Thursday, April 24, 2008

SWORD AND THE SORCERER SEQUEL... Wizards, Warriors and Wenches... Talon and Company Return!... It's Really Happening!!!

Albert Pyun has made dozens of B-movies over the years. Some of them have been thoroughly entertaining ( RADIOACTIVE DREAMS, DOWN TWISTED, CYBORG, NEMESIS ). Some have been unforgivable ( CAPTAIN AMERICA, the single worst comic adaptation AWS has ever seen ). It's easy to forget within this vast filmography that Pyun's first ( and probably best ) film was a big production for Universal Studios. It was still low budget compared to most of the films out there, but it was given an enthusiastic release and was indeed met with fandom from its target audience.

That film was THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER, and the timing of Universal was curious but well-placed. It provided a whetting of the appetite for its bigger production, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, which would be released one month later. But if there was ever a big movie to echo the then-recent phenomenon that was the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game, this was it. Even the film's promotional materials invoked the phrase, "dungeons and dragons." The poster also looked all the world like a fantasy novel, TSR guidebook or at the very least, an Iron Maiden album cover. Though some may disagree, the film delivered on its promise.

The last shot of SWORD AND THE SORCERER had our surviving heroes riding off into the sunset, after which a message on the screen promised a sequel, TALES OF THE ANCIENT EMPIRE, coming soon. But what was curious was that despite earning nearly $40 million at the U.S. box office ( that would be more than $85 million today, a major success for a mid-budget film ), we never heard from our heroes again.

Now, more than a quarter century later ( damn, I'm getting old ), the sequel is fully and truly on the way. There were whispers before that Pyun was finally making TALES OF THE ANCIENT EMPIRE, but nothing concrete. But now reports that production is gearing up and it looks like a done deal. Fans of sword & sorcery cinema, epic adventure or just fans of CONAN rip-offs ( I'm all three ) can rejoice and let out of "yalp!" of joy.

“It’s got a sexy sorceress, hordes of demonic vampires, a giant serpent, sea pirates, nasty sword (and axe, spear, leg of cow) fights and gore and nudity galore. Everything that a rousing adventure needs to have.”

Pyun has made some alterations to make this a true continuation. In the original film, Talon was played by Lee Horsley, who would have success in the 1980s on the MATT HOUSTON TV series. Rather than cast a younger person in the role of Talon, Pyun is brining back Horsley in the Talon role. However, the focus will be on Talon's children, played by Christopher Lambert, Kevin Sorbo and Victoria Maurette ( recent star of Pyun's BULLETFACE and LEFT FOR DEAD ). Of those three, only Maurette is truly young enough to be Horsley's son, but I guess you can't be consistent with everything.

'Aint It Cool News reports Yancy Butler will play a half-sister to Sorbo's character, but its unknown on which side of the family. I have always liked Butler. She's had an unfortunate track record over the years at being excellent in projects that weren't all they were cracked up to be, at least not the ones I've seen. These include the TV series MANN & MACHINE as well as the films HARD TARGET ( the director's cut is supposedly much better ) and THE HIT LIST. Butler is best known for her starring role on the WITCHBLADE TV series, a show I'm sorry to say I missed.

Also cast is Leah Cairns, formerly of KYLE XY and recently seen in 88 MINUTES. Fans will of course recognize Cairns from the "how the hell can a TV show be this good?" revamp of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, on which she played Viper pilot, Racetrack.

And of course, we will get the tri-blade sword that in addition to being incredibly powerful, also launches it's blades into the guts of its foes. By itself, that's worth the price of admission.

But the biggest treat comes from Pyun himself, who told the folks at, “It’s got a sexy sorceress, hordes of demonic vampires, a giant serpent, sea pirates, nasty sword (and axe, spear, leg of cow) fights and gore and nudity galore. Everything that a rousing adventure needs to have.” That's pretty much everything this website is about so you can bet your ass I'll be first in line for this one. Twitch also confirms that unlike recent sword & sorcery reboots which have aimed for a younger audience, this film will be geared for a hard R-rating. Hells yeah!

TALES OF THE ANCIENT EMPIRE starts filming next month in Buenos Aires and Tunisia. If you aren't excited, you are clinically dead.

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