on April 3, 2004
There's no single thing about this movie that ruins it, it's everything put together. One never gets the feeling that they're anywhere but on a Hollywood set - you're not transported back in time to an exotic, lawless time. The characters have no depth at all - instead of a feared assasin, The Rock comes off as a really nice guy, good with children, wouldn't hurt a fly. Forced to do battle, but he certainly wouldn't otherwise. And the whole thing is just so silly and cheesy. There's a comic relief character, but there's absolutely no need for him as there's nothing to "relieve" us from - the whole movie is little more than comic relief. It's just so unrealistic - it's obviously made for "the whole family", but that just points out it's major flaw - making a movie set in a time where people hacked each other up with swords to settle disputes, but do it in a way that the kiddies will be able to watch and think it's fun. It comes off as extremely watered down. As if it's a pilot for a Saturday morning cartoon or something.
Needless to say, you don't care about any of these generic Hollywood do-gooders, and there's never any doubt that they'll all come out okay in the end. Even the action sequences leave you with the feeling that that you're watching the World Wrestling Federation, where one guy might lose the fight, but he'll be back in the next episode good as new. It's not like anyone's getting gruesomely dismembered like in a real barbarian movie.
Basically, if you want to see an adventure movie, but it has to be something the kids can watch as well, you might get stuck with this. If you're looking for a real, involving adventure, get something else.
on January 13, 2004
There is only one word to describe "The Scorpion King": ridiculous. Everything about this movie is just plain goofy. This is nothing more than a vehicle for Dwayne Johnson, better known as The Rock. The Rock does what he can in his given role, which has him playing a sort of superhuman hitman of an ancient tribe. But that "role" is limited. It consists of nothing more than swinging his biceps around, looking tough, and making the babes go crazy over him. The script of the movie is very amatuerish and so is the acting. Basically, this is just a typical action movie that puts the brawn and bold heroics over the story and the characters. I suppose this could have been a decent made-for-TV movie but they brought it to the big screen instead and made people pay to see it and I'm sure most viewers were disappointed that they didn't get their money's worth. If you have to buy "The Scorpion King", I'd recommend getting the DVD. It has plenty of bonus material (very surprising for a low-grade movie) which makes it worth the price. But take my advice: avoid this dud and save your time.
on September 16, 2003
It is clear from the opening scene that Scorpion King aspires to be little more than a historic version of WWE Smackdown. The plot centers around Mathayus (played by The Rock), an impeccably chiseled Armenian warrior, and Memnon, a warlord slowly conquering the land. Memnon holds prisoner what every sinister ruler needs, a sorceress. With the ability to predict the future, she serves as the main source of his power, also fulfilling the action flick quota of one scantily-clad maiden in distress, making her first appearance in a weird cape and the number one apparel choice for women in 3200 BC: the halter top.
Mathayus swears revenge on Memnon because, why else, he killed his brother, and spends most of the movie falling in love with the sorceress and body slamming everyone else. Along the way he decides his second purpose is to free and unite and nomadic tribes, keeping some shred of historical value in the story.
Teaming up with a tribal king and his band of Amazon warriors, the plot culminates as Mathayus finally comes up against his nemesis in a battle to the death. And if you were thinking that because of the ancient setting you would be free of the typical fiery pyrotechnics ending, you were wrong. Yes, gunpowder was actually invented before the pyramids.
Despite a lacking script and ridiculous plot, the film has decent action and special effects. The Rock actually comes off well onscreen and his bantering lines with the comic relief character make it mildly amusing. Basically though, the main draw is watching The Rock kick butt. Did we really expect more?
on January 19, 2003
Movies like THE SCORPION KING are great fun to watch. I doubt that anyone really expected to see a movire that was plot or character driven. This film had two purposes: to be the latest reincarnation of the spear and sandal spectacular that Steve Reeves popularized back in the 60s and to showcase the muscularity and bashing prowesss of Hollywood's newest action hero, the Rock (Dwayne Johnson). Part of the fun of THE SCORPION KING is to count the number or times director Chuck Russell borrows (ahem) from previous action films. Besides the aforementioned Steve Reeves epics, Russell uses scenes straight out of the Indiana Jones trilogy and THE MUMMY, which also had The Rock in a bit part.
