Tales of an Ancient Empire ½

Albert Pyun's 1982 film The Sword And The Sorcerer is one of my all-time favorite movies. It's a highly memorable, gloriously cheesy tale about a roguish hero with a bitchin' TRIPLE-BLADED SWORD THAT ALSO SHOOTS BLADES. The film's credit roll named a sequel, the promise of which enticed fans for many years. Against all odds it eventually materialized - and it's terrible.

It's hard to call this a sequel because that precludes that it is a movie. But movies have things like... plot and structure. Here, the tale is poorly narrated rather than shown. Literally the entire length of this film is spent on setup. There is no final resolution or confrontation - the heroes simply spend an hour setting out on their quest and getting imprisoned. Our protagonists are legendary Japanese ruler Oda Nobunaga and his adult children - portrayed as WHITE EUROPEANS?

Sorbo's co-stars are terrible actors who flatly deliver grandiose epic dialogue in stilted modern accents (though I give major kudos to Ralf Moeller, who plays a wasted minor role and yet makes him the most compelling character in the entire movie).

Practically the entire thing is shot on a green screen, and highly-saturated monochromatic color timing is abused throughout - nighttime is blue, daytime is orange. It looks worse than an Asylum picture, and many shots are re-used several times like a 1960's Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Terribly produced sub-TV level CGI is also prevalent, which is especially disappointing since the original TS&TS is such a marvelous showcase of practical effects.

I know this film had a microscopic budget and numerous production issues which hindered it immensely, but the terrible story, structure, and editing can't be excused. The entire movie is fundamentally off the rails in that it doesn't continue the established story arc, but simply craps out a lame sideshow that's supposedly set in the same universe. Sadly, this is a disappointment of the lowest order, all the more so as a follow-up to The Sword And The Sorcerer.