"Tales Of An Ancient Empire"
Music By Tony Riparetti
Howlin' Wolf Records HWRCD011
22 Tracks/Disc Time: 71:51 Grade: C-
Last year was the 30th Anniversary of the cult classic, The Sword And The Sorcerer, which was a surprise box office hit during the Winter/Spring of 1982 just coming ahead of the more memorable and classic Conan The Barbarian, which would make its' release in May of that year. The Sword And The Sorcerer was a fun and engaging tale that told the story of Talon, a young Prince who's family was slaughtered by a ruthless power hungry tyrant named Cromwell (Richard Lynch) aided by a sorcerer named Xusia (Richard Moll) who he ultimately betrays in his power trip. Years later, the older Talon (Lee Horsley) returns as a Mercinary wielding his father's three bladed sword and aids Alana (Kathleen Beller) in her quest to stop Cromwell and free her brother Mikah (Simon MacCorkindale) from his enslavement. Talon accomplishes his revenge against Cromwell and helps Alana and Mikah lead his father's kingdom righteously. At the end of the film, a James Bond-esque segway told of further adventures of Talon and his mercinaries and since 1982, nothing had happend in regards to a follow up. Finally in 2010, Tales Of An Ancient Empire which was the long awaited sequel to The Sword And The Sorcerer finally came to fruition.
The film features Princess Tani (Melissa Ordway) who travels far distant lands to reunite the five greatest warriors to battle an evil demon sorceress who threatens her kingdom. The film stars Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Lee Horsley, Michael Pare, Sasha Mitchell, Scott Paulin, Norbert Weisser, Oliver Grunier, Jennifer Sibel Newsom and Ralf Moeller and the film directed by Albert Pyun, who also directed The Sword And The Sorcerer. The film went straight to video and on demand and unfortunately for most ardant fans of the original film, this predecessor was a total bust. Despite this, Pyun's musical partner, friend and executive producer Tony Riparetti wrote a score that was more than worthy even if the film wasn't what it should've been. Riparetti, who's worked on many of Pyun's films with great successes such as Dollman, Mean Guns, Postmortem to name a few, does the best could with a very limited budget. The music which is completely electronic which is nothing new as Riparetti has utilized them in unique and creative ways over years.
The score to this film is an epic sounding and interesting score that is very lengthy (which runs the length of the film's 90 minute running time) and very cohesive in its musical structure. It is a score based on action and rightfully so introduced in "Old Guys Rule" which features alot of percussion and synth pads and is the theme for the legendary figures of the film. "Three-Bladed Weapon" introduces a rock theme that fans of Joel Goldsmith's score to "Kull The Conqueror" would really have fun with and reappears later on in "Capturing The Clan", "Kara's Theme" and the very cool "They Deserved To Die". In "Hekate'" Riparetti does introduce a nice acoustic guitar theme which is very nice and tranquil along with the reniassance sounding "Riding To Rajan" which is actually a really nice highlight. "The Stranger" is lengthy and atmospheric track that mixes in some of the scores main themes. Pete Murray's power rock anthem, "Heart Of Stone" rounds out this lenghty, but breezy score. As much as I liked a lot of the score's positive aspects, there are some negatives too which is the fact that some of the material became a little redunant and lacking more variation and it is understandable due to the film's budget.
Howlin' Wolf Records' album is a solid work with nice production values and great artwork that should be commended and it's always great to see Tony RIparetti's work release. I was up and down on this in terms of its review but it's a positive recommendation with some reservations.