The plot is nonsense of course. Ditto for costuming, architecture, and historical accuracy. But no one goes to see action films of ancient empires to quibble over anachronisms. The Rock is Mathayas, a hired assassin whose job it is to kill a sorcerer. Unfortunately, for his mission, the sorcerer turns out to be a sexy, leggy sorceress (Kelly Hu), with whom Mathayas falls predictably in love. Along the way, there are sword fights every two or three minutes. The special effects are first rate, and despite the legions of soldiers killed, no one really seems to possess any traits that would cause one to mark his passing with true emotion. In movies like this, the fun of watching the emergence of a new action star unfortunately is built on the oldest of Hollywood's gimmicks: the dispatching of hordes of extras in so a bloodless manner that the viewer soon overlooks the rather quaint notion that extras are people too. If Hollywood ever learns to build up an action hero without resorting to gratuitous bloodless violence, then it will be the first time for that.
on December 30, 2002
I have to say I was a little surprised at all the violence in this film. Not that I'm not old enough to handle it. Besides it wasn't gorey. It was just mostly made up of fighting. I like battle scenes. But really good ones. The fighting in Scorpion King were good but not excellent ones. The Rock wasn't too bad in this. I do like the guy. I think he's good action hero type. But can he really act? I'm not talking about fighting scenes. I'm talking about just regular dialogue. Which you don't see much of from him through the whole thing. Action scenes he was real good. But I'd have to see him in a few more movies to judge on wether or not he can even act. The movie was predictable (like most reviewers were saying on here). What movie can't you watch that isn't? They all have the basic storyline it's how it's done is what makes the difference. I don't ever watch a movie thinking the ending is going to surprise me. But anyway. This movie is worth watching. It has enough action but the scenes are kind of mellow. In my opinion it doesn't compare to The Mummy. I might add it to my 'Mummy' collection if I can find it for a cheap price somewhere.
on December 4, 2002
I went into this movie cold. I had no idea who "The Rock" was (I'd read about him, but somehow did not connect him with this film) I did not know "The Scorpion King" was supposed to be a prequel of the Mummy movies, neither of which I had seen. So me and my popcorn had a clear, unbiased mind.
The setting is long, long ago. Gommorah is still in business and gunpowder has yet to be invented. Arkkadian Assassin Mathayus (the Rock) has been hired to kill a sorcerer whose predictions are far too dependable. Mathayus' brother is tortured to death, and he vows revenge. When he discovers the sorcerer is a gorgeous young lady in a harem costume, he "liberates" her. His steed is a camel, the odds against him are never less than 50 to 1, and he lays them out like dominoes. After 90 minutes of mayhem, the good guys win the kingdom, the castle and the babe.
Dwayne Johnson was a charmer in this potboiler. He has almost too good a sense of humor (I thought he was going to crack up a few times over his ridiculous lines. Shades of Crosby and Hope in a "Road" picture!) His face is expressive, his movements agile, and he is definitely eye candy. I wish him well in a movie career. I think he would be a fine action hero. I felt sorry for his sidekick, Philos (Bernard Hill). The script was so bad that the feeble jokes he was forced to utter wouldn't get a giggle out of a pre-schooler. With the exception of a few reprehensible villains and mighty Balthazar (Michael Clarke Duncan), the cast was uniformly beautiful right down to the starving children.
The action is non-stop, so time passes quickly and all in all, I had a good time. "The Scorpion King" makes a good non-think rental. Laugh along with The Rock.
on November 19, 2002
I think three stars is a pretty good rating for what is generally a pretty unimaginative Hollywood action picture. The producers have spent a decent amount of dollars creating a world of long ago. They hired a lot of actors for big battle scenes, and are fairly generous with the computer special effects. And Da Rock does carry himself fairly well in his first starring role.
But I think that even the producers would agree that that's about as ambitious as they needed to go. The folks that brought you the recent "Mummy" movies also brought you this one, and it looks like they'd like to keep a franchise going. While those movies weren't perfect, they did have a very worthy villain in the Mummy.
This one is basically your standard plot of go and rescue the beautiful virgin, which is very reminiscent of Arnold's old "Conan" movies. The battle scenes are ok here, but when the camera settles on Da Rock, we just see him going through his wrestling motions. The computer effects were better in the other films, even with the unconvincing beetles in those movies being replaces by only slightly better fire ants.
