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 March 6, 2004
Here's a real brain teaser for you: The Scorpion King is the prequel to the sequel to the remake of The Mummy. Confused yet? Let's hope not but if so then let's break it down for you. The Scorpion King is the new star vehicle for former WWE star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The Rock played a small role in The Mummy Returns, which was a sequel to The Mummy. The Mummy was a remake of the original mummy movie series from the 1950's. Got it? With that cleared up, a new question of why they would make a spin-off to The Rock's character emerges. The Rock has become a very popular "actor" in recent years, coming a far way from his early years in the wrestling ring, and Universal Pictures believe a good mint could be made off that popularity. If Dwayne Johnson plays his cards correctly, he could be the next Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone, or even Arnold Schwarzenegger of action films.
The story centers on a leader of a band of assassins, who is hired to kill an important royal figure but gets more in this job then anybody bargained for. Mathayus, the last of a fleeting group of assassins, is hired by the leaders of rebel tribes to kill a sorcerer they believe their enemy is using to help him conquer the lands of Egypt. He accepts the job and arrives in the city of Gomorrah but when he realizes that the sorcerer is a beautiful woman, plans change quickly. He chooses to kidnap her instead of an assassination thus forcing the evil tyrant to bring everything he's got into a final confrontation between the remaining rebel tribes and ruling forces. Stephen Sommer was the director of the previous Mummy films but choose not to direct this spin-off feature and the pacing of this film showcases that. Though critics hammered The Mummy films for being hookie and cheesy, they never said once that they were not consistent. This is a problem that The Scorpion King never seems to solve as moments of romance and hilarity seem forced compared to the non-stop action sequences that work so well.
The relatively small cast for The Scorpion King can only be described at meeting some expectations but not exceeding them if they some members even get to that level. This is the first major leading role for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and surely won't be his last, at least based on the action sequences. The role of Mathayus (aka The Scorpion King) seems specifically designed for the former wrestler as he fits extremely well into the character though there aren't many well designed sequences to showcase his true acting chops. But then again, do you really expect those kinds of sequences in action flicks? Kelly Hu, who plays Cassandra, seems, at times, too confined into the typical woman role in action films but does get involved in some of the fight sequences, which is a welcomed change in Hollywood today. The remainder of the cast worked well together but not great.
Overall, The Scorpion King, with its flashes of skin and heavy metal music, will no doubt satisfy the hardcore action freaks but will leave others starving. Unlike the previous Mummy films, The Scorpion King suffers in the story department as the story seems too caught up with the action sequences to makes the rest of the film as consistent. The film will no doubt bring out fans of action flicks as well as fans of The Rock and they will get everything they are looking for. But women and those who care more about the story then the action may find it on the bland side of things. If you are looking for a decent feature to start off your summer then hold your money for Spider-Man.
on October 15, 2003
One is often dubious when a star of some other profession leverages their popularity to enter the acting field. Legion are the failures, and few (though sometimes spectacular) the successes. I did not see this one in theaters, and indeed wouldn't have seen it at all if a friend of mine had not insisted.
I was wrong to avoid it. The Rock certainly demonstrates more range of acting ability than Schwarzenegger did in HIS early career, a comparison both apt and inevitable as there's more than coincidental similarity between the Scorpion King and Conan the Barbarian. The main villain is also interesting -- strongly, in fact, reminiscent of Russell Crowe's Maximus gone bad, a smart and resourceful warrior who may not have the sheer physical strength of someone like the Rock but whose speed and skill far outmatch virtually any opponent.
I don't know how much influence the Rock had over the production, but they avoided one of the major pitfalls of movies of this sort: making the star-vehicle hero TOO good. The "Scorpion King" is tough, yes, good at what he does, yes, but his victories are often hard-fought. They also avoid too much humor without becoming grim. All in all, a well-balanced, fun action movie. Not great cinema, but a lot better than I would have thought.
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 June 17, 2003
Here is a movie that I have actually been looking forward to. I guess this is another example of what will make you laugh will make you cry.
From the movie trailer and the godsmack theme song " I stand alone" I was sold on this movie which after seeing proved to be a big disappointment.
To begin with the story is very weak and throughout the movie it remains very shallow. The scenes are choppy and bounce from one action scene to the next action scene with fluff filler scenes and poor comic relief thrown in.
The original storyline had a prophecy in place explaining how the rock becomes the scorpion king, but for some stupid reason all the scenes were removed from the final version of the movie and placed in the deleted scenes on the dvd.
