that's an enormous help when everyone is so far away from home. I had a lot of early ideas about how to play Kull and John has made sure I've stuck to them. If I've ever veered away from my definition, he's been the first to let me know. He wants 'Kull' to be as successful as I do. We're both hungry for that success."
As far as Sorbo was concerned, the veteran Italian make-up artist Gianetto De Rossi deliberately wanted to make his Kull character more human than most comic book heroes: "So after some discussion we left out Kull's trademark facial scar and made him less menacing altogether. I gave him a dark brown wig, which looks even darker on Kevin, and it made his blue eyes burn even brighter. Kohl makeup around the eyes accented that more. When I took my first glimpse at his complete look I turned to Kevin and told him,'You will do Kull 2, I can predict it already'."
De Laurentiis commented. "All the key elements are there: a good story, a great script, magical special effects, a wonderful cast - Tia is bringing a delicious sense of evil fun to her role - with the icing on the cake being Kevin."

27.11.97
Urban Cinefile (Australia)

by Louise Keller

Prepare yourself for an onslaught of great swashbuckling fun with the big screen's hunkiest heartthrob, the seriously handsome Kevin Sorbo, in a fable-like adventure punctuated by greed, sorcery, loyalty and lust. Make no mistake, while this may be fantasy with attitude, here is a film with excellent production values and a rousing, commanding musical score. Kevin Sorbo makes a great hero, with his square jaw, pale blue eyes, rugged dark good looks, rippling muscles and Mel Gibson voice; he is well balanced by his tall, blonde and handsome adversary Taligaro. Filled with super effects and lavish settings, Kull will sweep you into a make believe world filled with colourful characters who will amuse and entertain. The beauty of it all, is that it doesn't take itself too seriously.

 

12.97
Starlog special

"Kull gave me a break from being Hercules, which, of course, is a character I enjoy playing," explains Kevin Sorbo. "Kull gave me the chance to play another character, one whose much darker physically and emotionally than Hercules."

 

12.97
Starlog special
Sorceress Behind the Sword

by Marc Shapiro

De Laurentiis realized early in pre-production that a big challenge in Kull would be to have Sorbo not come across as a half-baked fusion of Conan and Hercules. "I was totally prepared [to abort] this film if Kevin was going to wind up doing nothing more than a bad imitation of Conan. But I didn't see that happening. I was satisfied that we were bringing a fresh take to the genre with Kull." Once filming started, however, the producer and director vigilantly looked for signs of Sorbo lapsing into his television alter-ego, "Kevin would sometimes purposely try to work some Hercules mannerisms and attitude into the film. He was always discussing things with John saying, 'Hercules would say this or do that.' Sometimes we would let him get away with things and sometimes we would tell Kevin, 'No. It's just too much and too familiar.' But, in hindsight, maybe we should have let him do more of the Hercules stuff, because when we tested the film, audiences seemed to respond to the Hercules kind of humor and fun."

"In the Conan films, I remember we had gallons of blood," de Laurentiis says. "There is no blood at all in Kull, and let me tell you, having no blood or extreme violence is much tougher to do in an action film. It's much easier to shock and make a fight spectacular when you can have heads flying and limbs being cut off. With Kull, the fights were more like burlesque, which made them much tougher to do."

"If this picture had taken itself too seriously," she says, "it would already be dead. We went into Kull not wanting a leadweight of a movie. This Kull will probably disappoint diehard Robert E. Howard fans, but I don't think it's going to disappoint people who watch Hercules and just want to have a good time."

1997
Michael's Martinez Kevin Sorbo Review

Unfortunately this very interesting and clever text is gone from the Internet. But I'll allow myself to quote it a little here.

Kevin Sorbo has been vehemently criticized by Howard fans for his portrayal of Kull. He doesn't seem to yell loud enough, or to kill enough people for them. <...> There can be no winning this argument, however. The actor will be unmercifully blamed for decisions that were not his, for not fulfilling unreasonable expectations, and for not delivering on promises which really were never made. Taken on its own merits "Kull the Conqueror" is entertaining. Kevin did his job. No actor could have stepped into that role and made it a blockbuster success.

 

   

"In the film's funniest line, after Kull is informed that his wife is really a 3000 year old witch, he protests "She said she was nineteen!"

Well, to say the truth, I didn't find this line very funny, but I was laughing my head off stumbling over this quote in the reviews again, again and again...

 

07.98
SFRevu.com

Surprisingly, this is an extremely entertaining hour and a half. <> Evil sorcerers, nasty witches, intrigue enough for two medieval centuries and a basic plot that neither deviates nor twists but drives from beginning to end like a short sword to the gut. Great fun for the whole family. Seriously.

1998
Renaissance Magazine

by Paul Andrew MacLean

Whatever its faults, in the end, "Kull The Conqueror" proves a fun, colorful, and entertaining adventure, and well-worth a video rental.

