DVD Review: Tales of an Ancient Empire
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Distributor: Lions Gate
· Albert Pyun
· Kevin Sorbo
· Michael Pare
· Melissa Ordway
by R.J. Carter
Published: January 1, 2012
In the empire of Abelar, things are a total mess. The vampires have taken over, and Princess Tanis (Melissa Ordway, "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas") has been tasked with seeking out her real father. No, not the king, but a mercenary, Oda (Michael Pare), who boasts that his sword is ever poised for a new adventure -- an unsubtle euphemism to mean he'll sow his seed in whatever furrow allows him to plough it. It seems Oda is the only man with the steel enough to stand up to the vampires and drive them out single-handedly.
Well, not single-handedly, but once he's found he'll be joined by no less than five of his bastard children, each a half-sibling to the others. All of them are comely wenches, save for Aedan (Kevin Sorbo, Hercules: The Legendary Adventures) who's not above coming on to Princess Tanis despite their familial bond.
This travesty from Albert Pyun -- the same director who gave us a less-than-super "Captain America" -- is a sequence of medieval sets that have very little connecting them. Fortunately, we have several interruptions where a vampiress soliliquizes about what will happen between the scenes that we witness. And we have more scenes where Michael Pare discourses with two other mercenaries against a cloudy background to give even more backstory -- which allows for the presumption that there's a story at all.
If you want to see badly pantomimed action scenes, the occassional glimpse of breasts, trick-or-treat quality vampire attacks, and a set with the budget of Star Trek -- the original series, not the film -- then "Tales of an Ancient Empire" may be for you. Maybe the both of you can enjoy it together.
The bonus features on this release include the original trailer for the film, and a forty-minute compilation of cast interviews, with questions posed by someone who was obviously struck when interviewing the females of the cast, many of whom were seen topless in the film.
After a dismal "Captain America" and a laughable "The Sword and the Sorcerer," maybe it's time for Albert Pyun to hang up the camera. From beyond, Ed Wood cheers him on.