Tales of an Ancient Empire
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlbert Pyun
Written byCynthia Curnan
Produced by
  • Nicholas Celozzi
  • Cynthia Curnan
  • Sazzy Lee Calhoun
CinematographyPhilip Alan Waters
Edited byDavid Lamb
Music byAnthony Riparetti
New Tales
Distributed byKIPPJK
Release date
  • 2010 (2010)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States

Tales of an Ancient Empire is a 2010 American fantasy-sword and sorcery film directed by Albert Pyun and starring Kevin Sorbo, Michael Paré, Whitney Able, Melissa Ordway, Ralf Moeller, Lee Horsley, and Victoria Maurette. It is a sequel to Pyun's directorial debut, The Sword and the Sorcerer.


Queen Ma’at finds her kingdom of Abelar under attack when treasure seekers accidentally open the tomb of vampire queen Xia. The Queen sends her half-sister, Princess Tanis, to the outlaw city of Douras to find her real father so he can save the kingdom.

Meanwhile, servant girl Kara who shares the same father as Tanis, but her mother is Xia and discovers she (Xia) is really a vampire and begins hunting Tanis. Once in Douras, the Princess finds her half-brother Aedan and convinces him to help her. Together they locate half-sister Malia, another half-sister Rajan and her daughter Alana. With this small group they plan to thwart vampire queen Xia.



The sequel was first announced in 1982, in the end credits of The Sword and the Sorcerer. Production itself officially began with scriptwriting in November 2007, followed by principal photography in California the following year.[1] According to Pyun, actors considered for the film included Yancy Butler, Kari Wuhrer, Mark Dacascos, Val Kilmer, Steven Seagal, Olivier Gruner, and Christopher Lambert.[1]


The film's North American premiere was at the Fright Night Film Fest of July 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.[2] The film was released in the United States by Lionsgate in January 2012.[3]


Bob Calhoun of Salon.com wrote that Sorbo "sinks to sad new lows" after starring in the film.[4]

Scott Weinberg of Twitch Film called it "one of the worst films I've ever seen". Weinberg said that it is "the sort of movie that makes you reconsider Uwe Boll's status as the reigning king of movie crap".[5]

eFilm critic Jack Sommersby rated the film one star and said, "What's infuriating is that Pyun has oodles of talent and can be a first-rate director when he allows himself to be guided by ratiocination rather than egregious grandeur. The Sword and the Sorcerer didn't exactly have the sturdiest of scripts, which resulted in a lumpy middle section, but it was all of a piece, a consistent vision—for my money, far better than John Boorman's clunky Excalibur from the year before."[6] Nick Hartel of DVD Talk rated it 0/5 stars and also called Pyun worse than Boll, whom he called merely lazy rather than incompetent like Pyun.[7]

Scott Pyle of Fulvue Drive-In.com writes, "Empire tries very hard to follow the happy-go-lucky spirit of its predecessor, and it manages to succeed at this on some level, but it lacks the innocence and pure fun of Sorcerer."[8] David Johnson of DVD Verdict wrote that the film's only redeeming quality is that it is "laughably short".[9]

Giving the film one star, Jason Rugart said, "I fear it will end up on my worst of list next December ... Pyun has an excellent eye for the visually intriguing and his love for the craft palpable. That's the thing that makes Tales such a frustrating viewing experience is that elements of a good movie or at least a watchable one are swimming about in this murky haphazard concoction."[10]


  1. ^ a b "The Tale behind the making of Tales of an Ancient Empire". pyun.com. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  2. ^ "Tales of an Ancient Empire to Debut at Fright Night Film Fest". dreadcentral.com. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  3. ^ Moore, Debi (2011-12-12). "Watch the First 18 Minutes of Tales of an Ancient Empire". Dread Central. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  4. ^ Calhoun, Bob (2012-01-22). "The tragedy of Kevin Sorbo". Salon.com. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  5. ^ Weinberg, Scott (2011-07-18). "Weinberg Reviews TALES OF AN ANCIENT EMPIRE". Twitch Film. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  6. ^ "Movie Review - Tales of an Ancient Empire - eFilmCritic". www.efilmcritic.com.
  7. ^ Hartel, Nick (2012-02-14). "Tales of an Ancient Empire". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  8. ^ "Tales Of An Ancient Empire (2011/Lionsgate DVD)". www.fulvuedrive-in.com.
  9. ^ Johnson, David (2012-01-09). "Tales of an Ancient Empire". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
  10. ^ Rugaard, Jason (January 25, 2012). "Abelar: Tales of an Ancient Empire (2010) – Review".