Tales of an Ancient Empire is a 2010 fantasy film directed by Albert Pyun, starring Kevin Sorbo, Michael Pare, and Melissa Ordway. It is the Spiritual Successor to Pyun's debut film, The Sword and the Sorcerer.
Queen Maat 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 discovers her true nature as 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, half-sister Rajan and her daughter Alana. With this small group they plan to stop the vampire queen Xia before it is too late.
Despite being almost universally panned by critics and fans alike, the film boldly promises yet another sequel to come.
This movie contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Princess Tanis.
- Bastard Bastard: Kara, who after learning she was born from a tryst between a human and a vampire, embraces her vampiric heritage, joining her mother.
- Call-Back: Numerous references to people and places, and even key phrases from The Sword and the Sorcerer have all been sprinkled throughout the film.Kara: "Do we have a quarrel, sir?"
- The Cameo: Lee Horsley makes a brief appearance, credited only as The Stranger.
- The Casanova: Oda was one, judging by the number of women he managed to have sex with (and father children by too).
- Chroma Key: Greenscreen seems to have become a trademark of recent Albert Pyun films.
- Darker and Edgier: Pyun attempts to invoke this by inserting vampires into the plot.
- Deadpan Snarker: Aedan, very much so."Did I do your mother?"
- Dhampyr: Kara, the child of a human father and vampire mother.
- Gene Hunting: Tanis was raised a princess, believing her father was the king. She learned that her father was really a mercenary whom her mother had an affair with however, and set out to find him.
- Heroic Bastard: Tanis, Aedan, Malia and Rajan are all the result of their father's many trysts. They're also the heroes of the film. Alana also seems to count, as Rajan doesn't mention that she's married.
- No Name Given: The character played by Lee Hensley is only credited as "The Stranger". All of the other characters are only addressed by one name.
- Offing the Offspring: Oda at the beginning almost killed his child with the vampire Xia, because he didn't want it growing up into a dhampyr. After cutting it out of her womb, however, he couldn't kill the baby. Instead, he gave her to a palace as a servant girl.
- Playing Gertrude: Janelle Marra, who plays Rajan, was 31 at the time, only seven years more than Inbar Lavi, playing her daughter Alana. Even worse, Michael Pare plays Odo, father of Aedan, played by Kevin Sorbo, who was born less than a month before him.
- Really Gets Around: Oda, Tanis, Kara and Aedan's father, turns out to have fathered even more children by different mothers (which all of them have as well).
- Re-Cut: The initial version of the film was only released overseas. Pyun eventually re-cut the film for the "official" U.S. release.
- Sequel Hook: Red Moon.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: After being wounded by a shot from Oda's triple-bladed sword, one of the vampires attempts to throw the blade back at him. In a humorous exchange, Oda not only catches the blade but throws it right back at her, scoring a fatal hit.
- Vampire Monarch: Xia, the vampire queen.
- Your Cheating Heart: Tanis was conceived due to her mother the queen having a tryst with a mercenary, when already married to the king. She didn't know about this until she'd grown up.