1998
Virtual Urth

by Robert Carter

Two things would improve this movie: a different lead actor... and a different lead actress. I don't mean that in a nasty way. Whereas some people would refer to the performances of Kevin Sorbo (Kull) and Tia Carrere (Akivasha) as "bad acting", I would call it, instead, miscasting. Neither actor brings "the right read" to the part. This is most blatant for Sorbo. Although he looks the role, and acts the role, (for the most part) I cringe every time he opens his mouth. Not only does every line come out as if it were some sort of pronouncement, but his voice is very... distinctive. He has what they call a "radio voice." Every time he says a line I feel like it's Rick Dees or Shadoe Stevens I'm hearing. And that's rough, since he's the focus of the film.
<> Regardless, despite its limitations and familiar formula, by the end of the movie you're rooting for the hero. And that's basically what "Kull" is all about.

6.07.99
Chicago Tribune
'Kull the Conqueror' shows no Beam-and-beer hero

by John Petrakis

You know that political correctness in the movies has gotten out of hand when even a dyed-in-the-wool barbarian is too busy being sexually open-minded and socially democratic to find the valuable time for ravishing, pillaging, murdering and destroying. After all, isn't that what makes them barbarians? If not, they should retitle this movie "Kull the Negotiator," "Kull the Peacemaker" or even "Kull, You Slay Me."
Kull is played with beefcake bravado by Kevin Sorbo, known to television audiences as the long-locked title hero of the H:TLJ. He is an amiable enough actor who could comfortably play a divorced barbarian dad with a couple of teenage daughters on a Fox sitcom. But he lacks the necessary grrrr! that any convincing barbarian needs. The same goes for his arch-enemy, Taligaro, who looks and acts more like an angry kid in competition for the quarterback position on a high school football team.
There's nothing especially heinous about "Kull the Conqueror." The costumes and sets look good, the special effects are impressive and the swelling music moves us along nicely.
<...> Perhaps the fear of offending folks has made filmmakers shy about pulling the action trigger, forcing them to replace hard-core barbarism with tongue-in-cheek humor. If so, they should leave the barbarians to the comic books. There, at least, it's still OK to run a guy through, chortling nastily as you display his impaled heart on the tip of your broadsword.

(09).00
TV Highlights #65 (Germany)

Kevin Sorbo is actually a miscast for Howard's character in spite of his fantasy background. No one wants to believe the likeable Kevin being the instinctive and if necessary nasty barbarian. He seems to be too cultivated and balanced for that. This shouldn't be a criticism of his acting performance but a criticism of the responsible ones, who didn't know to assign his type the right way. Surely he isn't a barbarian, and a conqueror - as the title says - least of all. Kevin is good at emphasizing the young king's naivete and one would have been well advised to change the concept that way, a young and still a little bit naive nature-boy would become king by mistake and has to make out and refute the intriguing at court until he grows up into a real monarch.
<..> Who is to see Kevin above all surely won't be disappointed, for he knows to put on a show and is ignoring all the silliness with refreshing acting.

22.09.00
DVD Verdict Review

by Erick Harper

Sorbo is not a bad actor, just thoroughly miscast. He is too likeable, too Midwestern, and too smart for this movie. Perhaps part of this comes from his experience as Hercules; a large part of the charm of that series is the winking acknowledgement to the audience that we are all smarter than the material. The danger in this is crossing the fine line into campiness. Sorbo doesn't cross that line, but you can tell that he is not really convinced of anything his character says or does. He does have a good physical presence and voice, and is pretty good with a sword or an axe.

 

11.01
Xpose #61

Kevin Sorbo: "I'm not disappointed because it was a good movie, it's doing very well on rental and I think what happened with "Kull" was two things. Number one, I fought with Universal, saying, "The release date on this is horrible. You don't release a movie on Labor Day.' It's the last week in the summer, everybody's already gone to all the movies that have been out there, it's the last week you are gonna spend with family and friends before everybody goes back to school and to work and the holiday months are over. And number two, Princess Di died that same week. Everybody, including myself, stayed home and watched everything on TV. I think I was proven right (he laughs) because after that movie opened, Universal fired the two people that were head of the marketing for it. I told them, 'This is a cold weather movie, you should open this round Christmas time.' To me it didn't feel like a summer release."

 

Fall 2003
Alumnews MSUM

"'Kull the Conqueror' did okay at the box office," Kevin Sorbo said about his role in the $35 million action adventure movie released in 1997. "The biggest mistake was opening the film on Labor Day weekend, traditionally the worst movie weekend of the year. We fought with Universal, but we lost."

 

12.07.04
MSN Live Chat

Q: What inspirations did you use to play the role?
Kevin Sorbo: Really no inspiration, just the script. The first script was much darker and I would have liked to have stuck with that one.

 

Just random quotes

Tia Carerre's lines as written were bad enough, but she makes them all her own in a truly awful spectacle.
Tia Carrere gives a wonderful, over-the-top performance and steals the film.
Kull shouldn't speak perfect English.
... Kevin Sorbo trying to enunciate properly. ("You FOR-GIT your place!")
The only thing that annoyed me is that some of the fight scenes were punctuated by heavy metal music rather than the more traditional pretentious opera or instrumental score.
The electric rock score is oddly suited to the nature of the film and gives the fight scenes additional energy.
The few attempts at humor fail miserably.
What keeps "Kull" from total confusion is that the screenplay has pillaged all the comedic concepts that make Sorbo's "Hercules" television show so much fun.
 
Now you may take a guess what I do think about critics in general and in particular :).

 

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