Tuesday, March 6, 2012

(Very) Delayed Sequel: Abelar- Tales of an Ancient Empire

It took twenty-eight years to get made.  It took thirty years for someone to bother actually watching it though.  Let's step in the Wayback Machine for a moment, all the way to 1982.  I wasn't born yet, but Albert Pyun did make the film The Sword and the Sorcerer.  As a quality film, it sucks.  As a film to laugh at, it's awesome!  Seriously, get a double-bill of this and Hawk the Slayer for a damn good time.  During the credits, the film teases that 'Talon (the hero) will return in Tales of an Ancient Empire.'  While some may view this as a James Bond joke (of sorts), people like me actually thought that there was/would be one.  Well, after many years of talk, one was finally going to be made.  The cast was going to include Kevin Sorbo and Christopher Lambert- sold.  That never came out.  About a month ago, I randomly found this movie on Netflix, with no hype or anything behind it.  Oh yeah, no Lambert.  In spite of that, I decided to follow up and see how it was.  The results...are not good.  To find out more, you'll have to read on...
The film sets the bar really low with a very long and silly-looking intro.  To begin with, we have a Narrator- a bad one, at that.
Following that, we get a war in Abelar between evil demons and some fighters...which is done entirely in front of green screen.  No, really.
I should mention that the most awesome moments of action are...drawn.  Drawn well, mind you, but this isn't a damn motion comic!
The Sword and the Sorcerer featured an evil wizard who turned a bit demonic.  The sequel features vampires.  Clearly, that's what the series was missing!
I'll spare you most of the plot- mostly filler, but it features Michael Pare's kids trying to find him- but I will mention that the original lead shows up...as a random guy.  Kudos to IMDB for falsely-crediting him as 'Talon' too!
The only moment that's remotely-related to the original film: ten seconds of the infamous 'sword launcher.'  You don't actually see the prop though.  What was the point of that then?
This movie is really bad about pacing, mostly due to some obvious budgetary issues.  Pyun's solution: skipping scenes entirely and just saying that they happened.

After doing this with our characters being rescued, we build up to the final battle between the children and the evil vampires.  This has to be good, right?
WRONG!  Instead of any real action, the Narrator suddenly 'turns heel' and explains that the evil vampire was killed by Sorbo.  This happens by Pyun rubbing a still image of Sorbo against a drawing of a monster.  No, really.
Our suddenly-evil Narrator- did the plot turn her into a vampire off-camera?- explains that the Vampire survives...and appears in the desert.  Thanks for that anti-climax on top of another anti-climax.  The freaking End!
This was not worth 28 minutes, let alone 28 years!  Did Pyun write a script that would have cost $20 million, but all he could raise was $20,000?  If so, that would explain a lot.  *UPDATE- According to Wikipedia, the budget was $450,000.  There's a lot going on here...in theory.  There's a King hiring a mercenary to kill a Wizard, a bunch of vampires trying to take over the kingdom, some adults' quest to find their warrior father and a final showdown with a vampire trying to open a portal to another dimension.  Yeah, none of that really happens in any interesting way.  The first part- a dull, 10 minute scene in front of a green screen.  The second part- a couple people in front of green screens wearing cheap fangs.  The third- a tale of losers that doesn't even really go anywhere until 50 minutes in.  Finally, the showdown is, well, a cop-out.  There's more crap piled on here, including a random plot revelation that the father faked his death...to get away from his kids.  What if they hadn't been able to stop the vampire?  You would have doomed the world, you dick!  Honestly, I fell asleep while watching this movie.  Can you blame me?  The movie is amazingly-bad, poorly-paced and just feels cheap.  Green screens are not a replacement for sets, Albert.  If he really wanted to make a good movie, I feel a little bad for him.  This is Albert Pyun, however, so I kind of doubt it.  Time to one-up the random, historical name-dropping from Wake of Death...
Up next, the first of two Rock-less sequels starring Sorbo.  It's time for revenge, Texas!  Stay tuned...


  1. Wait, what? Is that Oda Nobunaga shot from Tales of an Ancient Empire? Um...okay, I always thought Sword and the Sorcerer and its amazingly-delayed sequel were supposed to take place in a fantasy world, not a fantasy version of our world. O_O

  2. Oh yeah, it is!

    Didn't you know that Oda was a white guy who fought vampires in Abelar and was played by Michael Pare?

    Clearly you've been playing the wrong Samurai Warriors games, good sir!

  3. Should I even mention that I'd hardly consider "about 400 years ago" to be strictly "ancient"? (Oda Nobunaga died in 1582!)

    Please tell me they at least didn't make Akechi Mitsuhide a vampire.