The action scenes are OK (not great), but in the background guitar music is being played which comes off as very cheesy. All the one liners are basically boilerplate and have been said in a million other movies.
The bad guy, Memnon, is like 140 pounds and doesn't come off very threatening.
Ariad, the comic relief, isn't very funny and once again is very generic.
I do support The Rocks acting career and think he would do better in a bigger budget movie and in some sort of crime drama action role.
on April 29, 2003
After a very, VERY brief appearance in THE MUMMY RETURNS, wwf champ Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson makes his first bid in a starring role, switching from villain to hero. Here, he's Mathayus, an acient Akkadian warrior. An evil warlord, Memnon (Steven Brand) has spearheaded a campign to rule the world, and has had ceaseless success because of the predictions of Cassandra (Mega-babe Kelly Hu), a beautiful sorceress who is able to sse into the future. She's not really on Memnon's side ("Rivers of blood can never bring peace"), but Mathayus is hired to kill her so Memnon will no longer have his unfair advantage. Instead, Mathayus falls in love with Cassandra (God knows I did) and instead chooses to defeat Memnon and avenge his brother's death. Flat out better than BOTH of the MUMMY movies put together, THE SCORPION KING is simply fantastic. The Rock is cool in the lead and Brand is a fearsome bad guy. And Kelly Hu....let's just say she's extremely ....cute. Also, the heavymetal music seems to be a trend now for action films, and this one has godsmack, drowning pool, rob zombie, and others all over the soundtrack. THE SCORPION KING absolutely is the movie CONAN THE BARBARIAN was meant to be.
I am so confused. I know the Rock played a character called the Scorpion King in "The Mummy Returns," which was supposed to set up this film. But the character has gone from a silent, brooding warrior of great strength and skill to a wisecracking, snarling warrior of great strength and skill. Did I miss something? At least in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" they explained how the character went from being the villain to the hero. No such explanation is offered here for what I thought was a similar transition. Then again, maybe I am guilty of thinking, which is not a prerequisite skill for watching this film.
Ironically, you might enjoy this film more if you have not seen "The Mummy Returns," especially if you are a devotee of WWF wrestling, the arena in which the Rock originally perfected his eyebrow arching technique. The story is set way before the pyramids were build, when the original Scorpion King, Memnon (Steven Brand) was the best swordsman on the planet and used the prophetic talents of a sorceress (Kelly Hu) to rule the known desert. Going up against him are the Arkadians, a group of professional assassins, of which Mathayus (the Rock) is the best and the brightest. He is aided by a giant Nubian (Michael Clarke Duncan) is what is certainly an homage to the legendary friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu (sorry, I was thinking again). Anyhow, "The Scorpion King" is clearly a standard action adventure in which the hero has to kill the bad guy, win the woman, and rule happily ever after.
It dawns on me that this film is similar to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." That film made Hong Kong wire work a part of the Hollywood cinematic repertoire, where as this film does the same for WWF Wrestling techniques. This film is not happy unless it is going over the top. When our hero shoots somebody with an arrow in this film the result is comparable to having used a small tactical missile: they are sent flying through the wall. The film certainly delivers exactly what you would expect, high energy heroics at breakneck speed, but a bit more creativity would have been nice. At least the dialogue knows it is supposed to be either tongue in cheek or painfully bad, so you cannot hold that against the film. The Rock delivers the performance demanded by his fans, so that is not going to be grounds for big complaints either. I did enjoy the film, more than I thought I would, but the ultimate standard for an action film is your desire to watch it again and again, and on that critical score "The Scorpion King" falls short
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 January 16, 2003
I was back in my hometown visiting for the holidays when some friends of mine rented this DVD. Against my better judgment, I decided to watch this atrocity with them. To be blunt, the creators of this film did just about everything wrong, from horrendous acting, to an inconsistent musical score, to outright ripping off scenes from Indiana Jones and Conan the Barbarian. The films also lacks any form of uniqueness and originality, and suspension of disbelief is non-existent. Not that I expected much from this film, I figured it would be one of those types of entertaining films that are watched just for fun and don't require any intellectual investment on the part of the viewer, the kind you'd watch after coming home from a long, hard day at work. Unfortunately, this film fails even in this category. It falls into the "Is this ever going to end?" category. The only reason I watched the whole thing was to not be rude to the people I was watching it with. I feel like I should be solving physics problems now to make up the IQ points that this film robbed from me. If you haven't seen The Scorpion King yet, save yourself the agony and skip it.