Just one more criticism of what is an ok film to see once. In this story we have the virgin with magical powers who loses them when she shacks up with the hero. Another plot borrowed from probably several movies, but "Live and Let Die" comes to mind. What is irritating though is how carefully choreographed her clothing and hair is done to fall on all the right places which give tantalizing peeks at her, but keeps the movie from getting an "R" rating. I hate when Hollywood does this.
on October 27, 2002
Wrestling superstar the Rock made his debut on screen as a centaur-like half man/half scorpion in The Mummy Returns, but how did his character rise to power? For fans to be eager to find out, the answer arrived in The Scorpion King.
The Rock is Mathayus, a muscle-bound assassin trying to save his people. A ruthless warlord is marching across the desert, able to conquer any foe, thanks to the premonitions of a beautiful sorceress. Mathayus must kill the soothsayer, but one look at the half-dressed Cassandra and he can't bring himself to do it, so he kidnaps her, and typically, there is the swords and sorcery, which ends with an inevitable showdown between the Rock's character and the head cutthroat who murdered his brother.
This film relies on a barrage of violence and many fatalities, plus there is faulty spirituality, which includes polytheism and Cassandra slipping into trance-like states, using the equivalent of a Ouija board to summon visions. There is cheap titillation and peekaboo nudity among the film's sexual teases.
We have vengeful killing machine and occultic heroine, and they are an odd pair indeed. This is not really an appropriate film for the target audience - 14 year old boys. Try something else more palatable and less violent.
on October 15, 2002
I still think it's funny when people compare these types of movies to "real" movies like the truman show, gone with the wind, or other types of movies. Those movies had a plot and a good story. These movies don't, but that doesnt stop them from being bad movies. As long as their is an action scene every 5 seconds, then im happy. I wouldn't pay to expect a great story, and stupid action. anywho, action is what u want, and action is what u get when u watch this movie. Their are 6 main action sequences. i'll give a brief summary of the action.
1) Rescue in the mountains - this is one of the better fights, with great "martial arts" (dare i say?), and this is the scene where he uses some awesome Bow and arrow shots.
2) Memnon's Camp - this is a just basically a sword fight with a little bit of fight, nothing too great here, but memorable.
3) City fight - this fight is broken off into 2 parts. One is in the training courtyard where Mathayus get's involved in a bow and arrow fight with the guards. and he get's in a fight with some more guards later. a descent battle
4) Sand storm fight - this starts out good with some crazy action, then it get's slow when they're in the cavern searching for him, but at the end it FINALLY get's better with some good sword battles
5) Balthazar battle - this is a really great battle. Everything from punches , to kicks, to using Bo's and swords to take down the foe'
6) last fight - great fight scene, a lot of death, naturally
again, watch this for action, not story
on October 7, 2002
You've seen this film before (Conan the Barbarian) --mysterious hero with goofy sidekick and sexy warrior babe girlfriend becomes king after a titanic, lopsided battle. That's the plot of "The Scorpion King" and half a dozen other flicks of this genre.
There are a lot of "realism" problems with this film, but, considering that it is cast with stars of the pro wrestling circuit and produced by Vince MacMahon, that's not too surprising. So I was all primed to sit back and enjoy Rock Eye Candy and have fun with this film. I wasn't disappointed, though there is a lot to overlook; for one thing, no one ever fought "The Mesopotamians"--boy, that sounds dumb. Who wrote that line? And newcomer Steven Brand is apparently a graduate of the "Branagh School of British Acting" so as a bully and brute of a king, he is disturbingly refined, with a Brit accent clashing with brutal swordplay, greasy archeo-punk haircut and nasty tricks with cobras, scorpions and the like. In fact, the mix of accents (from homie Michael Clarke Duncan's Nubian king, Brand's prissy British and The Rock's clear and unaccented American diction) is a bit jarring, but...never mind. The special effects are good and not overdone, the scenery is exciting. Even the women get fun stuff to do, not only the toothsome Kelly Hu as the Sorcerer/Sorceress (hey guys, I can definitely tell you, it's SorcerESS) and the Nubian lasses are very athletic. The one kid thrown in for cuteness doesn't get obnoxiously cute, amazingly enough.
Aside from having to accept that a lumpy camel can outrun an Arabian steed, this was quite entertaining and I look forward to seeing The Rock again, in anything. Heck, he could read a telephone book to me and I would be enthralled.